If I’m to believe the message you posted on my site to replace my regular content, you felt compelled to hack my site and many others in order to get the truth out about what’s going in Syria.
You say the news coming out of Syria is inaccurate.
You say the government is not attacking its people, but instead extremists are killing innocent civilians and using the media to create a false narrative.
You say a lot of things which may or may not be true.
But how does hacking some silly little blog in Texas help your cause? (If, in fact, you are who you say you are?)
I’ll tell you how.
If anything, it’s hurt your cause.
Had you simply left a comment explaining your predicament, I may have actually believed you; may have felt compelled to help you.
Instead, you randomly attack sites in attempt to cause as much disruption and anarchy as possible.
So basically, you’re just a punk with a computer frustrating a whole lot of people who have done absolutely nothing to you because you lack the skills to hack those who you say are hurting your cause.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your 15 minutes of fame.
P. S. — I HUGE thank you to web host David Allen who has worked tirelessly to get MANY websites up and running again, and doing so with grace and humility even when dealing with some pretty grumpy people. (BTW, if you’re one of those grumpy people, shame on you. It’s not David’s fault this happened.) Anyway, thanks so much David. You’re a class act.
When I first started blogging, I wasn’t much of a writer. Many would argue that I’m still not much of a writer and on some days I would tend to agree with them. But more and more, I’m seeing a trend away from a community of equals sharing the journey. Admittedly, I don’t get around to as many blogs as I used to, I simply don’t have as much time anymore. I hope folks who visit here click on my blog roll page and check out some of the people on there, but in all honestly that’s more for my benefit than anything, because it’s a way for me to keep up with my friends in the blogosphere.
Everyone has different objectives and reasons for blogging. I’m not as driven as others are to build a platform because I’m not trying to sell anything or get anything published. If I had to characterize what I think my role is in blogging and other forms of social media, I would have to say more than anything that I try to be an effective promoter–of good ideas and good people. Lately that’s become more difficult for me because it seems people care less about being authentic and more about being popular. Many writers of high traffic blogs seem to have achieved rock star status. The comments section often reflect a sense of hero worship. But it doesn’t end there. Many bloggers try and emulate what popular blogs are doing, and in doing so lose their own unique voice. When this happens, you’ve lost me because I don’t need another version of someone else. None of us do, really.
The following is an excerpt from a post I wrote in May 2009, but I think it still applies:
Why I’m okay with being Obnoxious:
I figured out a long time ago that I am a very square peg surrounded by round holes. Trying to fit into those holes simply wore me down and slowly chipped away at the person I was meant to be.
That is not to say that I am completely satisfied with every aspect of me. I am always striving to become the person God wants me to be. But God, not someone else’s ideal picture of what a 43 year old wife and mother of two is supposed to be.
That’s why I’m okay with being obnoxious. Some of you might be wondering if “katdish” is some sort of persona that has been created that allows me to say things that I might not otherwise have the guts to say as myself. Let me clear that up for you. This is me: warts and all. Those of you who know me in real life can attest to this.
I’m not smart enough to keep up with more than one personality. Besides, I think doing that drains your soul and robs you of a valuable witness to the power of God’s grace – for the sinner and the saint. And for the record, you ain’t no saint! (Please, no theological arguments here, you know what I mean.)
Sometimes I say things that should probably have been left unsaid. But in the non-cyber world, I have my husband and friends who love me enough to tell me to shut up. In the blogosphere, I have a handful of good friends that will do the same. (You know who you are.)
I’m totally okay with someone not liking me. I think caring more about what people think and less about what God thinks is a horrible, wretched way to live. Now here’s a newsflash, if you don’t like me, there’s a pretty good chance I don’t like you either. But that’s okay. God calls us to love one another. He never said anything about like. Just as long as we’re not walking around with giant planks in our eyes, I’m cool with that.
The following statement is intended for those who need to hear it. Clearly, some of you grasped this concept a long time ago. But I offer it anyway:
May I be so bold as to offer some advice? Stop trying so hard to keep up appearances. Accept that you are broken. Even if, like me, you have been smashed with a hammer. God’s light often shines brightest through the broken vessel. I for one, will love you for it.
God? He loves you, regardless. His love was poured out for you at Calvary. He doesn’t need you. But He desires your abiding love with all of His heart.
How cool is that?
Note: One of the main criteria for being on my blog roll is my belief that the writer presents things in a unique way. So if you’re on there, chances are good I’m not talking to you.
I was going to begin this post by saying something like “I’m certainly no expert”, or “I’m not an authority on what constitutes a great blog”, but let’s just put all that nauseating false modesty aside, shall we?
I am an Internet tornado.
Don’t believe me? Google “katdish”. You will find multiple pages of links to this blog and others. Compare that to just three short years ago when googling “katdish” would prompt Google to ask, “Did you mean kaddish?”
With this in mind, I provide the following hard and fast rules of successful blogging with all the confidence and authority my status of Internet tornado affords me. You’re welcome:
Decide on a posting schedule and stick to it. Whether that means daily, weekly or somewhere in between. Consistent posting retains your audience because they know when and how often to expect a new post from you.
Only post when you have something to say. Forcing yourself to write a post just for the sake of posting something–anything–is a waste of your time and energy. You also run the risk of wasting your reader’s time with a substandard post.
Reply to every comment on your blog. If someone takes the time to read and comment on your site, it’s common courtesy to acknowledge them and thank them for visiting.
Don’t reply to every comment. You started the conversation, allow your readers to input their thoughts without you jumping in and interrupting the flow of conversation.
Write about current events and hot topics on the interwebs. Inject your unique perspective and opinions about controversial subjects. Be sure to use tags and categories on your post so people can find your blog post via search engines. Controversy = more hits to your site.
Write what’s on your heart and/or mind. Writing a post about a current event just because everyone else is writing about it may come off looking like a desperate attempt to attract a bigger audience to your blog. Especially if you don’t have anything significant or valuable to add to the conversation.
If you’re a writer seeking to expand your platform, write helpful posts about your journey into publishing. Share helpful tips and strategies you’ve learned along the way with fellow writers. The mere fact that you’ve landed an agent and secured a contract for your upcoming book is proof enough that you have valuable insights to share. Other writers will flock to your blog and will appreciate you generously sharing all that you have learned.
If you’re a writer seeking to expand your platform, write helpful posts about your journey into publishing occasionally, but not all the time. All writers are readers, but not all readers are writers. By only writing about writing, you greatly limit your audience. Give your audience a sample of the type of writing they can expect to see in your upcoming books. You’ll build brand loyalty that way–from both writers and readers.
Determine who your audience is and write for that particular niche. If you’re a mommy blogger, write for other mommy bloggers. If you’re a big fan of LOL Cats, write for other LOL Cat enthusiasts, and so on.
Write about an array of topics. Some posts may get more traffic than others, but good, consistent writing will bring people back to your site.
Follow these rules and rest assured, your blog will attract a vast audience and you will become a rock star of the interwebs.
“But katdish, that’s ridiculous! These rules contradict themselves. You can’t follow all of them!”
Well, of course not, Silly. That’s because I have no idea what the hard and fast rules of successful blogging are, and neither does anyone else. I can only tell you why I read certain blogs on a regular basis.
Some inform, some challenge, some make me laugh and/or cry.
Some do all of the above.
But the one trait they all share is this:
A unique, honest voice all their own.
So, how do you write the best possible blog you can write?
Do you remember that scene from the movie “The Breakfast Club” where Anthony Michael Hall’s character writes a collective essay for the members of The Breakfast Club? The detention teacher, Mr. Vernon instructed each of them to write about who they thought they were. After he’s finished writing, he smiles, sets down his pen and gives himself a “Way to go” slug in the arm. He didn’t seem to care if Mr. Vernon (or anyone else, for that matter) thought it would be a great essay. He knew that it expressed concisely and exactly what he wanted to say.
image courtesy of photobucket.com
Write more posts like that.
(Oh, grumble…”embedding disabled”. Oh, well, you can watch it on Youtube.)
Last night millions tuned in to watch the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, where many well deserving people received awards for a bunch of movies I haven’t seen. Okay, that’s not entirely true–I’ve seen Inception, Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. And while I haven’t seen The King’s Speech, I loved Colin Firth in Nanny McPhee and Love Actually.
I must confess I didn’t watch the awards.
I figure if I want to see a bunch of overdressed people with copious amounts of plastic surgery and eating disorders, all I have to do in drive into Houston and go to the Galleria.
But that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about winning some REALLY valuable stuff, not just some gold, naked bald guy. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
I wonder how many of you actually read any of that stuff and how many just scrolled down to see who the winners are? I see how you are…
Okay, enough already!
The following winners were chosen by random.org. Each comment, tweet, and Facebook status update associated with this contest was assigned a number. These numbers were selected in descending order based on the time and date of the entry. Make sense? Alrighty then.
The 3rd prize of One year of free blog hosting + a standard license for Standard Theme goes to:
The 2nd place prize of One year of free blog hosting, a domain name (.com or .net) and a standard licence for Standard Theme goes to:
Ryan Tate (They call him Tater Salad–okay, not really. I stole that line from Ron White), writer of Doorframes of Taterhouse.
And the Grand Prize winner of One year of free blog hosting, a domain name (.com or .net), a standard licence for Standard Theme plus site design by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock of New Blog Hosting and yours truly is….
The writer of the plainest little ol’ blog you ever did see, but one of my favorite writers in the blogosphere…
Congratulations to Karin, Ryan and Kirsten and many thanks for the overwhelming response to this giveaway. A very special thanks to John Saddington for his generous contribution of three of his amazing Standard Theme themes and to New Blog Hosting for everything else.
Those of you who have been following along with me in my blogging journey for awhile may remember that once upon a time, the name of my blog was “Hey look a Chicken”. Remember?:
Ah, good times, right? As much as I enjoyed that silly little blog, after helping Billy Coffey and Peter Pollock design this blog:
I was having a serious case of website envy. I still think BillyCoffey.com is one of the best looking writer’s websites around, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. It’s been used as an example of a model platform for aspiring authors by at least one publishing PR firm. What I love about Billy’s site is that the reader can get a sense of who he is as a writer and as a person. I’ve tried to do that here as well.
It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of Blogger, even though it served me well, I think I just outgrew it when blogging became more than just a hobby for me. Part of what I do (besides being ridiculous and snarky) is to help promote and encourage other writers and bloggers, which means the image I reflect here is important. I think the cleaner, more professional look of Standard Theme by mastermind John Saddington has helped me accomplish this while still allowing me to maintain my personality. And lest you think all WordPress themes have to look alike, check out the variety of templates Peter Pollock has helped create and maintain for his clients:
Why should you care about any of this? Because if you’re ready to makeover your blog, Peter Pollock and I would love to help you do that. So much so that we’re giving away a year of free self-hosted wordpress blogging! Including site design by Peter and me for one lucky winner.
We have three prizes to give away:
3rd prize: One year of free blog hosting + a standard license for Standard Theme
2nd place prize: One year of free blog hosting, a domain name (.com or .net) and a standard licence for Standard Theme
1st place prize: One year of free blog hosting, a domain name (.com or .net), a standard licence for Standard Theme plus site design by @Katdish and Peter Pollock
Total value of all prizes: $775
Entry is easy. Simply leave a comment on this blog post and/or on the one at Peter’s site and you get one entry into the prize draw.
Get an extra entry every day by tweeting about this giveaway and adding the hashtag #nomoreblogger
You can also gain additional entries for the next ten days by visiting our sites and checking for our daily entry opportunities.
All entries will be numbered. At 12:01 CST on February 28, 2011, we will close entries and use the random.org random number generator to pick our three winners.
If you don’t need blog hosting, you can still enter and then give the hosting to a friend, if you win.
If you’re already a customer of New Blog Hosting and you win, we’ll add a year to your renewal date!
So, what do you say? Are you ready to be fabulous?
Many thanks to John Saddington of Tent Blogger and designer of the incredibly fabulous Standard Theme: The De Facto Professional Blogger’s Theme, for donating THREE Standard Theme templates for this contest. Even if you don’t enter the contest, I would highly recommend checking out his blog. It’s literally a treasure trove of useful and practical advice for bloggers.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to put last year behind me. It’s not that it was a bad year so much, just a very long one. But sometimes in order to look forward, we must look backwards. This seems to be a theme for me this week. Disasters were big news in 2010–both natural and man-made. Political and economic news continued to be depressing and challenging, but there was also hope and happy endings. The Chilean miners endured and survived and reminded us that if we keep our faith and hope alive there’s light at the end of the tunnel. (Ouch. That was an excruciatingly obvious metaphor.)
image courtesy of photobucket.com
For this reason, the Chilean miners rescue gets my vote for Story Most Likely to be turned into a sermon illustration and/or Life Analogy Blog Post. If you happened to be on the twitter at any time during this crisis, you no doubt read hundreds of tweets about their progress. But for me, the most memorable tweet from this time came from Conan O’Brien:
RT @ConanOBrien: The Chilean Miners could B released this weekend just in time 2 see Michael Bolton sing on DWTS (Dancing with the Stars). Guys, what’s an extra day?
To be certain, two of the biggest news stories of 2010 were the natural disaster in Haiti and the man-made disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But there were others as well. Who could forget…
The Most Annoying Sound of 2010: The Vuvuzela Horn of World Cup Soccer fame. Just when I thought watching televised soccer couldn’t possibly be more annoying. But even with the sound turned off, all one needed to do was follow @thevuvuzelahorn on twitter (brainchild of @tremendousnews) for a constant barrage of the following tweet:
2010 was such an eventful and news filled year, I found it all just a bit overwhelming. Sometimes I find it easier to stay in my own little world and write about what I happen to be focused on. Last year (and most likely this year), my focus was on all aspects of writing and the business of writing.
From the publication of Billy’s Coffey’s debut novel Snow Day to my observations about all things writerly. If you were to ask me what my most read post was from 2010, I would have to tell you in all honesty I have no idea. I quit checking my analytics months ago. But if I had to guess based on the number of comments received, my guess for the most read post of 2010 would be Why I Hate Writing (first in a series!), where I confessed that the original title of the post was going to be Why I hate writers.
I went on to explain why I hate writers. This post received 50 retweets on twitter and 62 comments from–you guessed it–writers. Which only proves my theory that writers are gluttons for punishment.
And because I hate writers so very much, I plan to write more about writing and writers this year and all the many ways your work continues to disappoint me. This should be a banner year for this blog!
Snort! I do NOT hate writers! I love writers! But how many of you writerly types got a little indignant and teary eyed while reading the last part of that paragraph?
2010 was an eventful year. It was also, in some ways, very overwhelming for me personally. You may have noticed that the last week of 2010 I reposted rather than posted new stuff. This was mostly due to family time and traveling, but I’ve also been evaluating my blog and the frequency in which I post new material. For most of 2010, I posted seven days a week. Granted, I didn’t write 7 posts a week–Monday is reserved for Billy Coffey and for most of the year Wednesdays were reserved for a guest blogger. But still–that’s a fairly ambitious schedule. For me, anyway.
I’m sorting through and reassessing how to make the best use of my time for 2011. I have enjoyed and appreciated all of the wonderful guest posts I have posted, and I plan to continue this practice. But the frequency of these Wednesday guest posts will most likely go from weekly to monthly. (Billy Coffey’s post will continue to appear here on Mondays, however.) One of the goals of this blog will still be to spotlight other writers, but I also want to write more–both on and off the published page.
As for posting frequency, I’m still debating about that. I would like to allow myself more time to write, to read and to study the craft of writing. Don’t worry–I’m not planning to get all serious and writerly. I’m still the random and ridiculous blogger that I’ve always been. It’s just that I believe anything worth doing is worth doing well, and I want this blog to be a reflection of that attitude. As a good friend recently reminded me, quantity does not equate to quality, and I never, ever want to post anything here just for the sake of posting something. Having said that, I do want to decide on a schedule and stick to it. I’ll let you know what I come up with.
In the meantime, I would appreciate any and all feedback, positive and negative. Would you let me know what kind of posts you most like reading here? Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the interwebs. I know “community” has become an overused buzzword of late, but at the risk of sounding cliche’ I want you to know how much I value each of you who I’ve been so fortunate to encounter in the online blogging community.
And since everyone seems to be making or not making New Year’s resolutions, here’s my contribution. It’s a quote I found a few years ago and I liked it so much I painted it on the mudroom wall–the one facing the door I enter my house from:
“Fear less, hope more,
eat less, chew more,
whine less, breathe more,
talk less, say more,
hate less, love more…
And all good things will be yours!”
Back when I was painting on a regular basis, my muse and I were in the zone. She’d have me up a few late nights, but we were working together. She guided my mind and my brush and we made some pretty creative stuff, her and I. Some days I wonder if I should give up my pen and pick up my brush again. Because while my artist muse is quirky, artsy, fun and funky, my writing muse?
She’s kind of a bitch.
Take my visit to the beach for example. Had my artist muse come along on that vacation, we would have collected shells along the beach…
and perhaps brainstormed about different ways one might re-purpose all the planks lying around that used to be the pier.
We would have been amused at the clever way old floats were used to decorate the trees,
admired the oil paintings that lined the walls, and delighted in the fact that another artist once called the cottage their home away from home.
We might have even done some imaginary redecorating: “I bet painting the backs of the bookcases a bright coral would really make them pop. Or maybe a soft Caribbean blue would work, too.”
But alas, artist muse stayed at home with the cat. The other muse came along on this trip. She’s pretty much always around lately, whether she’s welcome or not. She even butts in on the rare occasion I’m painting or designing something. Rude, huh?
It wasn’t enough for her that almost every possible inch on the wall or space on a shelf was occupied by some token from another time. My other muse simply would have appreciated the time and care that went into arranging all these memories. Writing muse? No way.
“What’s the rest of their story?” she asks me.
“How is it that a college professor meets and marries an artist?”
“Seems she was a teacher, but not on a college level. Looks more like elementary school.”
“He appeared to be a deep thinker.”
“She was a bit of a romantic dreamer.”
“How did they make that work? Or did they make that work?”
“Clearly, many vacations were spent here — kids and grandkids both”
“The owner said her stepdad built this place in the 1950’s. Did he have kids from another marriage as well?”
“Did all the kids and grandkids from their blended family get along, or was there tension?”
And on and on…
It’s been a week since my vacation, and yet the questions and demands continue…
“What are their stories, Kathy?”
In my defense I reply, “But I can’t possibly contain those stories to a series of blog posts. There are too many words!”
“Who said anything about a blog post? You write until you’re finished. Worry about what you have when you’re done. Now, put some coffee on. You’re going to be up for awhile.”
October 11, 2010 was the official release of Snow Day by Billy Coffey. (Available at a bookstore near you. Buy early, buy often.)
This is Billy’s time in the spotlight, so I won’t take up too much of your time. But I wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to some people.
First, to my family—who have graciously allowed me to spend countless hours on the computer that could have been spent with them. For understanding that sometimes you give of your time and talents not for personal gain or recognition, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. You’ve been my own personal cheering section.
To my bloggy pals who have been with me from the early days of Hey Look a Chicken. You believed in and supported Billy’s work because I asked you to. And even though his work never needed my endorsement, just the fact that you believed in him because I did means a lot. Y’all are friggintastic.
To Billy’s readers/friends, and for those of you whose paths I’ve crossed somewhere along the way—thank you all for welcoming this brash, outspoken, sometimes snarky and often ridiculous blogger into your midst. It’s been wonderful getting to know you all.
To Peter Pollock—I could never say thank you enough for all that you’ve done. Billy’s website would never have happened without you. You took the vision in my mind and translated it flawlessly into reality and you continue to provide excellent technical and moral support to my very demanding self. You truly are a prince.
And finally to Billy—
It’s been quite an adventure, no? Thank you for putting your trust in a virtual stranger almost 2 years ago who had no idea what she was doing, but let me figure it out along the way. Thank you for allowing me to read your words before sharing them with the rest of the world, and most of all, thank you for not giving up on your dreams, even when they seemed so far out of reach. The world would be a darker, less hopeful place without your stories.
Of all the lessons you’ve learned during this roller coaster ride—about faith and trust, about honor and friendship, if you take nothing else away from this experience, I hope you’ve learned this one undeniable truth:
Last week I wrote a post entitled Words, where I suggested that what we write must serve a purpose. I received a comment that I didn’t really understand at first because I was reading it within the context of what I had written. The author was kind enough to explain where he was coming from in a later comment, and I couldn’t agree more with his point:
At the risk of being a hypocrite, because I’m usually guilty of anything that gives me pause…
It troubles me when I read something done in the name of “doubt,” questions about God, or the motives of the church or ministers, etc… And the overall feeling is that the person is actually just trying to fit into the trendy, cute genre of “being a questioner.”
It’s great form these days. People read it. People love it. And so it’s cute, and it’s fashionable…
And the writer doesn’t even have to ask intellectually honest questions of themselves anymore, such as, “Do I really have the doubt myself, or am I writing this to sell my blog more?” (and as a result, their novel, or their persona, or whatever it is they’re trying to drive traffic to.)
Or they don’t ask, “Does this question truly help someone work through their doubts and grow into a place of seeking God, or am I just tossing out controversy for my own benefit?”
Again, I’m honestly not trying to be a stick-in-the-mud. I just want us, myself included, to be honest. When we write our words in such a way that they CAUSE more doubt, rather than with the hope of probing doubt (with a growth of faith as the hopeful result)… Well, then I think we’ve missed it.
If our desire is just to rattle people’s cages so we’ll be more popular, then I’m asking myself, Am I being like Jesus?
He rattled cages, yes, but with a loving purpose in mind. Always. (I think.)
Being the sarcastic and sometimes snarky person that I am, I often find myself laughing at things that perhaps wouldn’t be so funny if I took the time to consider if doing so would be at the expense of others. Yes, I post some fairly outlandish things, but I make a serious effort not to be hurtful. To Kely’s point, I have found some blog posts published by Christians to be mean-spirited and sometimes downright cruel. And I have to ask myself the same question Kely posed: “Does this truly help someone work through their doubts and grow into a place of seeking God, or am I just tossing out controversy for my own benefit?”
A couple of months ago, I watched a video on a very popular Christian blog. There was no story to go along with the video, and as best I could tell, its sole purpose was to laugh at the woman on said video because she was praying and speaking in tongues (and causing those around her a considerable amount of discomfort). Based on the comments associated with the post, the blogger’s apparent intent hit its target. The comments were incredibly cruel and insensitive, and I couldn’t help but wonder how the subject of the video might react to reading that post. I’m not going to mention the name of this blogger, and if you mention it in the comments section, I will not approve your comment. That’s not my point. My point is, if you feel it’s necessary to make fun of an alternative viewpoint in order to bring weight to your own, might I suggest you spend your time making a better argument? As Christians, we can laugh at ourselves and we can laugh with (and sometimes at) each other. Jon Acuff and Matt Appling accomplish this consistently and effectively without being cruel or overly offensive.
Warning: Some may find the following video offensive, but if you’ll hang in there, I do have a point:
I am a Christian who writes a blog, but I don’t consider katdish.net to be a Christian blog. The words God, Jesus, Christ, church or Christian do not appear anywhere in the title or description of this site. Does this mean I think I have a lesser responsibility to represent Christ through what I write on this blog? Yes, actually. I do think that. Because I’ve never represented this blog to be anything more than my own ramblings. Yes, I write about my faith, but that’s not what this blog is primarily about. I don’t think I’m ever un-Christian, but that’s not my only focus here.
As Bob Kelso says, “There is a time and a place for the truth.” If you’re a Christian, you have the added responsibility of speaking the Truth in love. It may not always be sexy or hip, but consider Who you’re representing and to Whom you belong.