Blogger, Writer, Tech Support
I stop by my blog every now and then to dust off the dashboard.“Why am I here?” I ask, waiting for divine intervention. But, all I got was spam.
Other times, I return to the dashboard after receiving a bad news email from a security plugin that’s a bit of a drama queen.
“Stop what you’re doing and get over here!” It said in a panic. “I found a virus in a WordPress file.”
My instinct was to ignore it. But if I did, the plugin would just send ten more emails, screaming in all caps, “IF YOU DON’T GET RID OF THE VIRUS, I’M CALLING THE CDC.”
To avoid ending up as a hot spot on the government’s map of diseases, I logged into the dashboard and wasted an hour trying to fix the problem while food deprived and cranky from working all day. Clearly, I was in no condition to tackle a WordPress pandemic of this magnitude.
I called BlueHost tech support who couldn’t help me. Thirty minutes on the phone with them resulted in a support ticket and “Good luck with that,” which galvanized me to fix the problem as I scarfed down a snack at my computer.
Technical issues are one of the hazards of running a self-hosted WordPress blog. I was clueless about 404 pages, plugins, and widgets before I made the transition from Blogger to WordPress — a birthday gift from my parents while I was unemployed. Though the last thing I needed was more stress in my life at the time.
The Blogging Conundrum
When I started blogging over eight years ago, I wrote about the pitfalls of having an open-ended schedule while looking for work and then keeping the work I had found. As I told my husband who thought that writing meant goofing off, “Blogging is my therapy. There are just so many hours in a day in which I can look for a job or hold onto one.”
Blogging kept me as sane as I could possibly be. As a creative thinker, one hundred percent sanity is a condition I try to avoid.
In 2010, after I became a member of the underemployment club and started working four days a week, I published fewer and fewer blog posts. Until a year ago, my blogging screeched to a stop and skidded into a ditch. I didn’t know what to write about. My creative GPS was directionless. She kept telling me to “Make an illegal U-turn if at all possible.” But I couldn’t, because I was stuck in a rut after getting lost from all the confusing signs along the Internet highway.
“You need to have a direction for your blog.”
“You need to know your audience and write for them.”
“If you cover too many topics, you’ll confuse your readers.”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
“My readers?” I said. “You mean the trolls who leave spam comments and thrive on chaos? I don’t want to encourage them.”
Confusion Is Confusing
But, I was still confused. I stood in the ditch watching the traffic light turn from red to green while others, who knew where they were going, whooshed on past me.
Then a thought approached me from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” it said. “Maybe confusion should be the focus of your blog.”
“Isn’t that crazy?” I asked. “Confusion would be too confusing, unless…” And at that moment, I realized that the thought was right. I should write about my journey to find a focus for my blog and my writing, collateral damage from being stuck, as well as the distractions that drove me into a ditch. Confusion will be my hook.
Today, I embrace chaos.