The Current State of This Blog

Apparently, Facebook isn’t the only entity that thinks my blog is spam. A couple of days ago, a friend called make sure I’m okay because she hasn’t been getting my blog via email, and she worried that something had happened to me. I told her I was fine and that I was still blogging every day (even though I don’t always have something to say) and suggested she check her spam folder.

Sure enough, the last four blogs had been classified by her email provider as spam.

I think I know what the problem is — the brief bio at the bottom of every post. Even though it is just a small fraction of the post itself, apparently the spam-eating bots have been picking up on the duplication. (One message from FB mentioned that repetition was considered spam, which corroborates this surmise.)

I never used to put anything at the bottom of my posts because it seemed redundant — after all, all the information about me and my books are on sidebars and pages — but some sites illegally repost blogs without attribution, and I used to find various of my articles on those sites. (I’m sure such sites are still around, though I’ve stopped looking.) Since there’s often nothing that can be done about the theft, one suggestion I came across to counteract the attack was to make sure every blog had a bio and links so that if anyone came across the blog on other sites, it would refer back to me.

I’m glad I got in the habit — phone apps for the various blog platforms generally don’t allow for sidebars, so no one who reads my blog via their phone would see who I am and what other things I write without the bio. It’s not a problem for regular readers since they know who I am, but many new people find me via search engines (most often for questions about grief) and I want them to know about my grief book.

I could, of course, do a new bio every day if the bio really is the problem, but then I probably wouldn’t post something every day, either, because it would be too much extra work. I could also do several different bios and rotate so that the repetition comes once a week rather than every day, but my stubborn nature won’t let me be accommodating (though I did remove the link to my website, in case the links were the culprit).

And anyway, the bio itself might not be the problem. If it is, I’m grateful — it was the impetus to get me off Facebook, at least for now, and I must admit, I’m much happier living in my own little world without the contention and opinionation and strife that comes with the FB territory.

So, since I’m maintaining the current state of this blog, if you generally get my posts via email and you happen to notice that I have disappeared, please check your spam folder. I’m probably there.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

To Blog or Not to Blog

Every day we are faced with large decisions and small — decisions that make the difference between life and death, decisions that only make the difference between being lazy or productive. (Though who is to say that being lazy is unproductive. We often get our best ideas when we are lolling around, thinking of nothing.)

My decision each day is to write this blog. Most days, the choice is easy. I generally have no lack of things to say. But some days, like today, I have to coerce myself to write something. I have nothing to say, no new insights, no plans or hopes — just a blank “paper” on my computer, and yet, here I am, filling the blankness.

I could, of course, simply not write anything, but I’m one of those people who by default does what takes the least effort. Once I stop making the effortasking to write, once I break the infallibility of a daily blog, then it’s all over.

You dieters know what I’m talking about. When you go on a diet and then “accidentally” nibble on a cookie, you figure the whole day is a waste since you broke your diet, and so one by one those cookies disappear. If you’d never sampled the cookie, you’d still be on that diet. Or if you’d done the logical thing you’d still be on the diet — you’d have enjoyed the nibble and continued on as if you’re still on your diet, because you are. One nibble does not break a diet. It’s all those subsequent cookies that do the dirty deed. Even worse, once the diet is broken, it’s almost impossible to get back on it.

It’s the same thing with blogging. As long as I make an effort to write every day, I will continue to write every day. But if once I slack off, then it’s all over. First one day will pass, then another, because why not? The world wouldn’t end if I neglected to post my words. In fact, the world might even be a better place. But after not writing one day, then the next, I’d begin to think about it, wondering if I wanted to write. As the days passed, I’d even forget to ask if I want to blog, and gradually I’ll sink into wordlessness.

I’m sure that will happen someday. Just not today.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.