Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter


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She comes into your life and brings nature’s blessing. And with her entrance comes a curse of wanton passion. The grass is still alive as it blazes in the sun. The chorus of our laughter floats gently in the Spring breeze. We are the definition of love and our hands are linked as we dance amongst the growing and the grown alike. We enjoy timeless sunsets on picturesque settings creating canvases waiting to be painted at each moment. We love.

Time works wonders and bonds grow firm. We resolve to walk quietly into the night together. Hands held tightly against the shadows we once faced alone. We pick each other up in the heat of the Summer, against the blazing sun and humanity’s punishment. We turn as one, in unison with one another’s needs. I am your need and you are mine. And like an oak tree we grow together.

The rain has come and we have weathered storms. We still touch… but sometimes our hands Fall like leaves from our tired limbs. The chatter of children running around our base keeps us united, we are still united with finger painted signs and chalk figures. But some nights are cold and the moon shines two shadows upon the ground.

It snows here in Denver. The Winter seems to be most of the year… at least lately. But even with the constant ice, it does melt with the strength of will. A will we share each morning and return to each night. The seasons form a timeless ring that hardens into a golden promise. They touch each time our hands unite with infused emotion. Regardless of what emotion that is the presence of feelings means that we still care.

Jason Cushman

-Opinionated Man

7/11/2014

The Lost Journals: The Introduction – Pg. 2


It took me some time to decipher the intent of the writer. I quickly realized that the journals were all penned by the same hand. The time consuming task seemed daunting to me, I have never been a fan of the delicate art of replication, but these journals were obviously the meticulous product of many drafts. There were hardly any errors on the pages and the plain brown covering of the journals gave little indication of what was to be found inside.

I at first thought these books were a series of diaries written by someone and I was very interested to see what the life within held. It was after reading the first two that I realized that was not what I owned at all. What I actually held before me was seven different lives narrated within separate bindings. I was astounded. It basically felt like opening one present, expecting a single gift, and suddenly finding that a box full of toys is inside instead.

The story actually grows from here. After completing the seventh book one early morning I set my cup of coffee down on the breakfast table and walked out onto the deck. I looked up and watched as the sky gave birth to our daily sun once more. I contemplated what I had just read and the amazing impact it had on me. I was aware I had just been given something special, but it was not yet clear to me why this story was so important. I believe after reading The Lost Journals, my readers might begin to understand and to share what I felt that morning. A glimpse into what was, what is, and what could be.

***

This is my blog book I am offering to the readers of my blog. The whole story can be found at the following link http://aopinionatedman.com/category/the-lost-journals/ I hope you enjoy the story. All content is owned and copyrighted. You may re-blog, pingback, or share the contents but please give credit to the author and this website. Thank you, -OM

Page 2 OM 12/18/2013

Blog Pulse


I believe every blog has a pulse and that pulse can be felt almost immediately by a visitor. It isn’t just the activity of one thread, it is the atmosphere of the whole website. I have worked hard to create a “community” here, but I think my form of social media differs in many ways from other bloggers. It has a lot to do with how I view this blog, how I treat it, and even more importantly how I treat people that visit. Presenting a real person as the “moderator” of this web page allows visitors to recognize that real human effort is present here. There aren’t scripts running my posts or bots pushing my numbers, every subscriber, every view, every comment, and every post takes real effort – my effort.

I often tell bloggers that reach out to me for “advice” that the main thing I recommend is to always have your finger on the button. Know your home and more importantly always have control of that space. Never allow another blogger to monopolize your time or to take over the conversation unless YOU wish it. I practice what I preach and that is evident with my guest posts that I normally stay off of unless the need to respond is too great. I know that I can easily dominate a conversation on my website or even cause the dialogue to stop… which I have done and actively do for reasons. The point is make sure the steps you take each day in your goals are your steps and not the guidelines of others. That includes advice from me… take what you want and use what you can use.

I enjoy the pulse of my blog and I think people that really appreciate their own websites will relate. I see everything on my blog, every comment and action done by anyone. I make it my habit to always know what happens on my domain because the domain is mine.

Own yours as well.

-OM

Click Theory and Self-Promotion


If you take online marketing, which I never did (so you may not want to listen to me at all), you learn about “click theory” and website navigation. Basically the “click theory” states that a visitor to your website is less likely to click a secondary link unless highly motivated. This theory is also applied to the need to create easy navigation and links so that people can “find” what they are looking for in the least clicks possible.

Authors, self-promoters, bloggers, and businesses that are running blogs REALLY need to understand this because it directly affects their online sales. If you are trying to promote or sell anything it should be the first thing we see when we click your username or blog link. Even more than that it (whatever “it” is) needs to be presented without the need to scroll or move the screen at all. You are basically trying to capture the attention of someone in a glance that lasts less than 5 seconds.

There are plenty of people that have business and marketing degrees on WordPress that write these types of posts all the time. Mainly they are looking to get you to buy something. I am not writing this post to “sell” you anything at all. In fact this is free advice and you can take it or leave it. Really look at your website and view it with a stranger’s eyes. Can you find your book title easily and are the colors of your blog taking away from the visual affect you want felt?

“IF” I were selling a book I would create a static page with my book titles, images, and links as the very first thing anyone sees. At the time in which you have a “product” to push you should look at that product first and the blog as a secondary importance. That is what I would do at least because it is very unlikely someone is going to read a few posts and think “I hope this person is an author!” Instead they will likely read a few articles and move on, thereby missing your book links entirely because you have them created to a secondary page that requires another click. Starting to see where that extra click hurts you authors?

-OM

You are a Poor Writer


I was told in the 11th grade by a teacher that I was a “poor writer and I should consider finding something else to be good at.” It angered me because this termagant had no clue of my love for reading and the written word. Just because I didn’t see her “images” of Thoreau suddenly I was inferior? I did what I do anytime I am in that situation. I set out to prove that bitch wrong.

I have a huge amount of appreciation for good teachers. Teachers that build relationships with their students and don’t see them as simply “this year” are becoming a rarity though. Now there are lines not to be crossed and social boundaries preventing students from really bonding with some of the most important people in their lives. This is truly tragic for what better examples are there for students to be around?

In the 12th grade I surprised everyone by making it into AP English. I had the most amazing teacher ever, Mrs. Campbell. I remember her kindness to this day and that really says something considering how much has happened in my life since that year. The confidence that awesome woman gave me is evident today. I would probably not be writing this post, this blog, or any blog if it had not been for her. She pretty much redeemed me from the pitiful state the previous teacher had left me in. Confidence is such a precious thing that is often taken for granted. It is a trait that is built slowly and lost rapidly.

I passed the AP exam and got my college credits (I wasn’t surprised, I actually slept for thirty minutes because I was done before everyone else). I beat the scores of most of the straight A students, I was definitely not one of those people. I proved something and the important part is not what I proved. It was who I proved it to. I showed myself that year that the opinion of others doesn’t mean shit in the long run. All that matters is what you are willing to do in the moment. Do you allow someone else to create your moments or do you say “fuck you this is my life.” Give me my moment back.

-OM

I see your eyes still


I see your eyes still, even though parted we have been. They look back at me while bouncing against ice cubes, caught in the turbulence of the alcohol of my choice. Choices, they line before me like pawns. Only these pawns do not look so small while standing on the chessboard of life. Who the hell upgraded them to badass knights? Is that the Queen standing yonder? What symbol adorns that banner there, I know it not. But her eyes I do know. They are the eyes of my mother.

Jason

I don’t intentionally skip comments


Just so people know… I don’t intentionally skip comments. Even if you are checking time stamps… I hope people realize I do make an attempt to respond to all comments on this website. No matter how ignorant, foolish, mundane, odd, humorous, random, scary, or terrifying. I appreciate anyone that leaves me a comment, remark, or threat and thank you.

-Opinionated Man

Don’t Follow HarsH ReaLiTy!


I was bored and went through some past anti-HR posts and comments and I made my own. Because it just looked so damn fun…

Don’t follow HarsH ReaLiTy! That Opinionated Man, that Korean bastard, that guy that seems to write whatever he wants. The audacity of that man to follow people and expect them to come and visit his website! I don’t know whether I am jealous or mad that people are actually following him. Don’t you all see his intro page? I just read 25 people thank him for his visit and they followed him back! THEY FOLLOWED HIM BACK?!? What kind of mad world is this? (No seriously this is straight from a comment on my new website on shatteredsmoke.com you really can’t make some of this shit up)

I don’t even think he is Korean to be honest. I am almost positive he is white and he is 16 and he is probably some spoiled, privileged kid. (YES! My false trails are working!) And he certainly can’t write… I mean what are people complimenting him for? His poetry doesn’t even rhyme and all he does is rant about his birth mother all the time. (that too, straight from a comment because it was too good to not add) His theories and random articles are stupid and pointless. (that is because my life is stupid and pointless… obviously.)

I think he is actually a group of people. No one can possibly write as much as he does, keep the posting real time, correspond with dozens of other bloggers daily, work, and do his family life. He is either lying or he is a robot. (damn… I knew my ass felt hard…) I think it must be a group of people and they somehow make their writing all sound similar. (you lost me on this one. I even read the comment a few times…)

He keeps saying he doesn’t use other platforms to gain his audience and that he has never been freshly pressed. Who gains 30,000 followers in a year? I think he is using some marketing company or something. But I have never seen any Ads and I can’t find his name or website anywhere on the web other than for his current blog. (I think Sherlock would be proud of how you just solved your own question. Nice job!) There is something fishy going on and we have already established he is a sociopath and also a homophobe. (*writing down sociopath and homophobe on resume as we speak.*)

I wish he would keep his damn mouth shut on abortion. He doesn’t have a vagina. He isn’t a woman. And what the hell does he know about feminism? (… I got nothing for this. You got me! Ack!) I think we women should get together, find his address, and put the stomping to his face! (that is either going to be painful… or possibly the hottest movie I will never watch.) I am sure something will come to him. Karma is a bitch! (I would like to put out that this is the first time I have ever written the word “bitch” on HarsH ReaLiTy. It feels like we just had a moment there.)

I am sure his blog will be shut down eventually. And those fake followers will disappear. He is basically only waiting for praise and is rude to anyone that disagrees with him. I can’t believe everyone likes this jerk! (I completely agree. There I said it.) Whatever, he isn’t worth my time… (now this line gets me. Truly, I am not worth their time and yet it never fails that I come across a post or comments that basically… just made this post. Tada!)

-OM

Guest Post – Five Mistakes I Made as a New Blogger


I’m still relatively new out here but I was your poster blogger for clueless newbies a year ago. I wasn’t familiar with blogs; it was a friend who introduced me to WordPress. Once he sat me in my dash and taught me how to pilot the thing, I just wrote like I was drunk. Well, writing is one thing but getting it out there another. These are some things I wish I’d known in the cyberworld fresh off the ship from Earth.

1. Don’t wait last-minute to come up with a good title. After putting in all that thought and time into the post, I would scrounge for a good title just before publishing. There were times I didn’t do justice to the text just because I hadn’t prepared. I’ve since learned: good title, good views. It’s our first – and possibly last – shot at inviting a reader in. It should be catchy or intriguing and while it pegs the topic, you don’t want it giving everything away. Though a finished post will often suggest its own title, I now sometimes mull it over before or during the writing. Point is, I don’t want to be grasping at straws at the eleventh hour.

2. Deleting a category will create 404 “Page not found” links. WordPress Support said, “all the category links assigned to the posts will become broken links in search engine results. Every time a person anywhere online clicks that deleted category link they will be presented with a 404. The exact error message they see will vary from theme to theme.” So especially if you’re starting out in blogosphere, give good thought to the categories you create. I don’t think you want detailed technical advice from me. I might break your blog. Ask Support if you’d like more information.

3. Don’t tag out the wazoo. WordPress will accept up to 15 tags and categories combined on a post. Exceed the limit, and your tags will not appear in the Reader. You are way ahead of me. I didn’t even know what tags were those first few months!

4. But everyone’s doing it. I wrestled at first with the notion that I had to step out on social media to build my blog, though I had no idea where I’d find the time. Then I came to see some bloggers are able to harness media platforms more effectively than others and I don’t need to spread myself thin trying. I don’t need to anything. It helps that I love my WordPress community of readers.

5. Good luck Ostrich Blogging. I did not know the heart of blogging is relationships. I told you: I knew nothing about blogging but that I could write my art out. I didn’t know to read other blogs or to introduce myself out here. Naturally, my readership took its time growing in the beginning. I hope your head’s not in the sand. Make friends and support others, and you’ll attract like-minded readers. Hope you do better than I did.

Wayfarer on A Holistic Journey

Want Views? – Pump Your Posts!


It is very hard for your article to get noticed if you simply send it out into the WordPress world and sit back and hope it gets seen. I avoid the “hope” part by actively pumping my posts before and after I publish them. This is a way to create “interest” in your article even before it hits the board. I pump my posts by pushing my blog towards groups I think will either like or hate a previous post or a future post I am about to write. I then count on timing for them to actually see the post I hope they get to read. It is from that single connection that a blogger can try to build a relationship with the reader.

Imagine WordPress as a River and not an Ocean. The river that all posts go to from bloggers on WordPress is always filling up and even more importantly those posts are being shot down a single line. The river image is perfect actually because you are counting on readers that are lining up on either side fishing for posts by tag. A blogger should keep this mental image in mind to understand how hard it is for a “random reader” to see a single post by you. The number of articles submitted each minute is astronomical and even “topic specific tags” are quickly overwhelmed.

The great thing about WordPress is that you can send a post down the river again if it is missed the first time. The frequency in which you do this will depend on you as a person, your motivation, and possibly your blogging ethic. People shouldn’t be worried about republishing old posts though because they are your articles, your work, and your words to be proud of.

I have said before that I make my own articles viral. I tested this out actually and I know it works. I was able to “pump” my original Women are Crazy article to close to 150,000 views in 3 months. That was active work done before and after the article was published. There are ways to ensure your work is seen. Whether you want to use those methods is really up to you.

-OM

Bloggers are Lazy


There are so many lazy people in this world that want things handed to them. That is probably why around the middle of the year you will see a ton of blogs go inactive. The fame didn’t come fast enough. They didn’t get Freshly Pressed. They still can’t figure out what the hell SEO means and is good for. Or they aren’t reaching the “audience” they know is there.

I get a lot of emails and I am more than happy to help where I can. I absolutely hate the question “how do I reach a larger audience” because it shows that people are lazy. I have a link RIGHT HERE  and I hope people find these articles useful. The thing that annoys me though is when people ask me for tips, but won’t bother to read the articles I have meticulously written out. If you want to pay me money to teach you that is fine, I could always use the money, but I firmly believe if you read these articles I have already presented they will give you the game plan you need to grow.

I know I have said “email me whenever.” Let me edit that statement, only email me if you are truly serious about blogging and growing your blog WITH work. Otherwise if you are seeking a way to go viral email someone else.

I don’t have a damn clue about that.

-OM

I feel like quitting this blog every week.


I feel like quitting this blog every week. It is a lot of work, I don’t get paid for it, and I am chasing a dream that only I truly believe in. That only I understand.

I get the frustrations from other bloggers and most of my posts are meant as “pushes” to motivate those readers that care to read them. I get discourged easily, as one susceptible to depression I feed off “moments” to push me to the next moment. It is a very human condition and I envy bloggers that continue to push themselves even when they receive little support. I could not imagine still blogging, even for as short as this website has been born, without some type of external motivation. As much as people assume I gain “so much support” from the WordPress community, in truth it is mostly fluff and means nothing. The only person that truly supports my efforts are myself.

My blogging goals are what keep me pushing through to the next day. Without goal marks or expectations I would have grown bored with this platform. I love that I directly impact my numbers and it is the largest thrill for me to see that manipulation directly happen. It is my encouragement and motivation all rolled into one. You will find though that other people won’t understand your goals. They won’t understand your dream and even when you provide proof of accomplishment they will gloss over it. You will have to decide whose opinion means more in these instances.

When I disappear for more than 24 hours it is normally due to me challenging myself not to post, not to respond to comments, and to shut myself completely off. It is near impossible to do and every electronic device I own has some type of connection to my blog. I am always listening to the pulse of my website and that is what helps me to create such a “presence.” It is very hard to deactivate that mentality.

It can become discouraging when you read derogatory posts about your blog, methods of blogging, or even about you in general. That is what you accept upon yourself when you become an audience writer OR powerblogger. I accept that and this is not a whine. Still… it can get old reading the attacks and lies being spread about you. How easy it can be to label someone the enemy.

If you are serious about writing for an audience I wish you the best with it. It can be gratifying, exciting, and completely frustrating. Find a balance and understand that you will go through some of the same growing pains that the rest of us go through. I feel like quitting every week, but I don’t because I won’t allow anyone to push me away from doing something I enjoy.

Screw them, I will keep doing me.

-Opinionated Man

Why you are Alone on Valentine’s Day!


You think all men are pigs. Well show me a pig that can pick out a Hallmark card, pay for it, sign it, and buy chocolate without eating it and I will agree with you! Otherwise… you are just picky and alone.

You measure men against characters from movies. Look we get it, those men in TV shows and popular movies are suave and slick as hell. They also had twenty men AND women write their lines for them. If I had a committee that filtered every word before it came out of my mouth I might just be perfect as well.

You keep trying to meet guys at the club. I will never understand why women choose to get involved with men that are obviously “players” and then get shocked and upset when they get cheated on. You know who won’t cheat on you? The chess club president that is who. I don’t think a chess club president has ever cheated on a girlfriend in the history of chess!

You hated every boyfriend in the past… and you tell every new boyfriend about it. Yes, unfortunately there are some assholes in the world and you just might have dated some of them! I didn’t come on this date to hear about Richard, Bobby, and Joey ok? If you are alone and you have the habit of ranting about Ex-BFs… maybe a time of self-reflection is required.

You look like a runway model every day. This one might be confusing because what guy wouldn’t want to date a model? Sounds like a lot of drama, I mean fun, but I do feel the need to clarify to women that if you step out of your door every day looking like a fashion model… most “average guys” won’t dare to speak to you. All we see is dollar signs walking around in high heels that none of us can afford to buy you.

You hate flowers, you hate chocolate, and you hate bunnies and you hate… If you hate “everything” or are the type that says you “hate everything” I just won’t try. Why waste my time and money? YOU HATE EVERYTHING!

You LOVE Valentine’s Day. Bahumbug… I hate this holiday. I think many men do too, which is why in the Guycode Book it states “that unless you are married or in a serious relationship you should break all non-important social agreements till after gift buying season is over.” See page 69.

-Opinionated Man

An Introduction to Powerblogging – Part 1


There is a reason why I have waited this long to write this post and also why I have shared articles on blogging this past week. They were leading to this point, one which many bloggers will hate. That is the price you pay when you share information freely, especially about topics people dislike. If you were to browse the tags “blogging, bloggers, and blog” right now you would find countless articles on blogging and how to successfully make a blog. You won’t find many people writing on powerblogs, except in the most general way. That is because the term “powerblogger” was given as an insult to label those of us that WordPress and Blogger deem to be all about the numbers and audience. The insult is in the assumption that we also don’t care about our writing.

This post will be longer than usual for me and I plan to cover what I have learned about powerblogging this past year. Yes, you heard correctly, I have only been a powerblogger for a year and ironically I have only been blogging for the same amount of time. Success is a distant marker that we each get the freedom of chasing. I did not wait for someone to tell me the “rules” I made my own. I didn’t wait to learn “how everyone else was doing it” because I have often found that people have very “small minds” when it comes to ideas and execution. The human brain can often not be bothered to think outside the box, thus what we readers get are blog after blog of regurgitated, politically correct crap.

We blog for different reasons and I can confidently say that I blog differently than most of you… probably all of you. Some of the following will be known, but I hope some of it is new and might open your eyes to what a powerblogger is and does.

When I began HarsH ReaLiTy on January 3rd, 2013 I had no real plan other than trying to get my writing seen. That was the number one goal, “how do I get people to read my stuff?” It was only later on that I adapted the “wish” for comments as well, because to be honest a view is a view. Period. There is no “fake view” or “fake follow” the bloggers that claim that are idiots. Did a person not have to see your blog title to press like? Did we not have to read at least a word of your article to like and follow you? If you judge your popularity by “likes and follows” then you will have a fruitless writing career. I don’t pay attention to those numbers, they mean shit other than providing a basic understanding of daily traffic. This understanding can ONLY come from studying your numbers and seeing what gets viewed and why. Many might find this boring, that is understandable, but if you are serious about self-promotion, business, and selling those damn eBooks then you might want to start paying attention to your stats and dashboard. That IS your link to the outside word for your blog.

I value every view, regardless if someone follows me, comments, or presses like. I also don’t “like” any article I have not read. I will generally “follow” a person off the reader, so that connection will show up in their email notification as a “like and follow” by me. In truth I have not pressed “like” on that article. I followed a person because I skimmed their post, liked their title, or I see they are an active blogger. I then will wait for that connection to be returned in many cases. Is this a game of “I follow you and you follow me in turn” like I have seen post after post about? No, it really isn’t, because I am not studying the number of followers. I am waiting to see if a person that just visited my site has gone on a “reading binge” and has “blitzkrieged” my website. That to me is the indiciation that a REAL connection has been made. The “handshake” connection is actually where someone reads my about or bio, likes it, comments, and then disappears. That is STILL a view, I still value that interaction, but it is set in a different category from a habitual visitor.

I have repeatedly said that powerblogging is more than just “randomly” clicking on websites in hopes that people will visit you back. If it were indeed that easy, everyone would be doing it AND successfully, which is not the case. “Following” people is a large part of pushing your website out to the public. You will read and hear endless posts and comments on how bad of a practice this is. “It is insincere” or “I think every blogging connection should be a real relationship and not a ploy for business.” If you powerblog you WILL get these comments. You might even make it to the “big time” and will “randomly” happen upon those awesome posts about you while browsing WordPress. The awesome part is because they will be directly about you and your blog, they will name you, and they will villianize what you are and what you do. If this bothers you or if negative feedback causes you hesitation, powerblogging is NOT for you. You will need to be made of tougher stuff than that. Currently I could rattle off a dozen posts just this past month about me. I can also name many bloggers that think what I do is pathetic and a “low” form of blogging. You will have to decide whether or not public opinion matters to you and if it does you might want to reconsider taking any of these pieces of advice.

Generally I follow about 500 blogs a day. On a good day or perhaps a day from last year where my motivation was much higher, I would follow or connect with around 2000 blogs a day. My hope for a “return” on this practice has always been the number 750. I set that as a buffer number, because it is just high enough to push me but not to burn me out. I seek 750 new eyes on my website every day. To an author or someone that is pushing their business or books, this is where I say the marketing really IS. With every follower or every glance at your website you are realizing a “possible sell.” THAT is the name of the game and anyone that says differently is a fool and you should NOT listen to them. But if you instead write “for yourself” and are happy selling your books to only your friends and family… by all means listen to “Cindy and Jack” your kind supporting friends that will never tell you a negative bulletpoint. These people are not helping you though in the long run and an attitude that thinks that they are is the wrong attitude for self-promotion and success.

I listen to no one when it comes to self-promotion. There is so much bad advice out there. So many people with wishful thinking and sugary thoughts of “success will come when it is meant to.” FUCK THAT! I go out and I search for success because success is in all reality the ultimate mythical hart that every hunter seeks. Those that say they don’t care about success, all the while they pour their hearts into their words and product, are not only lying to you but to themselves as well. Living a lie can sometimes be the best remedy for failure. If that is your poison have fun foolishly enjoying it.

You cannot randomly click “follow” and hope to create a powerblog. There is so much more to this “art” then it appears. I say art because the process itself is an art. Anyone that has blogged on HarsH ReaLiTy and has seen my stats knows I am speaking the truth. They have seen my numbers and even more they have witnessed the fluctuations. Not an hour ago I was asked “why have your numbers fallen since last July and can you explain the bell curb?” Of course I can, it is the product of effort and lack thereof. I have not clicked follow or pushed my blog nearly as hard as I did last year and for good reason. They are my reasons. Last year I was actually “following” and actively pushing my website to the number of around 2000 clicks daily. That is not an exaggeration either. What a person must realize is there is a percentage to explain everything in life, especially a blog. Numbers don’t lie and if you know how to read them they can actually reveal the “heartbeat” of your blog. When I was actively pushing my blog I would have over 750 new visits a day and the retention rate of those visitors was higher as well. My content also has a large amount to do with this rate. Removing an offensive title and tagline would be an immeasurable help in gathering followers, but I refuse to change that. A Good Blog is Hard to Find is actually my new sample test against this theory. I can firmly say that it has shown me I have lost A LOT of potential followers because of what HarsH ReaLiTy now “stands for.”

The amount I blog on HR has fallen this year because I always intended it to be so. I never really planned on devoting more than a year to HarsH ReaLiTy, but I have also adapted that plan slightly. The problem with HR is that it has capped in many ways. I still gain followers daily, but the issue is when you get to a certain size people stop seeing you as an attraction. You gain a label and an outlook, regardless if your practices stay the same. When I say practices let me elaborate on what I mean by that. Last year I received anywhere from 300 – 600 comments daily and much of that is due to the fact that I posted on average 5 times a day. I want to reiterate here that “over posting” doesn’t exist, but pushing out tons of posts ALSO won’t gain you tons of followers. The reason being is that you will find few bloggers that actually read ALL of your posts. I have a few people like that, but it is rare and it basically takes time to find a reader such as that. They are what writers seek though. I spend a lot of my time responding to comments, reading blogs (yes, contrary to popular belief I actually read around 200 blog posts a day), and writing articles. The addition of the comments and emails adds considerable amount of work. I work four days a week in Information Technology and have the luxury of being able to blog at work. I therefore spend around 8 hours daily on my blog and often this includes weekends. I sleep very little and because I have kids I force myself to do a lot of my writing at night. This is neither practical nor possible for many people, but I am trying to provide a full picture of what I do.

7 days a week I was on my blog last year. It has only been recently that I have started to take weekends off and my guest bloggers will attest to the fall in stats because of this. I don’t care because I KNOW what drives stats and views. There is no “dormant stage” for a blog. There is either motivated blogging or lazy blogging to me. I hate laziness and will never entertain the thought of being called lazy by anyone. I have had this word fielded in my direction and honestly, it didn’t deserve the snort that it got.

Powerblogging is about money and making money. Whether you are pushing a product, sharing your writing, or basically trying to create a business for future ventures powerblogging is where you want your website to go if you are truly after numbers and success. Writing is a skill and something to be treasured, thus I have time and time again tried to present the difference to my readers. I take writing and blogging seriously, but I separate them. I always have and always will and this post should share why I do. Blogging is the business and traffic aspect of pushing my website, the writing is something I am always working on and trying to improve. As one commenter said, the reason I post so much is because I am not hindered by public displays of negative feedback. That is why I am writing, any review is welcome. To pick and choose is to pick and choose your followers and that to me is a mistake in principle.

I wrote an eBook back in May of 2013 and I shared my blogging principles and methods. This is a much larger elaboration and I have more still to share. The irony is that this post is probably more in-depth than the eBook, but I have also learned a ton since last May. Well, that is debatable, but I think I have.

Mirror blogs and secondary blogs are becoming more common. You will see many current “powerbloggers” (some of which don’t meet the description to me) hosting mirror sites in which they are simply refunneling their previous posts. While this in itself is not a bad practice, nor is it a bad idea, there needs to be some clear understanding as to what, why, and how this is done. There are some bloggers that will reblog themselves to gain views. The issue I have with this is when they reblog their own post… ON THE SAME DAMN WEBSITE. Who wants to see you reblog yourself? If you have been blogging for years and think you have posts hidden at the bottom of the pile that people might genuinely enjoy “again or for the first time” then simply repost that article. Don’t reblog it and make it obvious you are recycling your posts. When a singer lip sings do they make it obvious? No, they try to play that shit off because people don’t want to think that YOU “think” they are fools. Treat us like adults and instead just repost that entry and see if people like it again.

You will find many bloggers are using “separate” mirror blogs to push their current blog. This is a GREAT practice that has been in use FOREVER! People that think this is a new idea are either not in marketing or failed out of marketing 101 in college. Business owners and strategists have been using the “wall theory” forever. Bouncing ideas off a smaller target or “sample audience” OR simply using a secondary website to get eyes on a topic or issue. There is nothing wrong with this, WordPress isn’t going to run out of room because you decide to make a second website. Anyone that tells you that making new websites is “clogging WordPress” is OBVIOUSLY the best network engineer in the world…

Another thing some powerbloggers do is they create a second website that is completely unaffiliated to their first. They will then “rehash” their previous year’s materiel onto their new blog and by using the scheduling features they are essentially able to create a blog with no new materiel and one that is ready for a year. It is still their writing that they are proud of and are trying to push in front of the public’s eye, so fair is fair when it comes to motivation and even more importantly dedication to promoting yourself.

I don’t schedule my posts, but I have before. I enjoy writing “real-time” and allowing my audience to feel and understand what I think of the moment. I also don’t try and cram every single thought for my day into one post. Many bloggers create well thought out, scripted posts that read like a novel. That is great for them and all and they deserve the recognition and likes people give them from doing that type of task. For me I don’t think a post has to be perfect. When I press publish on this post, an article that is about 7 times longer than most I write, I will probably have a ton of grammatical mistakes that will be obvious to the reader that cares. The thing writers need to remember, especially writers of a blog where they are pushing their thoughts out every day, is that there will be just as many readers that don’t care and will still read. They will also come back and read more, as long as you are putting out new content. If you sit there and second guess your worth and the readability of your articles, you will only filter your website down to a point where it is no longer you. It is a filtered you and who really wants to read that? You should also take note that finding people that are writing about similar topics is the best practice in finding bloggers that “might” like your website. This is particular telling when you actively find people writing about your subjects, even as your topics change daily. This provides a mixture in viewers that will pay you back.

I post lots of times in a day, but each post is generally directly related to a singular topic. I don’t try to carry my readers on some long epic journey through multiple layers of thought because blogging is a “quick fix” type of enjoyment. People read blogs, instead of books, often times for a fast read. Under 1000 words and they really don’t want to think too hard. This is not the case for all bloggers, but understanding the existence of this predominate group will help you when considering what to write, how to write it, and how to present it. If you bury your audience in tireless posts and an overwhelming amount of imagery and mental pictures… you will lose most of your audience.

Titles are everything if you are a writer. If you run a photography or art blog, your titles “might” not matter as much because pictures will show in readers. I don’t post a ton of pictures, actually I rarely do, and because of that I must hedge my bet on a catchy title. But the title won’t make or break your article, it will simply go hand in hand with the percentage that you gather while writing it. It is thus harder on a “true writer” in many ways to gain an audience. This is also why I don’t stick to one topic, theme, or type of writing. I try my hand at anything and that “unpredictable nature” is also a bullet point in my “how to blog” manual. Humans are creatures that grow bored faster than any other animal on this planet. Keep that in mind when you are wondering why people aren’t returning to read the “same type of post” you have been doing for years.

WordAds is a great feature for WordPress users to see at least “a little” monetary gain from their efforts. Why write for free? Also, if your followers aren’t paying the price tag, why should it matter to them if you have Ads? I once had an “Ex-Follower” (yes, we powerbloggers actually get “ex-followers”) who claimed that it was shady of me to gain anything from my followers. I responded with a wake-up call. You do realize that you are paying someone every time you log into any website right? Gmail, google, and EVEN WORDPRESS ITSELF makes money off your usage. Don’t feed me this crap of “it is bad form to make money off anyone” because EVERYONE is making money off EVERYONE. Wake the Fuck Up!

This is getting long and I may come back and add to this later or write an addition. There will be many bloggers and powerbloggers alike that will absolutely hate this post. They will hate that I share this info, or that I do it in such a nonchalant way. As if I am supposed to care about what other bloggers think of it. Unfortunately for them and perhaps fortunately for my audience… I could give a shit less what other bloggers think of me or my methods. To prove this, I will even post this article on my new blog and see if it runs any new followers off. If you are always worried about what others think of what you are doing, saying, or thinking then blogging for an audience is not for you. Save yourself some heartache and instead take on knitting.

-Opinionated Man

2/16/2014

07:02:44

I still feel new here


I still feel new to WordPress and probably feel that way because I am. I have only been blogging for 18 months and that is a very short time compared to many of you. I don’t really know how long I will blog, it was never my intention to actually still be writing this long. But I have found a give/take love with blogging, especially here on WordPress, and it is nice to have “an outlet” as so many have said.

I am not here to “perfect my writing,” but rather to try new things. I think that is the difference in my blog from a “writing blog” where the author or aspiring author is really working hard to create a particular voice. Or they are sticking to one genre and only focusing in on issues related to that subject. See that isn’t how I blog and never will be, so I can’t really claim this as my training ground. I like to think I push myself to write whatever I wish… to show I can. Poetry, infomatic articles, blogging articles, flash fiction, personal posts, parenting, and dare I say I think I write the woman’s point of view remarkably well. There won’t ever be only one type of topic found here and that is how I have kept my audience. I have only a few readers that actually read everything on this website and I am still amazed that people return for a second visit. That was never factored into my business model.

When I first started WordPress I immediately found the reader and Freshly Pressed tabs. I happened upon an article on Matt Walsh and decided to visit his blog. I was amazed at how many shares, comments, and likes his work got and I decided I would like to have that many people “at least” look at my words. I figured out how to do that which I have shared in detail in my blogging/powerblogging articles. Others may have their own theories and models, these are simply one guy’s thoughts on how to successfully build a powerblog. A powerblog is whatever you want it to be, just like a blog is whatever you want it to be. I have visited many blogs and that obviously includes the “larger blogs” out there. Many much larger, successful, and obviously corporate in comparison to my own. I don’t envy other blogs and instead use them as motivation to keep pushing my numbers. I left comments in my early blogging days on many of these large blogs asking questions. Guess what I got in response? … …. nothing…

Shouldn’t surprise me and I am in turn very happy when people ARE surprised at my responses to their comments here. It is much like the twitter purge I did, I believe there has to be a balance. I can’t visit every website that subscribes to me and I never intended to. I have had countless complaints about this and I find it silly, but I suppose some bloggers need a reason to be mad daily. I instead put a portion of my time and energy into writing blogging articles “for free” for those that read my website. I hope people realize I am writing these for you guys… they aren’t for me. They are mainly what I have learned in blogging and they are the answers to the questions certain assholes never responded to me about. It is ok assholes, I am sure you are very interesting people.

To sum up this obviously well thought out blog post, see this is another reason I don’t consider myself a writer really. I edit once and publish and never “plan” things out much. But whatever, the point I was making is that numbers are just numbers. You don’t always know how they got there. I worked for mine, but many get their numbers “handed to them” through corporate relationships, connections to TV stations, and other mass media feeds. Hell I haven’t even been Freshly Pressed and I am certain that staff has my blog labeled with a big X. That is cool I never needed anyone’s help and I certainly won’t start in the virtual world. I know I am offering $50 consulting now, but I ALSO answer countless emails with questions from random bloggers. Some who probably don’t even read my website and want free info, but I still reply. Regardless of what you have heard about me I don’t bite… if you have a question send it and I will respond. It may say “that is easily found in the WordPress forum,” but I will at least answer. Like I said, I do this because there was a time (18 months ago) when I couldn’t beg a response off someone who obviously “knew what they were doing.” I try not to be an asshole at least one day out of the week.

-OM

https://aopinionatedman.com/category/bloggingpowerblogging-articles/

The Daily Opinion – Purest Bloggers


There is a point of contention between some bloggers about purity of method when it comes to blogging. Do you hope to connect only with those that “love” your work and through those connections do you hope to build an audience only of like minded people? Or are you like some bloggers (me) that would rather see their work in front of a million faces and hope that a percentage of connections comes from it?

-OM

What Kind of Blogger Are You?


The “hobby blogger” feels slighted that someone else can “make it” where they cannot. I can’t count the number of times I have read “you can’t do that with a blog or on social media.” What people really mean by this statement is that THEY don’t know how to do such and such on that platform. People love blanket statements and love to set limitations for others. Often it is because they themselves have failed in their own attempt and they just hate to see someone else succeed. These people are known as “anchors’ and they will weigh you down with their negativity and halfhearted attempts at advice. Cutting off these anchors will make your ship sail much more smoothly.

What kind of blogger are you and what are your goals on WordPress? What is your motivation for being on social media in general? Only you individually can answer that question and once you realize your answer you must then decide your level of engagement on these websites. It is all about what you want. I once asked “what makes a professional blogger?” I think the question was actually worded improperly. There are people that make blogging their “profession,” but aren’t necessarily making much money off it or claiming to be an expert. They take this title because their websites are the building blocks for their own business ventures and that is nothing to be ashamed about. It is in fact how people develop name recognition, an aspect of marketing most people ignore or don’t know about.

I love blogging because I truly believe you get as much out of it as you put in. I don’t think you need to make a set amount of money, write in a particular genre, or have set habits to be considered a professional blogger. I also don’t think a subscriber number or view count necessarily means you have gained that title either. It is about focus and your own wish, not the labels placed upon you by others. If you want to consider something your profession or you have decided you want to make a popular website the only thing stopping you is you. Effort and focus go a long way when it comes to self-promotion. The only thing that never changes is the “self” part. Without personal effort nothing great will come your way. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play.

-OM

Your Audience is Not Your Friend


You may find that after you gain a certain number of readers you will begin to feel “secure” in your own environment. This is not a bad thing and a writer should feel comfortable in their own “realm.” I get emails asking me how I write on the hard topics without pause. I have an easy answer for this. Only write on highly charged subjects if you are prepared to fight the good fight alone.

The meaning of my title is pretty straight forward. Don’t rely on your audience to defend you or to support your views. Instead, only write on topics that you are willing to defend, possibly debate, or expound on further. If you are unwilling to suffer the criticism that comes from writing an article, don’t write the post.

Many new readers and perhaps some of my old followers possibly feel that I sit around and brain storm ideas for articles that will generate debate and contention. While I will agree that my writing style does seem to generate this atmosphere, I can assure each of you that my posts are as random as they can possibly be… and still originate from the same brain. I simply enjoy poking anything I can with a stick and watching the ants run. That doesn’t mean I walk around with a stick though…

As you make connections on WordPress you will encounter people that will become “friends” to an extent. I am still of the habit of always being aware of reality, and that reality is that “friends” are always around when it is sunny. As soon as a few drops of rain come, however, they quickly find greener pastures to settle into. Your audience is not your friend.

-Opinionated Man

“You speak English son?”


In a country as diverse as America you may randomly get asked this question. I suppose that is to be expected, however, there are a few instances where I find it ridiculous. The main instance is when you and I have already had a conversation and THEN you ask me if I can speak English. “No Sir I can’t, I was really just nodding my head to the rhythm of your words…

It was a Saturday night and the wife and I had decided to go to Blackhawk, CO to play at the Indian casinos. We had an amazing time, namely because my wife was extremely lucky that day and hit two large jackpots on slot machines. We of course had a shot of patron for each win, but because I was driving I withheld the urge to have more beverages to celebrate. We stayed a few hours at the casino, more than enough time for me to process twice as much alcohol as I had, but we still made our way carefully down the mountain back towards Denver. The road can be remarkably dangerous and I knew this first hand having hit a deer in my brand new Eclipse a couple years earlier. Apparently deer have no regard for their own personal safety or the image of my baby car which I still mourn to this day.

As we made our way towards the one gas station located a few miles outside of Blackhawk I began to see red and blue lights ahead. I immediately thought it was either an accident or a DUI checkpoint, and sure enough the police were standing in the middle of the road conducting DUI “interviews” on passing cars. I say “interviews” here because the cops were actively talking to each driver and sending the ones they “suspected” of being under the influence to the dirt parking lot nearby. It was my lucky night.

Sir have you had anything to drink tonight?” the cop asked me.

I had a couple drinks three hours ago,” I answered honestly. I could actually feel the nervousness from my wife.

A second cop approached from the passenger side and shined his flashlight at me. The first officer placed his hand on his gun and said “I am going to need you to pull over so we can do a quick sobriety test.” He made it apparent this was not a request. “Please pull over slowly to the right and don’t allow your car to break contact from my hand” he said with what I imagine he thought was a stern demeanor.

I pulled slowly over, very slowly, and ensured his grip of authority never lost contact with my vehicle. I was a little nervous, not because of the possibility of blowing over the limit, but because both the cops were white and I have a large suspicion about law enforcement in general. Namely that I think police are worthless for the most part, at least in many of the cities I have lived in, and they seem more gauged at causing trouble for the law abiding citizens than the criminals. Once I had parked my car the cops motioned for me to get out of the vehicle.

The police explained to me that they had pulled me out because they smelled alcohol on my breath. I thought “bullshit” because I had only had two shots and after those I had eaten and drank non-alcoholic drinks. There is absolutely no way he smelled anything but my Febreze air freshener. I was very confident because I knew I was fine to drive and that these cops were just looking for a criminal if they could find one. We spoke for a few minutes in which I explained why we were in the mountains, because apparently Asians don’t travel into the mountains at night because they melt from the high altitude, and then he dropped the question on me.

Before we begin I need to ask if you speak good enough English to talk to me. Do you need a personal translator?

I had a hard time biting back my retort which would have thrown me in jail. The deciding factor was his partner who still had not taken his hand off his gun. Overaggressive policemen are not hard to find and they frequent Youtube these days on viral video after video. I wasn’t about to be the next “when police attack video” that got a million hits, it wasn’t worth sacrificing the beauty of my face just for a viral video. But seriously where does a guy get off asking me if I speak fucking English when we just spoke for several minutes and my vocabulary obviously exceeds your own?

We began the test and let me point out that giving ANYONE a DUI test on a gravel parking lot is complete bullshit. I have trouble enough walking a straight line in the street, add some rocks and I definitely wasn’t looking very coordinated. I am a part-time ninja, but I can’t do shit without my ninja outfit. The issue arose when we began the ABC test which consisted of me saying the alphabet backwards. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, maybe I am just a dumbass, but I have never practiced saying the ABCs backwards. Why would anyone learn to do that? I was about two vowels away from getting tackled before I made it through finally. It wasn’t pretty, but I suppose I could have simply said “I guess I really don’t know English…”

So what ends up happening? After all five tests, YES FIVE TESTS, were done the idiot ends up giving me a Breathalyzer test and guess what this non-English speaking Korean blew? 0.00, that is what. I refrained from giving the cops any sign language as we drove off and I am surprised they didn’t chase after me for “accelerating too fast.” What can I say? Cops love me.

-OM

Blogging: They Aren’t Coming Back…


I often tell you that I don’t count on return visits from my followers. I want to share with you a stat image that will further highlight this fact.

Capture

You will notice from my graph that there are definite times when my website goes up in views and then trails off to a smaller number. The normal four days or so of heightened views is due in part to my posts, but mainly due to my follower gathering methods.

You see I pick and choose when my website gets viewed heavily and when it becomes dormant. I control this through adjusting my three focus points on blogging and in doing so I adjust the “potential viewers” according to the output. Whether I am currently writing, about to post, or have just posted something I think is of value that is when I pump my numbers towards my blog. When my “weekend comes” and I decide to relax my numbers begin to fall significantly. This is all to show that my website fluctuates, just like many of yours do. It is a normal thing unless you are able to harness corporate traffic.

Most bloggers will tell you that to have a successful website you must have “focus,” a clear goal or blogging subject, and that you must post consistently to get views and new followers. Most bloggers don’t have any clue what they are talking about. They are simply repeating what they have read or what they are told and have NO REAL DATA to even go by. They are just talking. I don’t listen to “most bloggers” and neither should you.

I post when I want, what I want, and even TO whomever I want. What do I mean by “to” whomever I want? Part of gaining attention to a post or article isn’t always looking for those that will agree. I purposefully draw in large numbers of people that will “potentially” hate my work. I do this because you can easily get more views from someone that hates everything they are reading on a site than from someone that totally agrees with everything you have wrote. Most people that find a website “in line with their beliefs” will skim and save that address, but they may never revisit. Why would they? They already agree with everything you wrote so reading your work is much like reading their own thoughts. That quickly becomes boring because people are drawn to controversy and debate these days.

“They aren’t coming back…” I remember saying this to myself in my second month of blogging. It was when I began to fully understand the relationship I was creating with my readers and the potentially “deceitful” value that it had. Sure I found and you will also find bloggers that instantly connect with you. Those connections many times have an expiration date that is never clear, but normally comes around the time you suddenly stop seeing their username anymore as a comment. It happens and will always happen. If you are serious about building an audience they cannot have a face, it must be an ever changing and growing thing. When you begin to “depend” on certain audience members for views you will find yourself waiting by the door. Guess what?

They aren’t coming back…

-OM

My Twitter Purge


I just completed my first Twitter purge. I never understood how someone can have 10,000 followers and only follow 200 people back. Are those people that interesting? I wasn’t aware anyone could be that exciting in under 140 characters. Well you aren’t that interesting to me! I have decided it is annoying to see such an offset number and will probably do this regularly. To those following me @SmokeNdust I appreciate it.

-OM

HarsH ReaLiTy Kickstarter


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/484473518/harsh-reality

I know what I have said about kickstarters and asking people to help you with your dream. I also know there is a guy currently running a “kickstarter” to make potato salad and people have donated 50,000 dollars to him so far. I don’t expect 50,000 dollars from anyone, but I have accepted the fact that you can never know what is possible if you never ask. I chose that dollar amount because it is honestly close to what I make now at my day job.

I have written this website for close to 17 months now and I have had a great time building it. Unfortunately life happens and changes come with that. Two things for me have changed recently. My oldest daughter turns 5 years old next week and my youngest turns 4 the next month. I also have encountered some “changes” in my own work and will need to make a decision soon. That leaves little time for the website and the audience I have grown to like… perhaps even to love. It might seem odd me saying the word “love” here, but what else can I call this passion for something I spend countless hours doing for no pay?

The goal of this website has always been to provide entertainment. If you don’t realize that by now you don’t really read my words. You don’t get HarsH ReaLiTy. If you do, however, “get” what I am doing here and have appreciated it for the past year and a half maybe you will decide to give a small donation. If I get anywhere near enough support I will quit my other job and write full time. That probably means very little to most of you and I understand that. Like I said, we all have our own goals and dreams. But if you decide you have the extra money (I do NOT want anyone to give that can’t afford to. I am NOT poor and that is not what this is about.) and wish to donate know that I truly appreciate it.

In a month I will need to make a decision. Should I be forced down the path of finding another corporate job I will cut back on this blog about 90%. I don’t want to, but we do what we must for our families… even if that means shelving dreams.

One last thank you to my loyal readers who have visited religiously for the past year and a half. To a guy that isn’t an author, isn’t important on a daily basis, it really is the largest confidence booster in the world to know your words are being read.

Yours,

Jason Cushman

-Opinionated Man

 

Guest Post – Love on top


As promised, I am gonna take you to a place near Bangalore (India). Do you love the mountains ? Is trekking your thing ? Do you enjoy the greenery all around ?

If yes, then you should definitely visit Wayanad, which is in Kerala (a neighboring state which is also called as ‘God’s own country’ and they call it for nothing) is a beautiful district covered with hills, lakes and wild reserves. When we went for a three day trip to this place I did my first and only trek to Chembara Peak. Being there was like being in heaven. I leave you with two pictures of a specific point in Chembara Peak (a trek of 4+ hours to and fro) which is the highlight of that place.

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The heart shaped lake at the top of the hills.

The heart shaped lake at the top (2100 mtrs high)
Wanna come visit ?

KG

Guest Post – In house models


வணக்கம் (that’s Hello in Tamil and pronounced ‘Vanakkam’). This is KG (a pseudonym) here from the southern parts of India. And before I say anything else, I am so glad (and slightly nervous) to be a guest author here at HarsH ReaLiTy. Thank you OM.

I dabble a bit in Photography as my hobby (apart from reading a ton of books and listening to music all day through) and as a way to record my travels too. I blog at Books, Music, Photography & Movies , where I pen my views on all of said things and some more and also at Memoirs of my Travels , where I try and chronicle my travel to various places I have had the pleasure of visiting. As part of my guest posts, I will try to show you some part of my land through my photographs. Hope you enjoy the short journey with me as much as I do.

As part of the first guest post I would like to introduce you to my models that help me in my photography within the confines of my home. Ever since I have started to play with my DSLR I found the idols I own to be amazing models. I also like to play with the light (or lack of it) and how I can make them (idols) look all mysterious with my photographs. So without further delay, here are some of my photographs of them.

I would like to introduce you to Annapurna Devi, the god of food and nourishment, holding an utensil used to serve food.

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And this is Vishnu, who is deemed the protector and is the Supreme God of Vaishanvism.

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I always enjoy working with them. They are my silent supporters in more ways than one.

-KG