This is a different type of post. I may link to other posts and articles to share what they have to say but overall this is my thoughts and beliefs about the current state of blogging. It’s not a rant… well, not really anyway. It’s more of a manifest statement, a stream of unconsciousness that’s either true or not for everyone else… but definitely true from where I’m sitting.
First, let’s talk about why I think I’m qualified to write about such a thing. By some standards I can’t even call myself a professional blogger. I don’t write from the perspective of someone who’s made a lot of money from blogging. I certainly haven’t worked on making blogging a career. Continue reading →
Our friend Peter asked an interesting question in one of his comments. His question was where I find the inspiration for all these posts and newsletters that I do. I guess it’s because I have a large output for all my blogs and my one newsletter, and of course all the writing I do for other people here and there.
I find inspiration in many places. Almost anything could spark an idea for writing a blog post. Even visiting other blogs or reading news stories or seeing what’s going on via Twitter or Facebook can spark something. And sometimes it’s a comment, like this post. Let’s take a look at my previous 10 posts on this blog to see where I got the inspiration from; I’m not going to link to them, just so you know.
I wrote about evaluating when to end something because I was reading another one of those blog posts where it was recommended to never give anything up because success is just around the corner. I had just a couple of weeks earlier stopped writing one of my newsletters because I realized I didn’t have what it took to write it anymore, and thus I felt what I was reading was contrary to what I was doing, and so I wrote about it.
I wrote about the song We Are the World because I was walking on the track at the gym listening to my MP3 player and it came up and I got chills listening to it. The impact was still strong when I got home, and there you go.
I wrote a Sunday post on cravings because I’ve been having a lot of them. I had just days earlier started a new metabolic eating plan that I’m being evaluated on, and I had been craving chocolate almost nonstop.
I wrote a post on the Count Per Day plugin because on one of the blogs I write for they had it, and I tested it to see how it compared to Analytics and wrote my thoughts on it all.
I wrote a post on blogging and Twitter because of a local event that showed just how fast news, good or bad, can spread based on a blog post and its popping up on Twitter, and how a business can either be ruined or have a chance to save their reputation.
I wrote a post on simple answers to what seems to be difficult problems because I’d just gone through two things, one literally a couple of days earlier, where I’d done a lot of work for nothing.
I wrote a post on the things a blog should have because of a comment someone left asking about it. Then the next day I wrote a post on the administrative area of WordPress because I had just helped a friend of mine set up a new blog, and she looked inside it and was really confused over what she saw.
I wrote the next Sunday post on trust because it’s the political season, and thus all those political commercials are on TV these days. It’s interesting how much we all hate them because they’re so mean, yet these people keep putting that trash on, and thus we don’t trust them because we know they could care less about us and are only in it for their own reasons.
And finally I wrote about the components of a newsletter because my friend has been thinking about writing one and kept asking me about length, images, etc, and it seemed like a good idea to write a post about it in case someone else had been wondering.
And there you go. See, it doesn’t take a lot to determine what to write a blog post about, even if I were writing a niche blog. Of course, this is the fun blog, so I write more posts on this one than the others. Inspiration really doesn’t have to be hard most of the time; all you have to do is pay attention to what’s going on, what people are saying to you, and of course your own feelings.
To say that I admire Marelisa Fàbrega’s blog and her writing style would be an underestimation of the esteem I hold for her. I don’t know when I discovered her blog Daring To Live Fully, which she started in April 2008, but I know I love the way she blogs and share her posts whenever I can. If you’re not reading this blog regularly, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, especially if you want to learn how to be positive. I’m so proud that she has accepted my request for an interview, and, if you’ve seen other interviews on this blog, you’ll notice that she has totally different questions to answer. She’s unique; we deserved to learn something different.
1. What was it that led you into blogging?
About five years ago I worked as a labor attorney for the agency that runs the Panama Canal. One day I was talking to one of the canal pilots, and he mentioned that he was reading a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki. The book sounded really interesting, so I ordered a copy through Amazon. I read the book, and I really liked Kiyosaki’s definition of wealth, which is being able to pay all of your expenses from passive sources of income.
At the time, all of my income came from the salary I was making as an attorney. I started thinking of different ways in which I could earn passive income, and I decided to start a web site. On the web site I offered several personal development products for which I’m an affiliate (products which I use and love). I started the blog as a way to draw traffic to my web site. As I wrote more and more blog posts, and started getting good amounts of traffic and comments from readers, I really started to enjoy blogging. Now I blog for several different reasons: because it’s a source of passive income; because it’s a creative outlet for me (I love writing); because I learn and grow with each post that I write; and because I feel that I’m helping others to get more out of life.
2. You have an interesting background, especially the law degree. But you seem to do many other things. Tell us about yourself and what led you in another direction?
I’m from the Republic of Panama, which is where I currently live, and I’ve also lived in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the US, Egypt, England, and Italy. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., as well as a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.
I think that you need to be constantly looking out for any opportunities lying on the horizon, and then choose among those opportunities based on what you think you’ll most enjoy doing, and what will give you the most satisfaction. The Internet is a fantastic opportunity: you can be a one-man or a one-woman operation anywhere on earth, and you can have access to the world and make yourself look huge. I’m still doing some law work, but I’m looking for ways to spend more time and energy building a strong online presence.
3. Your posts are quite deep and thought-provoking; how long does it take you to research your posts before you start writing?
When I start reading about a topic which I find interesting, I always want to know more. I do research until I feel like I have a good grasp of the subject matter, and that I have two or three very useful “takeaways” for my readers. That is, I’m not looking to just add to my readers’ knowledge-base. Instead, I want to offer them concrete action-steps that they can take to improve their lives. Sometimes I get there after an hour of research. Other times I do research for three or four hours. As an attorney, doing research is second nature to me.
4. You’ve gone against the grain in writing long, yet beautiful posts. What led you to write in that manner, and how would you compare it to the so-called experts who say posts shouldn’t be more than 400 words?
I’ve read in several different places that you should write one or two short posts a day. However, I tend to write two or three long posts a week. I think that the key to blogging well, and the key to life in general, is to be yourself and to do what feels right for you. One of the things that differentiates my blog is precisely that I try to cover topics in depth.
In addition, I pay a lot of attention to the quality of my writing, even though I’ve read that people just skim blogs looking for ideas and don’t pay much attention to the writing. I want to give my readers a rich, positive, quality experience each time that they read one of my blog posts. I guess, in a way, I want “Abundance Blog” to be to blogs, what Rolex is to watches (without the hefty price tag).
5. Do you generate any significant income through your blog and other websites, or is most of your income generated offline?
There’s a steep learning curve to making money online; it’s certainly not easy. One of the objectives for my blog and my other online activities is to earn passive income, as I said earlier in this interview. I’m already doing that. Now I just plan to gradually keep setting higher goals for myself in terms of how much passive income I make online. In the meantime, I do generate income offline.
6. I follow you on Twitter and it seems like you pretty much write from anywhere; is my perception correct?
I write mainly from my home office. I also write from a club I belong to that has a pool overlooking the ocean. I can sit there all day and write. Then, when I want to take a break, I can watch the fishermen in their tiny boats, and the cruise ships and container ships waiting in line to transit through the Panama Canal.
7. How many books have you written, and where do you find the time to write so much?
I’ve written one eBook so far, How to Be More Creative, A Handbook for Alchemists. It’s a guide to living a more creative life, and I’m happy to say that it’s gotten a lot of very positive reviews. I’m also in the process of writing another eBook which should be ready soon: “How to Live Your Best Life –The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List.” The second eBook is going to help people create a bucket list—a list of all the things they want to do before they die–, as well as give them tips, tools, and resources so that they can get out there and achieve their life goals.
How do I find the time to write so much? One of the topics I write about on my blog is productivity, and I try to follow my own advice. 🙂
8. You use Disqus on your blog, and as you know, I’m an opponent of that and other services like it. How do you find it works for you overall?
I like Disqus because I feel that it makes my blog more interactive. For example, people can share their comments on Twitter and other social networking sites. In addition, once you create a Disqus account it’s really easy to leave a comment on any other blog that uses Disqus.
9. Your blog is well respected in the blogging community; you’re always showing up on some list I come across, and I even included your blog on one of my top lists. How do you feel about the accolades?
I love it when my blog is mentioned by others, whether it’s by linking to one of my posts or by including me in a list of “top” blogs. I get people leaving comments on my blog all the time letting me know that they just recommended “Abundance Blog” to their readers, or that they linked to something I wrote, and I just get a huge smile on my face every time I read that. It makes me feel like people enjoy and appreciate what I write, and that’s a great feeling.
10. What three short recommendations could you give to people who feel like they’re struggling with both their blogs and their life?
I would tell people to make happiness their number one goal in life, and that happiness is a choice. In addition, happiness is a state of mind, so it’s something that you can have access to at any moment, regardless of what might be going on around you at any given moment. Also, you need to persevere. The people who get what they want in life are those who know what they want, who keep their eye on the ball, and who keep taking the necessary steps to get there, no matter what.
Once again, I thank Marelisa for this interview, which I hope all of you read, then follow back to her blog. You’ll be a better person for it.