How to Avoid Major Failure

skating and falling gif

Have you ever engaged in a difficult activity and lost focus when distracted by someone much better, then failed in a major way? I have. Many times when attempting to fulfill a goal and while ice skating.

Failure happens when we attempt to reach a super tough goal but focus our attention on something else.

It can be as simple as an off-hand glance or a quick comparison. A distraction that causes doubt can result in SPLAT! We hit the frozen lake HARD.

After watching the movie Hans Brinker when I was a kid in Madison, Wisconsin, I wanted to skate just like him. Santa provided the ice skates and Dad drove our family to Lake Wingra.

I was sure I’d glide just like Hans. My mom laced the hooks on my skates in the warming house while some skaters chatted on benches and others clomped past on their sharp blades. Once on the ice, I lost my confidence. My parents pointed out the sharp teeth on the front of my skates. I tentatively pushed ahead.

After a few steps, I looked up as another skater swooshed by. Down I went. I quickly learned that concentrating on my feet was necessary to complete my goal of staying in the upright position. This spared my poor posterior.

Changing my gear

Years later, I tried hockey skates. Seduced by the dark sturdy leather, I asked a friend, Jim Mullen, if I could try them. He and my friends cracked up laughing as I stepped forward and faceplanted on the ice. The toothless blades made pushing off so awkward. After a few quick smackdowns, I switched back to my old skates.

How to avoid crashing and burning

The Winter Olympics

A year later, Jim tried out for the Olympics. He drove to the trials with other skaters like Eric Heiden.

When Jim started his speed skating trial, he flew ahead of the pack. How far ahead, he didn’t know. With the finish line right in front of him, he looked over his shoulder to check. He wiped out and finished last.

Distraction can upend us. It takes us away from what we are doing. We lose focus. Are we progressing toward our goal or are we more concerned with what our competitors are doing? It’s a good question.

Negative comparisons

When we compare our progress to others and fall short, it can send us into a self-destructive tailspin. The absolute worst outcome is the loss of hope. We may feel like quitting.

Unrealistic expectations

This can happen when we have unrealistic expectations. We want to be like Hans or The Bloggess or some other person with celebrity status. It’s important and healthy to have goals but comparing ourselves to those who have already made it to the top after tons of hard work is unfair. Lower your expectations.

How do we pick ourselves up again?

By remembering why we started. Reaching our goal might take longer than we expect. Our baby steps have to align with our goals. We might need the help of a mentor or a bullet point journal. But if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, and really concentrate, who knows what we’ll achieve?

Did you notice my skates?

Ice Skating on the Pond

I recorded that gif file a few years ago. Danny read the article and said I had to use it. What a good sport! BTW, I haven’t skated since my knee surgery, but now I have knee pads. Luckily, I didn’t have to use them. 

What do you find the most distracting? Do your goals align with your baby steps? When was the last time you ice skated?

Into the Wind

Pantsing While Plodding Toward Publication

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How to Be Discovered on WordPress!

Featured on Discover is the blog award given by the WordPress editors. I’ve been honored to win five of these awards. They have brought thousands of views and lots of new followers to the Wild Ride. Today, I’ll let you in a little secret how you can be Discovered on WordPress too!

Editor’s Picks, Freshly Pressed, and Discover

My first Editor’s Pick was out of 375,000 other posts blogged on a day in October of 2011. I stayed on the editors’ radar and received two more in 2012. Back then, the WordPress awards were called Freshly Pressed. Now they are called, Featured on Discover.

 

 

Cue the sound of crickets.

One year almost to the day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I won another Freshly Pressed for An Open Letter to My Boobs. That was in April of 2014.

grabbing my boobs

Since then, blogging has exploded.

Very few can hear our tiny voices when they are lost in a hurricane of people shouting to be noticed.

“Look at me! Look at me!” I screamed while drowned out by the roaring crowd. “Woohoo! Over here!” I jumped up and down and burned a few calories. Exhausted, I returned to my desk to write instead.

How to be Discovered

WordPress hosts one-third of the world’s websites.

Billions of people blog. In fact, according to WordPress Facts, 409 million people read 21 billion pages each month! 21 billion?

Assuming my voice would never be heard by the editors ever again, I focused on building my blog readership and community instead. Along with writing about my wild life in Colorado, I studied the craft of writing books. There’s a huge difference between writing essays and novels. I’m still learning!

For a couple of years, I read a lot about how to increase views. Most of the articles said the same thing:

“Write quality content. Your readers will come.”

“The more you blog, the higher your views.”

The beauty of Isolation

I have never been a prolific blogger and as far as quality content, I always think my readers will enjoy my posts. Ha! There is no way to predict the hits and the HUGE misses. I continue to write because it’s my passion and I love my blogging community.

I began to promote my blog more consistently through social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Stumbleupon funneled a lot more readers to my blog. I still wasn’t on the editors’ radar. “Over here!”

Here’s the thing. WordPress Editors want to find quality content too.

Enter The Daily Post.

If you aren’t following the Daily Post, you should. Editors like Ben Huberman do a lot of work to help bloggers build community. There are Daily Prompts, the once a week Photo Challenge, First Fridays, (exclusively for new bloggers) and Community Pool on Mondays. The WordPress Editors peruse the blog posts. Sometimes one is Discovered. Imagine!

Once in a while, I responded to a Daily Post. The linkup always brought a lot of new faces to my blog. I’m all about new faces!

In 2017, I reduced blogging from two to three posts a week to once a week to concentrate on book writing. The Daily Post slid to the wayside. It was a helluva year with the death of my brother and then a demon washing machine determined my fate. I traveled for a month while the house was repaired.

When life settled down in August, I wrote my six-year blogiversary post, 18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog and Increase Traffic. I had upgraded to a Business site in January and finally tried a plug-in after scheduling the post for the following week. What I didn’t know was that WordPress.com sites change in structure when Business plug-ins are added. As bad luck would have it, the post didn’t show up in the Reader and the views were a yawnfest. I’d spent a full week writing that article. I cried. Seriously.

Then I remembered Community Pool! I brightened a bit. Surely, I could find some new readers. I left the link to 18 Best Blog Tips in the comments explaining how I’d written the post for WordPress bloggers but very few had seen it. I made sure to comment on a few bloggers’ requests to check out their posts or blogs. That’s what puts the Community in the Pool!

I got a notification that Ben Huberman “Liked” my post. My heart skipped a beat. Maybe I had been noticed! How ironic would that be?

Yep. Two weeks later, my views rose. I checked out Discover and there it was. A Veteran Blogger’s Advice on Growing Traffic and Finding Community – 18 Best Blog Tips. I ran around my kitchen screaming. It became a Featured post at the top of the feed for a couple of weeks!

Then I noticed a bump in views at the end of December. First, I checked social media since I spend a lot of time marketing old and new posts. Then I clicked to Discover. Ben Huberman had written a post about the most popular Featured Blog Posts of 2017 – 365 Days of Inspiration: Our Readers’ Favorite Stories About Writing and Building Community.

18 Best Blog Tips was #3. I couldn’t believe it! It still hasn’t sunk in.

One of the most interesting takeaways from the ten posts is that writing, blogging, and inspiration are what resonates with readers.

Should you start responding to every Daily Post to get noticed?

I didn’t. Instead, participate in Photo Challenges and Daily Prompts when it excites you. It’s when we are the most passionate, that the words flow and we inspire others. Check out the Community Pool to see how others use it. Drop a link once in a while. These three avenues might help you get noticed by a WordPress editor!

Here’s the thing. Standing out also means, standing out from yourself. This totally runs counter to the prolific writer opinion.

What?

If you write seven days a week, your super stellar post may not stand out. In fact, your readers may have stopped by the day before and the day after, missing your amazing essay. That would suck. Keep in mind if you start posting constantly on the Daily Post with average work, you risk being passed over for the same reason.

That said, there’s a lot of luck involved in all of this. And there are some amazing bloggers out there who never suck no matter how prolific.

A more direct way to be Discovered.

The other way to be Discovered is to nominate your very best post or another blogger on Discover’s About Page. Scroll down to the bottom to fill out the form.

Use your indoor voice.

Following the crowd by writing about the most popular subjects can also place you in an arena filled with louder voices. I hesitated when titling my 18 Best Blog Tips post for that reason. Luckily, Ben read it. He found my perspective after six years of blogging and building community unique in some way. Thank you, Ben!

I hope this gives you some clarity and lots of hope. In the meantime, keep doing what you love: writing and blogging. You’ll attract more readers, which is the ultimate goal. Perhaps an editor will find you too!

Do you read Discovered posts? Have you participated in The Daily Post? Have you ever been Discovered?

How to be Discovered on WordPress

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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An Open Letter to New WordPress Bloggers

365 Days of Inspiration: Our Readers’ Favorite Stories About Writing and Building Community. – The Top Ten List!

Need Inspiration? Read the Blessed Projects!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s Blessed Project. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these amazing, heartfelt, and inspirational posts. Each one uplifted me in its own unique way. They will inspire you too!

No matter what happens in my wild life, I have always been able to see the beauty of the world that surrounds me. Each smile, sunset, memory and light-hearted moment have reminded me of my blessings. I have a lot to be grateful for!

 

Here’s the list of everyone who participated and their entries. I know you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!

Count Your Blessings – Aggy from Inspired Life 101

Ode to 2017 – The Blessed Project– Fall Musings

The Blessed Project – Sarcastic Bohemian

Only Positive Vibes – Blessed Project 2017 – Rated by Hanna

My Blessed Project – Ivalaine Oracles and Adventures

The Blessed Project 2017 – Yogaleigh of Not Just Sassy on the Inside

The Blessed Project – Pain Pals

Christmas Blessings | 2017 – Phoenix’s Life

The Blessed Project: Holiday Season 2017 – The Good Life Concept

All The Ways My Cup Runneth Over –  Must Hike Must Eat

Blessings for All Seasons – Lynn Kelley Author

Grateful – Cozy and Sage

Warm and Fuzzies Comeback Blessed Moments – The Wish Factor

Hygge for the Holidays – Lutheran Liar

And mine! Join the Blessed Project and Get Featured! – Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride

It’s not too late to join us! Write a list of your blessings and drop the link in the comment section. Click on others and fill your heart with hope. We would love to read your Blessed Project too.

Don’t blog? Post your list on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a super positive experience. Everyone who sees it will feel good too!

Please share this post and spread the joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Are you feeling blessed or stressed?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride.

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The #Blessed Projects are in! You will laugh and cry…

Join the Blessed Project and Get Featured!

Take a moment to join me in something truly positive: THE BLESSED PROJECT! Participants will be featured here on the Wild Ride.

Last year, I posted a list of blessings and included a few photos. The exercise took me to a place in my heart filled with love, gratitude, happiness, and sparkly things. My favorite! For the time it took to create the list, it banished bad news, headlines, and normal everyday frustrations like surfing to buy the perfect gift which is as slippery as Elf on a Shelf. I’m about to click to purchase and it’s gone! How does that happen??? Holiday preparations can be mind-numbing. By 9:00 PM my brain is fried.

How to join and get featured:

Write your list of blessings. Do whatever you want! Link it to this post. If you link it to susielindau.com, I won’t get the pingback and will have no idea you linked me. That would be so disappointing for you when I post the list of bloggers who participated.

Post yours by December 19th. On Wednesday, December 20th, I’ll post the list of entries.

With the newest word, Hygge in mind. I’ve compiled a new list focusing on family and beauty.

Here’s my Blessed Project!

I’m blessed with an amazing family.

Lindau Family 2017

Lindau Family in Breck

And new family! My grand-niece, Blakely.

Grand-niece

We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year!

30th Wedding Anniversary

I’m blessed to be surrounded by Colorado beauty…

Breckenridge sunset

And wildlife in my wild life!

IMG_2654

I’ve been blessed with a year full of travel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Friends enjoying a Hygge moment.

Haunted book club

Furry friends.

Dogs in the car

Roxy and Lady

three pups in a tub

And blogging friends! The 2017 London Bloggers Bash.

Bloggers Bash Attendees

I’m blessed with good health. Knock on wood. I have nine months to go until I am five years cancer-free. I’m counting down! In the meantime, I’m working on becoming fit and strong!

Clowning around at 24 Hour Fitness

Write a post with a list of your blessings. It can be text, photos, videos, anything you like. Link it up here! Post it by the 19th. I’ll get the notification and will link you up on December 20th. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Click for more inspiration on the Wild Ride.

Related posts:

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How to Have a Hygge Life

Do you feel blessed this holiday season? Are you up for making a quick list of blessings to get featured? I hope so!!!

How to Have a Hygge Life!

When I learned about Hygge and what it meant, I wanted to add more to my life here in Colorado.

Hygge is a Scandinavian word, pronounced hue-gah, used to describe an extraordinary moment during an otherwise ordinary day by being aware of the feeling of coziness and charm in order to slow our fast-paced life.

The word blew up in 2016 and was soon added to American dictionaries. Life has become more stressful for a lot of people. Hygge focuses on what makes you comfortable and happy. As the northern hemisphere slides into winter, I am all about Hygge moments.

Hygge can be experienced through a solitary or group activity. I’ve seen many examples, from wearing pajamas while sipping hot chocolate and reading a book, to small gatherings with friends.

Hygge’s definition depends on your unique lifestyle. Colorado is known for its active people.  When I’m not tapping away on my computer, I’m looking for outdoor adventures. I tend to shoot through life in hyperdrive. It’s important to slow down and enjoy its simplicity.

It’s snowing here in the mountains and I’m having a Hygge moment right now!

How to add Hygge to your lifestyle

My Colorado Hygge moments:

Some of my Hygge moments could be enjoyed by anyone in the world, others not so much.

Spend time with friends.

October Haunted book club at my house included eating appetizers in my living room. See the ghost, (Wendi) on the couch? Cooking dinner ran late so we had extra time to catch up! Our group has been together for more than fifteen years.

Haunted book club

Stop to enjoy the view.

No matter where you live, you can find and appreciate beauty. Instead of rushing down the sidewalk, check out a building’s architecture, the nature that surrounds you, or the clouds that scud across the sky. Embrace life when you can.

On the way back down from the mountains last weekend, my husband, Danny, and I drove to Echo Lake located below a 14,000-foot peak, called Mount Evans. As the sun set behind the mountains, the thin ice proved reflective and breath-taking in its texture.

Echo Lake, Colorado

Do what makes you happy like decorate for the holidays.

I have boxes filled with Halloween and Christmas decor and unpack them whether we entertain or not. Being surrounded by my favorite decorations makes me feel warm and happy.

Take time to make a meal.

Instead of inhaling food, it’s important to sit down and enjoy meals. I can smell the bacon sizzling in the pan. Okay, I’m really salivating now…

Mountain breakfast

Take a break.

To warm up and rest my muscles when I ski, I pour a hot chocolate and relax in the lodge. I prefer to sit near a window while enjoying the sweet concoction.

A Hygge Day in Colorado

Watch Memories on my iPhone.

I discovered a great new way to embrace special moments. I may be the last person to find “Memories” at the bottom of Moments in my iPhone’s photos. It’s a slideshow that includes snippets of video. Now I realize how important it is to delete pictures of my feet since it sometimes includes them. Ha!

Take a bubble bath in or outdoors.

I had a tough workout last Wednesday and took a hot tub to silence the screams of my minuscule muscles. The hum of the motor and the rush of water always soothes me.  I love watching birds flit from tree to tree and always watch for wildlife. A mountain lion and lynx have been spotted recently. Whoa!

Sometimes a friend joins me. So, I know hot tubs are no place for dogs, but she jumped in and finally lost her curiosity. Ha!

A friend in the hot tub

Light a candle or stoke up a fire.

In Colorado, most fireplaces are gas since we have a problem when heat inversions which trap pollution in the atmosphere. I love to flip the switch on my gas fireplace and mellow out in pajamas while watching the flicker of the flames. Or if the fire danger is low, have a bonfire with friends or family. Tell a ghost story or two. Surely you will experience a Hygge moment when you cuddle in a blanket and a shiver ripples up your spine.

bonfire

Meditate.

Insight Timer is a terrific app for tuning out the world to center and release stress. You can choose from guided and unguided meditations. It is good for the body and the soul. Find a warm, comfy space and peace-out for ten minutes. Enjoy your Hygge moment!

Create.

When our brains unlock creative flow while writing, painting, drawing, or when engaging in any other arts or craft activity, a sense of peace is released. Embrace this amazing feeling. Be aware of what you accomplished!

NOTE TO SELF: Start on this year’s Christmas card. Tick, tock…

illustrated christmas cards

Bake!

Ever since my kids went to college, I’ve baked a lot less. Making cookies and cakes for two can be hazardous to one’s waistline. Now that the weather is colder and the holidays approach, I yearn to bake bread and rolls. There’s nothing like the accomplishment of creating while the heavenly scent rises from the oven. Yum!

 

Cooling on the racks.

Spend time with family.

Since my son lives in California and my mom lives in Wisconsin, the moments we share are precious. Being an empty-nester, I truly cherish the time when everyone is home. I try slow down and live in the present moment, like this one.

Courtney, Grandma, and Kelly

Last night, I took a long hot shower. While wearing my favorite fleece pajamas, I made a cup of Sleepytime tea. I flipped the switch on the gas fireplace and slipped under the covers to read a book. Roxy cuddled next to me and kept me warm. After my Hygge moment, I slept really well!

I can’t wait to celebrate our family birthdays and holidays in November and December.

Lots of Hygge moments ahead! Onto that Christmas card…

 

Had you heard of Hygge? What are your favorite ways to bring a sense of comfort and coziness to your life?

Click for more adventures on the Wild Ride!

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Inspired by Stephen King Country – Maine

Stephen King and Maine inspired me when visiting two weeks ago, but probably not the way that you think. It’s the perfect state for King to live in and produce books. A certain kind of books. Horror. Sometimes vacations aren’t at all what we expect.

Our first stop on the tour of Maine.

After flying into Bangor for our 30th wedding anniversary, Danny and I rented a car and drove right to his house. Okay. That sounds super creepy and stalkerish, but it’s a town landmark. Go ahead. Google, Bangor Landmarks. It’s on the list along with Paul Bunyan’s statue, (Dang, missed that one), and the Bangor Historical Society, with Chipotle Mexican Grill at the top of the list. Bangor has a population of 32,000.

As I drove up West Broadway, there were several cars parked along the wide avenue. Some voyeurs took pictures through the glass of their vehicles. Not us. We walked up to King’s gate. The wrought iron contained a spider and web, a dragon, and a capital K, just in case you weren’t sure if you had the right address. Exposed to the street, the home seemed to invite onlookers, as opposed to the house next door which hid behind a thicket of bushes and trees. The weather was perfect. Drizzling with a touch of fog.

Stephen King's House

Then we ate lunch in downtown Bangor. An advertisement for a play at the Penobscot Theater hung in the window. My favorite of all of Stephen King’s work, MISERY would open on Thursday night! We bought tickets for a mere twenty-seven dollars. I wondered if The Man himself would be in the audience.

In the meantime, we explored Bar Harbor, Bucksport, Camden, and Rockland and found a few bookstores. Each had a section set aside for Stephen King’s books. Some were like shrines.

A storefront in Bangor advertising Stephen King Tours.

IT displayed in Bangor store window

“He’s prolific,” said a young waiter. “He writes every day and sticks to a routine.”

Curious, I looked it up. According to an article written for Open Culture, King ritualizes writing time like some prepare for bedtime.

He’s quoted as saying in Lisa Rogak’s Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King:

“I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”

Maine is a summer vacation destination.

We arrived in October! Somehow, we didn’t get the memo.

Some shops and restaurants had already shuttered. We stayed at the gorgeous West Street Hotel in Bar Harbor and discovered nearly the entire island including the hotel would close in another week or two.

Until then, cruise ships deposited eight to ten thousand people on shore EVERY DAY! Older people filled the sidewalks, gift shops and restaurants in the quaint downtown. Sometimes I led Danny into the street to pass them.

Because of the older median age of the tourists, warning signs lined the trail in Acadia National Park.

What steep grade and sharp curve?

Quaint meaning super dinky.

After leaving Acadia, I looked up towns to visit. A blog post with Prettiest Towns in Maine came up at the top of the feed. I perused the list. Portland was too far away and so was Kennebunkport. Blue Hill was sort of on our way back to Bangor. We arrived and drove past a gas station, a co-op, a gift shop, cafe, and beautiful harbor surrounded by nicely tended homes and yards. We drove back and asked a customer coming out of the store with a bag of groceries. “Where’s the downtown?” I asked.

“This is it,” he said.

Most of the towns were like that. We rarely saw fishermen on the lakes or active boats in the harbor. I had always dreamed of going to Maine to embody Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote and ride my bike. We only saw one biker since the hills were killer.

Every town seemed to hold its collective breath.

I thought fall color would be at its peak.

Because of warm and dry weather, most leaves were still green and many had already dropped. That happened in the Colorado mountains last fall. We arrived on their first rainy day.

We found colorful landscapes in Acadia.

Fall in Acadia

We encountered more cemeteries than people.

We could drive for miles and never see another vehicle or police car. The entire population of the state is around 1.3 million.

One of many cemeteries in Maine

Between the ghostly quiet towns and the huge expanse of undeveloped forested areas, goosebumps rose on my arms more than once.

I described the isolation to my son who said, “Maybe it will inspire you to write a book. It sounds like a great place for serial killers.” Right after his comment, I noticed Patterson’s new book, HAUNTED, about this particular variety of killer set in Maine. He must have traveled there in October.

 

Winters are tough. The state depends on summer tourism. We ran into an enthusiastic local in Acadia National Park who raved about wintering among the shuttered towns. “We sled and cross country ski. It’s beautiful in the winter.” The Mainers were very friendly, positive people reminiscent of the Midwesterners I grew up with. We really enjoyed meeting them.

MISERY in Bangor.

On Thursday night, the Penobscot Theater filled and the lights dimmed. After the first few lines, the words, “I’m your biggest fan,” were uttered by the character, Annie Wilkes played by AJ Moonie while grateful and drugged out Paul Sheldon, played by James Konicek, groaned in pain. Moonie nailed Kathy Bates’ portrayal of the deranged nurse and I could almost see James Caan in Konicek’s pained expressions as the crippled victim.

Here’s what surprised me.

In the super intense parts of the play where Annie became brutally violent, the crowd tittered, giggled, and a couple guffawed. Every time someone made a bodily sound it woke me from MISERY’s spell.

When I mentioned it to my son, he remarked that sometimes people react inappropriately when fearful. The scenes were super realistic. I cringed several times, so that could be true.

I’ve been to children’s productions where the audience showed more respect to a cast by not talking. Maybe Mainers don’t get to the theaters very often where we are all instructed to sit quietly. I’ve never witnessed anything like it.

It didn’t throw off the actors. They never missed a beat. Maybe they’ve witnessed this many times before. The small ensemble cast of three would make Stephen King proud.

We scanned the audience but King didn’t make it to that night’s performance. I’m sure he will take a stroll to the theater sometime between now and November 5th. I bet he’ll love it. We did!

Inspired by vacationing.

The irony of the setting hit me afterward. King chose Colorado for MISERY, even though I found Maine a better location in many ways. I could imagine super fan, Annie Wilkes, lurking in a clapboard house under the canopy of gnarled oaks just waiting for her chance. Both places endure winters with lots of snow.

Stephen King and I almost physically ran into each other many years ago in a fitness club. We both said, “Oops, sorry,” and kept walking. At the time, he consulted on the mini-series, THE SHINING which took place at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. THE STAND took place in Boulder. He must have been inspired by his trips to Colorado. His latest release, SLEEPING BEAUTIES, co-written with his son, Owen, takes place in a poor Appalachian town. Perfect.

Danny and I almost left Maine a day early. Instead, we drove to Camden, one of the highlights of our trip. I took this photo as we headed out of town.

The harbor in Camden, Maine

Life being ironic, as usual, we got stuck at the airport due to thunderstorms in Chicago and a stubborn baggage door. We had to stay an extra day!

Instead of flying through Chicago that Sunday, we traveled through New York. I remembered my son’s words when starting the four-hour trip home from JFK. “Maybe Maine will inspire you…”

I pulled out my cell phone and began to write.

Maine highway

~~~

Have you ever gone on vacation with completely different expectations? What’s your favorite King novel? Have you seen IT in the theater?

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Haunted at the Stanley Hotel

 

Discovered with 6 Ironic Twists!

Welcome new blog followers! I hope you’ll sit back, relax, and read how a surprising discovery was ironic in six twisted ways when one of my posts was featured on WordPress Discover.

Discover badge

Last week, while sipping coffee and checking my Twitter notifications, I noticed WordPress had tweeted my blog post, 18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote, Increase Traffic and More! It had been Discovered! The first thing out of my mouth, (second, after the coffee) was, “How ironic is that!” In more than one way. I’m cracking up as I write this.

I’ll get to the ironies, but first I want to thank WordPress editor, Ben Huberman for Discovering me! It has been such an honor. I may have gotten his attention through leaving this post in a Community Pool comment explaining one of the following ironies:

Irony #1.

One of my 18 Best Blog Tips is to try not to spend too much time on blog posts.

That post took hours and hours which turned into days.

Irony #2.

I wrote it for WordPress bloggers.

None of my followers saw it in the Reader. Which brings me to…

Irony #3.

18 Best Blog Tips also dove into mistakes I have made through six years of blogging. Here’s another one to add to the list.

I had upgraded my site to Business back in March, which allows me to use Google Analytics. That has been super interesting. I can check demographics and see which cities and countries are fans. Last week, London was my super fan city. Santa Monica (my beloved surfing spot), was the worst city in the world for viewing my blog. The US was the best country, but Israel was the worst. I have some work to do.

Mistakes were made.

Recently, I noticed I could start using plugins. My daughter, Courtney works in web analytics. She suggested I install Yoast to point out what I need to do for SEO. I attended a WordPress Meetup and was told installing Yoast would be easy and I could uninstall it if I didn’t like it.

When I arrived home, I shook while I pressed the Install button. Instead of getting the notification that it had worked, it said I wasn’t up to date with the basic WordPress Jetpack program. I had to call a Happiness Engineer, who rescued me and installed it. Whew!

The next day, when my scheduled story, A Day in London with Charles Dickens posted, it was to the sound of crickets. Of course, it was another one of those posts that took tons of time. It didn’t end up in the Reader for my followers. Bummer!! I contacted the Happiness Engineers and found out it was because I wrote and scheduled it before I installed the plugin. Apparently, the structure of the site changes after installing a plugin on a Business site.

 

For days, no one followed my blog. I asked my daughter to check her phone and the floating Follow button had disappeared. I had been warned but several other bloggers who use Yoast continued to have the happy little green floating Follow. Not me. Dang!

That was the deal breaker. New followers are more important to me than views from SEO. Someday, I’ll have books to roll out to them. I started blogging to build community.

Once again, Happiness Engineers to the rescue! Several of these angelic and patient computer geniuses jumped in to help over the next few days. My Chuck Dickens post returned to the Reader without likes but with all of its comments intact. Whew!

Irony #4.

I made the same mistake TWICE!

After working on 18 Best Blog Tips for several days, I scheduled it for the following week. It was written while I used Yoast. When it posted after uninstalling the plugin, it didn’t end up in the Reader, again. GAH!

Blog tips from six years of blogging. New ways to promote, increase traffic, grow community, and more.

Cue the sound of crickets.

Luckily, some of my followers click from their email. Fellow blogger, Words from Anneli helped me solve that.

I had written it for WordPress bloggers. Most would never see it. It was my six-year Blogoversary post!

Sharing it on social media made me feel better. When my friends reblogged it, their post appeared in search. That was a relief.

Then I remembered Ben Huberman’s Community Pool. He hosts this event through the Daily Post on Mondays. The next one is September 18th. Bloggers share posts, ask questions, or jump in and help others in the comments. I shared 18 Best Blog Tips and explained how it was written for them after six years of blogging but how it wasn’t seen in the Reader because of my Yoast fiasco.

Irony #5.

Which brings me to coffee splatters on my computer screen. After all the nervous perspiration and lots of tears, it got Discovered. WOW!

Irony #6.

The last time I was Freshly Pressed (the antiquated term for Discover), I was heading to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference for the weekend. The word got out that An Open Letter to My Boobs (an irreverent letter to my fake boobs after double boobectomies), had gone somewhat viral. Writers introduced me as The Boob Lady.

grabbing my boobs

This time, I was on my way to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Gold Conference. What were the chances? I became the Blog Lady. (Not as popular as boobs, by the way.)

So, good for me. Whoopie ding dong day.

How does this article help you?

  • Upgrading to a Business site with the ability to install plugins is perfect for a blogger who knows their way around the back end of websites or is willing to learn. You’re still a part of the WordPress community and have the interactive black bar at the top of your site. When I have books to sell, I may try plugins again. Like I said, the Happiness Engineers are super talented and are one click away. (It always amazes me how fast they are!) They hope to fix the Reader Search and make plugins easier and more compatible for Business sites and community bloggers like me.
  • I would highly recommend following the Daily Post. They have daily prompts and share helpful information for WordPress bloggers. Leave a link, once in a while, in the comments of Community Pool and be sure to help others. You might get noticed!
  • There’s an About option on the top right corner of the Discover page. This is where the editors describe what Discover is all about. Scroll down and you’ll see a form. You can fill it out to nominate other bloggers for Discover. I discovered that yesterday!

Thank you again, Ben, the Happiness Engineers, and my followers. It’s time to clean my computer screen and get back to writing books.

Have you ever won an award? Have you ever made any mistakes here on WordPress? Are you willing to experiment or are stories like mine terrifying? Ha!

Click for more misadventures on the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!

An Open Letter To My Boobs

An Open Letter From My Boobs

An Open Letter to New WordPress Bloggers