Category Archives: Blogging

I’m Not Blogging Right

I don’t think I’m blogging right. There’s lots of advice out there about how writers are supposed to blog and the importance of having a web presence and putting yourself out there and all that. And I think I’m doing it wrong.

And I don’t care.

They tell you you’re supposed to blog a lot. I don’t. I only posted once in January.

They tell you you’re supposed to at least blog consistently. I don’t. I posted once in January and now I’m going two days straight.

They tell you you’re supposed to have a personal brand, a niche, a specialty that you’re known for. I don’t. I write about whatever I feel like here, which means I’m all over the map. For goodness sake, I blog about when I turn on the heat every year.

They tell you you’re supposed to polish everything and put your best work forward. I don’t. I spend all day writing polished copy for clients and when it comes to my blog, some days I want to wing it.

They tell you to post at the same time and not post multiple posts at once. OK, I follow that bit of advice. But not because it builds a consistent audience with consistent content. I do it because I hate it when my RSS feed gets clogged with multiple posts from the same site. Too many posts in one day and I feel overwhelmed, like I can’t catch up. So I like to spread my posts out a bit if  I can.

They tell you you’re supposed to keep your site current, up to date and well designed. I don’t. Let’s face it, this site has no design. I haven’t even updated my company site in over a year. It doesn’t even list one of my newest and biggest clients.

(OK, not updating my company site is actually dumb. I’ve been meaning to do something about that, but it needs a complete redesign and I don’t have time [or energy] for that. Though every time I redesign that site I try to make it require less and less maintenance. At this rate I should just make a single page that requires zero updating. Ever. Hmm… tempting.)

They tell you you’re supposed to build a fan base. I don’t. I mean, I have Twitter followers and Facebook friends and RSS subscribers. I even have an email newsletter, but updates are rare. But I’m not trying to marshal this crowd of ‘Go Kevin’ people. I figure if people like my stuff they’ll follow somehow. I don’t need to constantly flood them with a steady barrage of ‘I’m So Awesome’ updates.

Maybe all that is naive. Maybe I’m squandering my potential. But I don’t care. I started my blog way back in 1998 for me. I still do it for me. I’ve learned that I can’t follow all that advice and still do it for me. If I start following all that advice then I’m doing it for someone else, and that doesn’t work. I mean, I love you folks who keep reading this crazy blog, but I think you understand that I’m not here to sing and dance for you.

This is my blog, my journal, my place to scratch out my thoughts, to try stuff, to rant, to yell, to piss and moan, to remember things and to fail. I’m not one of those people who’s all about me, but this place is all for me. And if that flies in the face of conventional social media guru wisdom, oh well.

One More E-mail Newsletter Plug

OK, one more e-mail newsletter plug. I just set up a fancy new e-mail newsletter (using MailChimp!) and you can subscribe here.

Why should you sign up? Good question.

1) I’m a firm believer that e-mail newsletters should offer something valuable. At the very least e-mail subscribers should get the inside scoop on what’s happening, before you splash it all over the YouTwitFaces of the world. I plan to give my e-mail subscribers the breaking news first. And I’ve got some news ready to break. I wouldn’t be opposed to throwing out a discount or two either.

2) You get a free prize for signing up. Now, I’ll be honest. It’s a free prize that’s publicly available on this site, so it’s not like it’s exclusive or anything. But I imagine a lot of folks have missed it. Here are a few unprompted responses from people who checked out the free prize:

  • “That is just awesome.  Thanks for sharing it.”
  • “This [free prize] is genius. Pure hilarious genius.”
  • “I just have to say…what a prize! Very cool idea. I’d elaborate, but I don’t want to post any spoilers for those who haven’t signed up yet.”

So there you go, a few real live responses from people who enjoyed their free prize for subscribing to the new e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe now.

I Have an E-mail Newsletter?

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, but I finally got it together and started an e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe here! I plan to send infrequent updates about some of my crazy projects. I promise you won’t get inundated with garbage and I won’t send you forwards from Nigeria. Unless they’re really good.

I have several methods of keeping people updated, from the very frequent (Twitter) to the kind of frequent (blog posts here, you can subscribe via RSS or e-mail). But for infrequent updates, I’ve usually just had to cobble together whatever e-mail addresses I have lying around and send out an update. It’s usually haphazard, it takes me forever, I get lots of failed addresses and its borderline spam (literally: I have to use my Gmail account because my provider won’t let me send a mass e-mail to that many people). So I thought for those rare times when I need to update the folks who don’t follow my updates religiously (so everyone but my wife and mom), I need a better system. Hence, my own e-mail newsletter. Wacky, I know. Plus it’s powered by MailChimp, so it’s got that going for it.

I’m hoping to put a little more creativity into this e-mail so it’s not just another medium to blast updates. I’d like to call it something better than “e-mail newsletter,” but so far setting it up has sapped my time and not left me with much creativity. But we’ll get there.

And what are these crazy projects I’m working on that I need to infrequently spread the word about? Oh, you’ll see. You’ll see. (But only if you subscribe, so you better do that.)

My Blogging Highlights from 2009

I’m a little bit slow with the 2009 recap, but it’s always fun to look back on the year and remember what happened. Here are a few highlights from 2009:

  • Philosophy of Profanity – I shared my philosophy of profanity, something I’ve formulated over the years and finally tried to express in blog form.
  • Nothing is Secret – Although it’s always been true, the Internet makes this painfully obvious. Integrity is the only response that makes sense.
  • You Can Change the World: Help People Find a Job – This has been a tough year and I’ve seen a lot of friends and family lose jobs. It underlines the importance of helping one another.
  • 25 Things About Billy Graham – I launched a blog about Billy Graham this year (and then promptly ignored it). These are the kinds of random, goofy posts I love to write.
  • Surviving the First Week – I sound pretty optimistic about surviving that first week with both kids all by myself. Silly me. I didn’t realize that survival mode would be my life for the foreseeable future.
  • Dependence Day – I’ve never been entirely comfortable with over-the-top displays of patriotism (especially in church), and this post is perhaps my best stab at explaining why.
  • Family Photo Shoot – This spring we ventured out to a farm in Western Wisconsin for a family photo shoot. That’s where the current image at the top of my blog came from.
  • Conference Week: Story & Cultivate – For the first time in five years of working in church marketing I actually attended not one but two church marketing conferences.
  • Homeless Advocate Mark Horvath – We were able to spend some time with the founder of InvisiblePeople.tv when he came through the Twin Cities on his 2009 road trip.
  • Lexi Does Johnny Cash: The Devil’s Right Hand – Best Lexi video of 2009.
  • Now That’s Funny: Christian Chirp – I explored the phenomenon of a Christian alternative to Twitter, with hilarious results.
  • Christians Demand Retailer Lip Service – I bemoaned the Christians who demand retailers pay our faith lip service.
  • The Yo-Yo Anniversary – My company gave away yo-yo’s to celebrate our five-year anniversary.

Two of the biggest highlights this year were traveling to Ethiopia to bring home Milo and celebrating my 30th birthday with clean water. Those two events deserve their own list of highlights.

Continue reading My Blogging Highlights from 2009

11 Years Ago Today

Eleven years ago today on Dec. 5, 1998 I started blogging. Last year I celebrated the one-decade milestone by releasing the first book I ever wrote: Mike, The Cat. Seems worth pointing to again. Check it out.

It’s always fun reminiscing about the years I’ve put into this blog. It’s kind of crazy to think about how long it’s been going. It’s changed quite a bit throughout the years, from incoherent to self-involved to whatever it is now. Though from the very beginning I started doing this for me. So if you don’t like it, too bad.

That’s probably the best part about blogging. If you have the right motivation, it can last 11 years. And counting.

And clearly this isn’t going to be one of those top 5 posts, so go ahead and check out Mike, The Cat. It at least has pictures.

Billyspot!: The Billy Graham Blog

Billyspot: The Unofficial Billy Graham BlogI finally did it: I started a Billy Graham blog. I’ve talked about this idea years ago, but I’m finally doing it.

It’s called Billyspot and it covers all things Billy Graham. It got started just before Christmas, so it’s definitely still in the infancy stage and has a long way to go. But for now the basics are there.

Why a Billy Graham Blog?
The big question, of course, is why write a blog exclusively about Billy Graham? There’s something engaging about Billy Graham that I find fascinating. He’s a world famous and highly respected evangelist. Consider the potential paradox of that statement for a moment: In a politically correct world he tells you that Jesus it the only way to salvation, and yet he’s still one of the most respected men in the world, a counselor to presidents.

It’s kind of amazing that a religious man can have that kind of near-universal acclaim. And I want to know how he does it. I want to know the behind-the-scenes stories. I want to know the theological questions that arise. I want to see the goofy things that inevitably come up around a man like that.

Hence, the Billyspot. I’ve talked a lot about Billy Graham in the past, I worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for two years, and I have a pile of Billy-o-bilia to serve as fodder. Here we go.

Seth Godin Defines Blogging: Drip, Drip, Drip

I love how Seth Godin explains blogging in this little nugget from an interview earlier this year:

“Blogging lets you drip ideas, bit by bit, to people who want to hear them. There are two crucial ideas in that sentence, so let’s unpack them.

“The dripping matters because that’s how people learn. Not in one hour chunks, but one little idea at a time. Do it for five years or more, every single day (as I’ve done on my blog) and you build trust and credibility and a body of work. The permission (“want to hear them”) is important because if no one is reading your blog, you’ll know. And then you can change it. And over time, you can earn the right to talk to a thousand and then ten thousand and then a million people.

“And isn’t that your mission?”

That drip, drip, drip of ideas is how the best of focused blogs work (which probably means this blog isn’t very focused). If you want to succeed at blogging you have to understand the importance of that tiny, consistent process of dripping.

10 Years of Blogging: Read Mike, The Cat

On Dec. 5, 1998 I started blogging with these inspiring words:

So I’ve decided to cement my daily thoughts in immortal type, and plaster them here on the world wide web for all to read. What kind of an idiot am I?

Ten years later, I’m still an idiot. In that time:

  • I’ve written 2,537 posts, which works out to an entry every one and a half days.
  • I’ve received approximately 2,700 comments. My banana allergy post is still the all-time winner with 263 comments. (And to be fair, I’ve only had commenting for five years.)
  • The blog has been hosted on five separate sites: Bethel, ReAL Magazine, Blogger, Monkey Outta Nowhere and now KevinDHendricks.com.
  • The blog has had four different names: Daily Ponderings, ReAL Thoughts, Thoughts and whatever the heck you want to call it now (Kevin D. Hendricks? Worst name yet.)
  • The blog has been powered by five different platforms: NotePad with straight HTML (shudder), Dreamweaver, Blogger, Movable Type and now WordPress.

To celebrate one decade of blogging I was going to comb through the archives and pull out some gems. But that’s a lot of work. Besides, nobody wants to read the introspective and completely incoherent ramblings of the early years, or sift through the years when I used only Simpsons quotes as entry titles, or have to struggle with the countless typos, botched em dashes and half-missing entries that come from switching platforms multiple times.

Mike the CatMike, The Cat
Instead I thought it might be fun to share my first ever book: Mike, The Cat. I’ve talked about the book before, but now I’ve made it available in PDF in all its terrible glory.

I wrote it in 1986, nearly 22 years ago, as a first grader at Scotch Elementary School. I hope you’ll forgive me for reveling in the past like this, but it seemed more entertaining than just digging up old entries.

Thanks
Thanks for reading my blog. I should give a shout out to Ben Tramm who inspired me to start blogging in the first place. Yes, you can blame him. I should also give a shout out to anyone who’s been brave enough to read along since the very beginning (fess up in the comments—we’ll get you some therapy).

It’s been a fun ride. Let’s see if this thing can survive another decade.

Is Blogging Dead?

Hard at WorkLast night I read a Wired magazine article about how Twitter, Facebook and Flickr have killed blogging. The article starts with this anti-blogging sentiment:

“Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.”

I’ve been blogging since 1998 (coming up on my 10-year anniversary!), so this is an interesting discussion for me. I definitely agree that Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and all the other content-publishing tools out there have changed the face of blogging. My own blogging has changed drastically since I began using Twitter.

But I don’t see the blog going away.

Continue reading Is Blogging Dead?

Disconnected

My blogging of late has felt a bit disconnected. Like I’m not fully communicating what I want to say, or at least not communicating it well. Maybe it’s more that I’m blogging just to get the ideas out and written down, rather than working on effectively communicating those ideas. That would make sense, as I feel like I’ve had a lot of thoughts and ideas lately that have slipped away without being captured in a blog post (not that all ideas need or should be blog posts, but many of them were ideas I wanted to share).

Bleh. I don’t like blogging like that. It’s not fun to read and it’s not much fun to write. I’ll see if I can find a bit more focus.