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The Worst of Raptitude, Vol. 1

face palm

Four time-dishonored Raptitude flops

Since this blog’s inception ten months ago, I’ve managed to write one to three articles a week, even if the inspiration fairy isn’t always around when I need her. Though I’ve ducked a few of my self-imposed deadlines since I’ve gone mobile, just about each week I have managed to post something that I think is somewhat worthwhile to someone out there.

Sometimes I feel good about a piece, sometimes not so good. Some posts spark a big discussion or a flood of traffic, and others just casually slip into obscurity, with a handful of polite but underwhelming comments. I’ve noticed that there is virtually no relationship between how I think an article will do and how well it is actually received.

There are times when I’ve got an interesting idea but I just can’t get it across clearly. Other times, I just can’t get at what I want to get at under the day’s time constraints, so I have to wrap it up by making a smaller and less interesting point that I had planned. As a reader you may not realize how often the post you’re reading is actually a second thought. And of course there are times when a post flops for no conceivable reason.

Every blogger knows what it feels like to have even a rather half-baked posts go virtually unnoticed. It’s a bit sad, because we know that a blog post doesn’t have much to live for if its debut doesn’t go well. Blog posts live and die in a very cruel and unforgiving environment; the blogging world is all about what’s freshest. Individual posts generally don’t get a lot of time in the spotlight; day or two or three, and then their chance at stardom is virtually gone.

Well I’m going to give four of these underperforming sad-sack posts a second chance, because you aren’t likely to StumbleUpon them or find them on Twitter any time soon. I’ll warn you now that I have to talk them up a little bit; their confidence has been shattered. If you’re feeling extra generous you can give them a Tweet or a Stumble — a little gesture of kindness to help them recover from their crushed dreams of hitting it big.

How to Keep Life Fresh, For Free

Ah, this is still one of my favorites. This concept still blows my mind, though I don’t think I quite got the point across fully. The writing style is a bit weak. I was thrilled with it at the time though, and it wasn’t until I wrote this one that I had convinced myself that I did indeed have something fresh to offer the blogging world.

This one actually had a very good reason for not doing so well. It was the second post I ever wrote, and I think my Mom and Nadia were my only readers at the time. Its title isn’t exactly clickworthy, either.


How to Improve Your Quality of Life by 90 Percent

Another early one, so the lack of traffic was to be expected, but I have to say I was disappointed that nobody seemed to really like it. There was a bizarre debate that sprung up by one blogger who seemed intent on kindly ripping it to pieces. I think you can still find a rebuttal on his blog. I was flattered.

I think the list of rituals in this post is hilarious and full of possibility. I still use this technique every single day and it keeps me grateful and easygoing.

The title is rather stupid, I wish I could do it over. The math doesn’t even make sense really. At the time I was brainwashed by Copyblogger’s doctrine about using “How To” titles with specific number values in them, and I went too far with it.


The Highest of Arts

This one’s failure baffled me a little. It turned out pretty much  like I planned. I still consider it to be the cornerstone topic for Raptitude. I came home after a disastrous workday and still managed to throw together what I thought was a solid effort, but only a small group of my most loyal readers commented on it. It has not received many views, never found any traction in any social media forum. It just sat on the front page for three days, and got pushed down the page by the next one. Intended to be a pillar article, all but dead in three days. Tragic!


People and Fire

This one was at least partially a victim of technical difficulties. For the first eight hours of this post’s life, my website kept reloading every two seconds, so you could never read it unless you stopped your browser at the right time. I ended up doing the post over again the next day, and lost the few comments that were there. It worked okay after that, but never really recovered.

I really like this post. It makes me feel warm inside. Go warm yourself by the fire.


Well there you have it; the tired, poor, huddled blog posts left out in the cold by a cruel system that always demands more, more more. There’s nothing I can do but keep sending my children out into this world, even though some will get eaten alive. Nevertheless, I am a proud parent.


Photo by Alex E. Proimos

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Vivienne Grainger January 14, 2010 at 4:14 am

Odd that these should both have been “flops,” as it was “The Highest of Arts” that got me to sign up in the first place, and while I did not remember the name, “People and Fire” was a post I read with intense pleasure, and have kept with me since. I wouldn’t call them failures, David, I would call them underappreciated miracles.

David January 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I was being a bit facetious. No they aren’t really failures, they just didn’t find the same warm welcome many other (perhaps lesser) posts did. It gives me intense pleasure that you found People and Fire to be intensely pleasurable.

“Miracles” is a bit much! ;)

pdogge January 14, 2010 at 10:38 am

Enough introspection…action is the magic word

David January 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm


You lost me

Avi January 14, 2010 at 11:29 am

How to Keep Life Fresh for Free, a flop? It’s one of my favorite Raptitude posts! I’m not sure how often I think about it, but at least once a week. And the one about rituals is also one of my favorites. It’s ironic that you call them flops when they are among the few Raptitude posts I could think of off the top of my head – another is ‘freedom is the choice to do what is right.’

David January 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Ah I’m glad they’ve found permanent residence in your head Avi. ‘Flop’ is a word that refers to popularity, not so much merit. I wanted to give these ones another go-round.

Emily January 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Aaw, I love this post! Didn’t it take some courage to call four of your posts failures (even if you don’t regard their content as such)? I’ve never seen a post like this one on a blog before, and I actually find your honesty really inspiring. :-)

David January 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Thanks Emily. You many have noticed, it’s only Volume 1. I love the title “Worst of Raptitude.” I’ll do this every year.

Patty - Why Not Start Now? January 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm

It was interesting to read those posts, David. Since I didn’t discover you until last fall, they were all new (and enjoyable) to me. I did notice an evolution in your style and your writing, but were they really failures? I mean, aren’t they an example of what you write about so well – part of your own journey of being human?
.-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..In the Hallway of Transition =-.

David January 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Nah, like I said, I was kind of joking. But when you sink four or five hours into a post it’s kind of a bummer to receive an unusually low amount of feedback. I’m so vain :(

Anthony Morris January 14, 2010 at 11:33 pm

I thought this was also kind of funny since I’ve also read each of these posts. I must apologize because for whatever reason I didn’t think my opinion mattered much here. I figured Raptitude was more about you teaching your lessons for whatever reasons you had and not so much about the sharing and little community which you seem to want it to be! In that case I’m going to continue to read every post, as well as comment when I have something to say!

David January 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Hi Anthony. Haha, no worries, you have no obligation to comment or read any more than you do. This post was my subtle way of revealing the creeping insecurities of blogging. I would like to think that I don’t judge myself against the opinions of others, but it’s a very human thing to do and I don’t know anybody who doesn’t do it at all.

Josh Hanagarne January 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm

This is such an awesome post. If it makes you feel any better, my flops have actually been flops, while yours have been merely less-superior. But I do agree that I never know quite how things are going to be received when I push publish. One of my most (I thought) clever pieces resulted in an avalanche of hate mail.

David, when your failures are everyone else’s A game, there are worse problems to have. Now get back to writing 97 ways to increase your humanityness by 13%.
.-= Josh Hanagarne´s last blog ..How To Get People To Read Your Blog By Crushing Them Utterly With The 48 Laws Of Power =-.

David January 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Haha… thanks Josh. You are a master complimenter.

I think hate mail is always a good sign though. I am proud of each piece of hate mail I’ve received

LeeShand January 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

I hadn’t read any of these. I am so glad you reposted them. Excellent and wonderful, just what I needed.

David January 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Aha! My ploy worked. People are reading my forgotten posts suddenly. :)

Nadia - Happy Lotus January 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Hi David,

This is a nice walk down memory lane. I remember that post (“How to Keep Life Fresh, For Free”) and all the others.

The great thing about blogging the more we write, the better we become. No one is born knowing everything. We learn stuff one step at a time. Experience is gained with each try.

Hope all is awesome and Happy New Year! :)

David January 17, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Good to hear from you Nadia. You were actually there right from the beginning. And I’m not even related to you! I was thrilled to see your comment, and I still am.

Happy New Year to you too. All is well of course, and I’m sure it is with you.

Delias Hozzlethorn January 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm

So this is like a clip show of your articles, LETS GO JETS!!!

Nate St. Pierre January 26, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I love this concept, David. And the facepalm? YES!

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