In 2010, Dan Pierce hit a low point in his life when his wife abruptly left him and his three year old son, Noah. Finding solace in writing, he started his blog, Single Dad Laughing—to vent, laugh and heal in the darkest of moments. Today, he is the author of the book, The Real Dad Rules and writes daily about his personal journey and adventures as a single father. See how Dan uses Pinterest to connect with readers, share stories of fatherhood, and find projects to do together with his son.
Hey Dan, tell us your story—about yourself, your son, and how you found blogging as an outlet as a single father?
The child I was holding in my arms when my second wife disappeared in a puff of tire smoke out of our lives forever was three years old. I had failed. Again. I felt worthless. I was worthless. I had been sure that my life was solid, and heading in an unbeatable and unbreakable direction with business, and family, and toys, and things. Suddenly, none of it meant anything.
Days later, in what seemed an impossible attempt to somehow laugh through that initial pain, I started my blog, Single Dad Laughing. I knew my son would be okay if he could see dad laughing again. Laughing had always been the place we’ve both escaped to together.
To laugh through the pain—no parent can teach their child a finer and more important gift than that. I knew my son. He’s strong. He’s intelligent. He’s sensitive. And he cherishes happiness. When I started my blog, I had no intention of ever turning it into a life or a career. That just kind of happened on its own. I only wanted to save my son from the gloom and sadness.
And, just as I knew it would, the power of writing did its trick. We both emerged whole. And we have been laughing together, just the two of us, ever since.
Your blog’s mission is to push forward greater thinking with experiences, perspectives, and laughs. How do you achieve this with your words?
People. They’re my favorite. The human mind is so complex and so incredibly deep that we don’t even know what we’re thinking and feeling most of the time. Not really. And if anything, our own thoughts often confuse us further, and send us further down the rabbit hole as we search for authenticity and happiness.
I have known the power of words for most of my life, and I have always believed that if I put my hands on a keyboard and write whatever words come flowing out of me, the truth I’m looking for will present itself. It’s doing it honestly that’s the hard part, but it is a skill I have learned and fallen in love with.
I have never tried to move the masses to think a certain way or act a certain way. I have always simply shared my own truths, and my own struggles, and my own frustrations, and my own victories. I have shared what makes me laugh, and I let the honest humor I see in most everything flow through to my writing. I believe that a man who fixes himself and shares that journey will do more to change the world than a man who tries to fix the world before he fixes himself.
To share my faults as well as my triumphs, and to share the unhealthy parts of me as much as the healthier ones, and to share the darkness and the light… it has given many others a safe place where they can come and give validation to those mountains of thoughts and emotions that they’ve always kept hidden or buried. Vulnerability from my readers is the greatest byproduct of an honest career as a writer.
What do you want your son to learn or experience from your writing as he grows older?
I don’t write in anticipation that my son will someday read my words. If he chooses to, great. I’ll never put my words in front of him. No, I write so that my son can have the best dad he can have. I write so that my son can have a dad who knows himself, who loves himself, and who accepts himself. I write so that I can understand my son, not so that my son can understand me. If I do it right, and I write the words that I need to write, my son will understand everything I have ever written simply by knowing me.
Your “Daily SDL” boards has a daily pin from your blog. How do you select these daily Pins and why do you think they’re useful for your readers?
Many of my followers come to my blog through Pinterest. Each day I create a pin on the Daily SDL Board with the title of the post, the teaser, and of course a link. Pinterest has been an incredible tool for sharing not just blog posts, but other things that fascinate me and are useful to me.
I like Pinterest because it gives my followers a taste of what makes me tick. It gives them a glimpse of a life outside of my words, outside of fatherhood, and outside of other forms of social media. Because I only post things on my boards that I really want to have access to in the future, I enjoy going through my own boards and I think that is why others have enjoyed it as well.
When I get on Pinterest, I usually get on it with a mission. Maybe I’ll have a bunch of ingredients and I want to figure out how to turn them into an amazing meal. Maybe I’ll get on searching for a fantastic core workout program to use in a contest. Maybe I’ll get on and look for projects that I can do with my kid to pass the time.
When I see an amazing board, I follow it. When I see an amazing pin, I repin it. And there is an endless flow of genius ideas that come from the genius people in this world. I love that.
What is one advice you have for parents in the same boat—or individuals that may have experienced a transition like you did?
My advice to any parent who is about to embark on that next phase of life, no matter what that phase is, is to laugh! I have to relearn this again and again. Laughter makes surviving everything possible. If you can laugh, you’ll find solutions to the things that overwhelm you. If you can laugh, you’ll never be buried with the stress and anxiety that often pursues. Laughter is power. Laughter is enlightenment. Laughter is cleansing. Use it, and use it often!