We’ve reached the end of another year my friends. It’s said, “Another year older is another year wiser.” Well, I’m not sure I’m any wiser than I was last year, but I definitely feel considerably older; a side effect of having a 35 pound ball of terror that is the Boy.
But, you know, for all the crap I give the Boy about how he’s clearly trying to ruin my life, I have to give him at least a small amount of credit, even if it kills me. Without his daily douche-baggery, there wouldn’t be any of the funniness I bring you on a regular basis. So, thanks….I guess.
I wasn’t planning on doing one of these Year in Review posts, but after talking with fellow writer friend a couple of weeks ago I had a change of heart. We were talking about where we would like to take our writing in 2015 and we could break away from the same ole same ole. I had a rare moment of being in the present and reminded that while we’re looking ahead, we shouldn’t look over or disregard all the awesome stuff that has happened this year, and take a moment to be proud of what we had accomplished in such a short time.
Then we sat there in silence for what felt like eternity because we both felt like we were in bizarro-world after my little nugget of positivity; I felt gross.
So I guess I’m going to get all positive again in this post and talk about my wins in 2014. Sorry, I know I promised you last time I wouldn’t do this again. So here is a list of my top moments (as a writer that is, because clearly my parenting list would consist of “I suck”) of 2014:
Papa Does Preach is born:
After hemming and hawing (or whining if you asked the Wife) about taking my writing more seriously for a while I decided to focus my ramblings on how awesome fatherhood can be. I was so excited to talk about how awesome my son is, and how there is nothing better than being a parent….but then I remembered my son is a toddler, and therefore is more d-bag than awesome, and as far as there being nothing better than being a parent; something about having bamboo shoots stuck under my fingernails comes to mind. But at least I found the direction I wanted my writing to go, so that’s a win.
The Papa Gets Schooled:
In June I went to my first ever blog conference. It was a conference called BlogU in Baltimore, MD. Seeing how that was pretty much right in my backyard, I decided that becoming murder victim #4 on The Wire was worth the risk and headed off to Maryland.
I’m really glad I went; If for no other reason I got a weekend away from having a toddler all in my face. The conference was an awesome wealth of information. I met so many talented writers, including some top-level bloggers that I have been reading and following for years. The best part of the conference was that I really was able to come out of my shell and get to know people; it didn’t hurt that I was the only guy among easily 175 women who all wanted to talk to the one dad blogger who came to the conference. My outfit for the conference prom was a hit too.
The Papa Gets Published and Gets Some Air Time:
After the great experience of BlogU I set a goal to get published on the Huffington Post. Two of the main editors spoke at BlogU and said they were excited to have so many voices in the blogosphere and were looking forward to publishing new writers. I wrote and wrote,but nothing was getting picked up. I watched as so many of my BlogU friends were getting picked up left and right. I began to get discouraged, but I kept plugging away. When the Ray Rice domestic abuse incident, and the victim blaming that followed, I wrote a piece confronting this kind of abuse and questioning how blaming the victims will affect our future sons and husbands. That was the piece that finally broke through. I was over the moon excited when I finally got the call that Huffington Post Parents wanted to publish my work. The Ray Rice piece along with another blog I wrote discussing my views on spanking, also picked up by Huffington Post, led to an invitation to be an on-air guest for HuffPost Live to discuss similar topics.
The Papa Stands Up for Dads and Pisses People Off in the Process:
After being published on the Huffington Post as well as a couple of other minor publications, I started receiving a little bit of attention, and while it felt great to have my writing being read and appreciated, it did nothing to prepare me for what was about to come my way.
In Mid-October I read a blog post on ScaryMommy.com that completely degraded men/dads by portraying them as mindless/useless imbeciles when it came to the labor process of their children. Of course they tried to hide behind the fake vail of satire. To say I was offended would be putting it mildly. I tried to reach out to them (one writer to another) and explain these kind of mean-spirited jokes at the expense of fathers was harmful, but I was rebuffed and pretty much told dads should get over it. So instead of just getting over it I decided the best way answer such an insult would be to write about it and share it with my small, but growing, audience.
The post I wrote answering ScaryMommy’s insults towards dads caught fire like I never expected. I received a ton of feedback on the post, some negative, but the majority of the comments were overwhelmingly positive, and mainly coming from moms saying they were tired of husbands/fathers portrayed in negative ways. The post was shared by so many other bloggers and received so much attention my blog numbers shot through the roof. The post continued to thrive throughout the month being republished on many other sites like Huffington Post and BLUNTmoms just to name a few, but when I received word that The Good Men Project wanted run my piece I was truly speechless. Being on The Good Men Project had been a major goal of mine when I started taking my writing more seriously prior to the BlogU conference. I was also included in an article written by one of the editors sharing positive birth stories from dads.
The Papa Finds A Lot of Love on the Internet:
And lastly, but certainly the most important part of my 2014 is all of you. I started PapaDoesPreach.com, along with the Facebook fan page and Twitter account back in May of 2014 (just 8 short months ago) and they have all steadily grown every month. In the early months I was so obsessed with numbers and worried constantly about competing with other pages and their number of “likes” and followers, but now I realize having a few very dedicated fans who interact and share my work is way more valuable than having large numbers and little interaction. That’s not to say I don’t want to grow people, so keep sharing me with your friends!
A Few Quick Shout Outs:
I’ve made some really cool connections over the past few months, and many have turned into real friends. Friends that understand my humor, my art, my need to express myself, and most of all we all share in the same struggle to get our work seen. Everyone has been super supportive and encouraging, and I suggest you read and follow all the people I’m about to list:
Jessica over at Welcome to the Bundle – has been a huge supporter of mine from the start. For some odd reason this talented/kick-ass writer enjoys my drivel and continues to sing my praises and share my writings with her audience. And I didn’t even pay her to do it either. Trust me when I tell you, she’s so funny and talented, Tina Fey better watch out.
Ashley from Big Top Family – what’s not to love about Ashley? She’s hilarious, a talented writer, and easily one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She even invited me to her big 40th birthday bash over back in October. This Dorito loving lady has shared my posts with her audience on multiple occasions and has been a supportive advocate of the last year. I’m so grateful to know her. If I keep working hard maybe one day I can make her list of Blogs the Ringleader Loves (wink wink).
Teri from Snarkfest – Teri is one of the funniest I’ve ever met. When I tried to sneak into BlogU unnoticed by any of the ladies (because that was totally possible with being the only dude there) Teri spotted me and said out loud, “HEY!! You’re the dude! You look just like your profile picture.” I owe a good deal of thanks for many of my awesome FB followers to Teri. It seems our sense humors are very compatible. Plus, look at the awesome prom photo we took together at BlogU; how could we not be besties after this?!?
Vicky from The Pursuit of Normal – Vicky (like me) is a native San Diegan. We met with literally only a few minutes left at BlogU. While everyone was nursing different levels of hangovers from the party the night before, and lamenting our rapidly ending kidless statuses, we shared good conversation over coffee. Vicky was the first blogger to share me with her audience and has been a huge supporter of mine.
The Dad from Dad and Buried – last but not least, this guy. Long before I decided to even start talking about my a-hole kid, I found this guy’s blog. His rants about his son, other parents, and self-deprecating jokes helped me get through the first year with my son, which was super rough (no joke). I’ve gotten to know DaB via back and forth over social media. I’ve reached out to him with questions from time to time, or when looking for advice. With his knowledge and experience he’s become like the blog version of Mr. Miyagi to my young Daniel, which brings me to two conclusions; #1, I watch way too many movies, and #2, I seriously need to aim higher the next time I go looking for a mentor, lol j/k. But in all seriousness, DaB has been a huge help pointing me in the right direction when navigating the crowded waters of dad blogging.
Well, this certainly turned into a much longer post than I intended. Thank you all for the awesome 2014; I’m super excited for what’s to come in 2015, and beyond.