Life in progress


Quick update on the Pingback issue

I just talked to someone at WordPress support, and they said the problem only seems to be affecting custom sites. That means, if you have .wordpress in your site’s address, you shouldn’t be affected. If you pay for your site and you don’t have a site, and your pingbacks don’t work, please let support know.

Proof that they’re doing something: I got a pingback tonight. Problem was, it was from Margret’s post here:

but the link pinged back to here: – a post of mine from three years ago.

Weird. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

Have a good night all!


NanoPoblano Day 4 – Day of Failure

Blogger’s guilt. This should be a thing. A recognized condition to describe how we writers in blogland feel when we want to write something but we just can’t.

Take, for instance, the matter of theme. This can range from the entire basis for which our sites exist, or it can be as small as something we decided in a fit of inspiration that our Nano Poblano challenge would revolve around. Yes, you guessed it. Today I fail. There will be no Japanese lesson today. I simply haven’t the heart, the brain, nor various other body parts for it. It’s been a rough day, full of doctor’s appointments at which I folded in the face of a red-eyed frightened child who didn’t want to get his flu shot, and a car parked in a parking lot miles from home, causing me to have to walk with the aforementioned child.

But tomorrow will be better! Perhaps we’ll talk about the joys of ordering coffee, not only in Japan but worldwide! Or maybe I’ll expound on the treat that is saying “I’m sorry.” Stay tuned! It’ll be fun! As everything should be when your life is in progress. Right?




This strange confession/cheerleading session is brought to you by NanoPoblano. Find all the links here!


9 Things I Learned From Not Blogging Every Day

As a blogger who has gone from posting occasionally, to every day and then back to once in a while, I’ve found there are both advantages and disadvantages to both methods. Some of the good points only apply to the blog itself, but some are important factors for general well-being. Here is my list:

For the Blog

  1. Posting every day creates a momentum. I often got almost as many views from the post of the day before as I did the current one, thus doubling the number of views. When posting only occasionally, views plummet on days I don’t post.
  2. Time of day is important! Even though I posted every day for a year on my fiction blog, the number of views went down if I published after eight at night. It was the same deal if I posted too early. Followers get used to seeing you at the same time every day.
  3. It doesn’t matter how frequent posts are on a fiction blog – fiction gets fewer views. Period. My theory is that if people want to read fiction, they’ll usually pick up a book.
  4. Even if you take a break, people will come back. Especially people who really like what you write.


For Life in General

  1. Not posting every day means more exercise – just as well, my butt was getting square.
  2. Not blogging means more time for other projects, including ones that come with getting a square butt. Still a plus.
  3. Posting every day provides a constant means of interaction with other humans. I have to say, I don’t laugh nearly as much when I’m away from WordPress.
  4. Going back and forth from daily blogging to not gives a perspective of what’s important in life. Yes, obviously family is the most important thing, but for me as a writer, so is being able to write. Without a steady outlet of my thoughts onto the screen, I become more irritable – which is not necessarily a good thing for my family either. Therefore, my final point is,
  5. Balance is essential! I’m still working on finding mine.


My conclusion, as I’ve come to realize it, is that as much as I hear everyone say “real life” is more important than being online, it depends what I do with my online life, and equally what I do with my life offline. I think it’s okay to spend a healthy amount of time sitting at a keyboard if that time is productive and provides an outlet rather than an escape (though escape is important too). I’d like to start posting every day again: mostly what I’ve learned by not doing so, is that it’s okay to walk away. I guess that’s actually ten things, isn’t it. 😛

What do you think? Can you add to the list?



Have or Thinking About Getting Your Own WP Domain? A Little Advice.

For a long time I sat on the fence, wondering whether or not to switch my account from “” to a “.com” site. In fact, I paid for my own domain long before I actually switched over. I had a few concerns, but my main one was whether or not the links I already had out on the web would lead back to my site after I changed the address. As it turns out, they do. I can still ask people to drop by and they’ll show up here at Which is wonderful! But… (There had to be a “but” in there, right?)

When I was doing research for my article about dying before scheduled posts are published, entitled “Blogging from the Grave,” I asked in the forums whether my site would still exist if I failed to pay for it, i.e. if I die. The answer was yes. All of my content will just revert back to my old address and will be here forever as long as no one deletes my account. However, all the links I leave behind which lack the “” will either go nowhere or they will go to whomever buys the domain after I allow my payments to lapse.

My point is this: if you own your own WordPress domain and you want your links to last forever, don’t leave off the extra part of the address! Just a little thing you might have missed when you paid…

Edit: Now that’s interesting – I added the “” to my link for the “Blogging from the Grave” post and I didn’t get a pingback on it. Could that explain the mystery of why sometimes pingbacks don’t work? (This edit is also an experiment.)

Edit2: YES! The pingback worked that time. Double the advice in one post – pingbacks don’t work if the address isn’t precise!


E is for Easy

And… this is the hardest word I’ve had to deal with yet. How ironic.

Actually, you know what? If you’re EVER looking for inspiration for something to write on your blog and you have an actual, physical thesaurus (because it’s not going to work with an online one), challenge yourself to write whatever you turn to. Even if you have to close your eyes, open the book and point. Whichever root word your finger lands on, write the first thing that comes into your head. Not good enough? Look at the synonyms! Everything you need to write a post is there.

Like this one – “easy.” The entry for this is full of not only words that mean the same thing, but there are phrases as well. For example: “easy as pie.” How easy is a pie? Have you ever made a pie from scratch? I haven’t. Why? It’s too damned hard! The phrase makes absolutely no sense to me. Or how about “like taking candy from a baby”? That’s not friggin’ easy! It’s cruel! Who the hell wants to take candy from a baby? If nothing else it disturbs the peace!

So what have I learned from this post? From this little exercise? That apparently the easiest thing of all to do today is get me into rant mode. Odd that some of the synonyms further down on the list are serene, tranquil, and untroubled. That’ll teach me to read the whole entry before I start typing next time, won’t it?

BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions



The Harsh Reality

So I read WordPress’s Terms of Service. Fun times. Basically they cover their “assets” by saying they can do whatever they want – we agree to this when we sign up. Feel safe? Check section 16.

  • Termination. Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. If you wish to terminate this Agreement or your account (if you have one), you may simply discontinue using the Website. All provisions of this Agreement which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading the rest:

HarsH ReaLiTy’s access to “follow” and “like” blogs was suspended. This is why, and I quote from a letter made public in the forums:


We have noticed unusual behavior in your account, and have disabled several social features of, such as liking and/or following, as a result.

You have agreed to our Terms of Service which specifically says your “blog is not getting advertised via unwanted electronic messages such as spam links on newsgroups, email lists, other blogs and web sites, and similar unsolicited promotional methods”.

Your rapid pattern of liking or following has exceeded our hourly limits many times, which caused your account to be flagged.

Your ability to follow other blogs will not be restored. If you genuinely need to follow so many blogs, we would encourage you to use an external RSS feed reader (eg.

Lisa | Community Guardian |

As a result of this, Jason Cushman, aka Opinionated Man, owner of HarsH ReaLiTy, has said he will close down his site – and I can’t blame him. He has done more for bloggers on WordPress than anyone I know: what enabled him to do so is the very thing they are accusing him of doing wrong.

One would hope that the above is at least in part a form letter, sent to those whose blogs are flagged. One would also hope that there is a real human being investigating these automatic flags – a human being with compassion, common sense, and an eye for discerning what is truly malicious and self-serving and what is genuine human interaction, as evidenced by the comments here: Save HarsH ReaLiTy!!.

It is with this hope that I will send the above link to the Terms of Service people. I can’t help but believe that they will see that their automated systems have picked up on a unique situation and that the matter needs to be dismissed as a non-issue.

Please – I ask you one more time, if you haven’t commented on Save HarsH ReaLiTy!! do so now. The more support this gets, the more chance there will be to get Opinionated Man back.

Don’t let this be a Harsh Reality!!!

Other posts on HarsH ReaLiTy:

and of course:


I Don’t Want to Intimidate You, but…

Do you remember how you felt when you started on WordPress? If you’re fairly new here, I would imagine it’s pretty fresh in your mind. Even I consider myself a bit of a newb, but after just a little more than a year I’ve come to feel comfortable here; I’ve found a great community, some wonderful friends, and plenty of people who I can joke around with.

What stands out most in my mind from when I started, however, is how intimidated I felt when I stumbled across a popular blog and I wanted to comment. Should I? They seem like such a tight bunch of people, bantering about things they’ve learned about one another…

So I was considering this, and I wondered if people who are just starting out feel that way when they stop by to read my blog.

In light of my pondering, I decided to change my comment box prompt from “Leave a comment” to what it is now.

How do you make newcomers feel welcome? How do you encourage them to join in the discussion?


Listen Up, WordPress! How to Get and Keep Followers

Originally posted at A Good Blog Is Hard To Find Apologies if this is a repeat post.

I consider myself a fairly observant person. I’m certainly aware of what works and what doesn’t, most of the time. It’s taken me a year on WordPress however, to figure out a few things concerning how to go about getting followers, and how to keep them engaged.

Some of my recent realisations came about as a result of Opinionated Man’s posts and the comments we’ve shared between us, and also because of my struggle to get people to read and follow my fiction blog. It’s here: by the way, in case you’re interested.

I think half the key to building a following on WordPress is in the comments themselves. Commenting will let people know you’re invested in what you write, and that you care what people think about what you write. It’s what separates your blog from other media – newspapers and the like – which give little chance to allow the reader to express his or her thoughts on the topic. So what is the other half?

This is where I’ve picked up what I think is the problem I’m having with my fiction blog. It’s the content. Not that my fiction is necessarily bad, mind you, (go to to decide for yourself) but unless you’re looking to read fiction, you’re not going to look up that particular blog.

I was advised when I first began at WordPress to decide on a theme for my blog. I started out, nevertheless, with a mish-mash of parenting, articles about life in general, as well as fiction and poetry. I didn’t notice much of a difference in who followed my blog after I started my fiction blog (at ), but even though I let people know it existed, people rarely visited it. The realisation I’ve come to is that my fiction is probably not going to change anyone’s life.

When I write about the trials and tribulations of parenting, particularly two special needs children, people want to know what I’ve learned. When I talk about being part of the sandwich generation, people out there can relate. My readers come to me because they’re hoping to share something. They’re hoping they may be able to offer suggestions (the comments again) or they’re looking to find a fellow sufferer in me, to possibly allow themselves to feel less alone.

My point in all this is, when I blog, I have an audience. Who my audience is will depend on what I write. If I blog about something no one can relate to, I can’t expect to have anyone follow me; I can’t expect comments, and comments are what keep people engaged.

My fiction blog? It’s another kettle of fish altogether. Fiction, without a cover blurb, is an unknown entity until people begin to read it. On top of that, I probably could have chosen a better title. I’ve learned that a blog’s moniker can seriously narrow an audience. A title like “Dark Fiction of the Occult” (not mine) isn’t going to catch the attention of people looking for chicklit. The title on my blog doesn’t say anything about fiction whatsoever. I’m currently in the middle of posting a series (which is really great – you should go read it at ) but as soon as it’s finished I will perform a complete revamp. As it is, it could easily be mistaken as a foodie site.

Go ahead and learn from my mistake. I’m humble enough. But most of all encourage comments and write in a way that relates to your audience. If you want followers, don’t talk about yourself in a way that narrows your post so much that it can only possibly relate to you.

WordPress is a wonderful, interactive site if you want it to be. If you want followers, give them something they want to follow – and for goodness sakes, follow them back and comment on their sites too!

(Note: All mentions of my fiction blog in this post are strictly in the interest of humour. In no way was this post written in order to promote . Thank you for reading.)