Author Topic: Thoughts on Blogging?  (Read 9042 times)

DebtDerp

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Thoughts on Blogging?
« on: January 15, 2013, 07:01:56 PM »
Hey all,

I am in the process of turning my life around and taking control of my finances! I have a large mountain of student debt that needs to be face punched into oblivion and I am about to begin that process (came here via NMHD). I have also taken MMM's many other suggestions to heart and am reforming other areas of my life. But, I don't want my current drive to make these big changes to diminish in the coming months. I want to keep the changes coming and to be happier and healthier as I see many of you are.

With that said, I have noticed many of the regular's around here blogging about their lives or various other topics. I'm thinking this may be a great tool that I can use to keep myself going. I think by having my progress, my successes and my failures set in the stone of the internet will help to keep me honest with myself and give me the drive to keep going.

I'm wondering from those that blog on a regular basis: Why do you do it? Is it a tool to you? Do you use it as a journal? Are you doing it to spread your knowledge to the internets? Whats your drive?

Do you find that it works to keep you going? Do you see an accomplishment that you have blogged about as a driving factor in moving onto the next one?

I only want to start blogging if I can use it as a self-reinforcing tool to keep driving positive change in my life. So I'm just wondering if others have found success with this.

Other questions:
Do you try to set a schedule when to update your blog?
What is your inspiration?
Has it really impacted your life and how you make decisions going forward?

Thanks!

WhatMomWears

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 08:27:38 PM »
I am a new blogger so can only tell you from a month's experience.
I started blogging to keep myself honest on some life changes (not resolutions) I wanted to make for 2013. I have found that if I just wrote things down in a journal, I didn't keep to the changes I wanted to make. I was only responsible to myself and that wasn't enough pressure on me. I have found that I'm really relearning how to write. Those creative writing classes are coming back, slowly, but they're coming back. I post on a variety of things in regards to my life, from food and recipes to chickens to motherhood and how I'm doing on those changes I'm trying to make. A lot about food actually. I like food.
I have written something every day so far though I don't see that continuing in the future, sometimes it's hard to find the time to write. I have a Blogger app on my phone so I can write drafts on it which is very handy.
I think it's been a very good thing to start - it's helped to keep me honest. Having things so out there in a public forum definitely holds me to my goals. Though I've fallen off The Compact this month rather badly...I got into card making and had all the start up costs of a new, expensive, hobby. Sigh. But that's the point of a blog, you keep going, we're only human.

Nords

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 09:10:28 PM »
With that said, I have noticed many of the regular's around here blogging about their lives or various other topics. I'm thinking this may be a great tool that I can use to keep myself going. I think by having my progress, my successes and my failures set in the stone of the internet will help to keep me honest with myself and give me the drive to keep going.
I'll answer your questions below, but I want to avoid sharing false hope.  Here's the tough-love answer that you can get when you ask writers about writing:
"Writing is easy.  All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."  (Hemingway)
"Five pages a day."  (Robert B. Parker's writing goal for over 50 years)
"If you have to ask whether you're a writer, then you're not."  (attributed to Erma Bombeck)

"If you're a blogger then you wouldn't be asking all these questions.  You'd be signing up for a free WordPress account and mucking around with their cool stuff." (Me)

I'm wondering from those that blog on a regular basis: Why do you do it? Is it a tool to you? Do you use it as a journal? Are you doing it to spread your knowledge to the internets? Whats your drive?
I started blogging as a tool to market a book that was being published eight months later, which in retrospect turned out to be the "wrong" order.  My blog evolved from a marketing tool into a better way to communicate with the readers... and a fantastic way to gather material for the next book.

My drive is that I have to write.  I can't stop, I don't want to, and people have given up trying to change my behavior.  I enjoy explaining complex topics with simple words, and then playing with the words for interesting effects (mostly snark or humor).  I've been doing it since third grade.

A beneficial side effect is that when I write, I have to truly understand what the heck I'm writing about.  For example the process of achieving financial independence is rather straightforward, even boring.  But it's far more challenging to explain the concept to people, and then motivate them, and then help them overcome their obstacles to success.  I'm a retired submariner, so I like this Saint-Exupery quote: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

The biggest "problem" with writing is staying focused on the task.  In my case it was following the book outline and having readers edit my drafts.  If I didn't puke out a chapter every few months, I'd have readers asking my "Hey, Nords, how's the book going?"  That public accountability kept me on track. 

Do you find that it works to keep you going? Do you see an accomplishment that you have blogged about as a driving factor in moving onto the next one?
I only want to start blogging if I can use it as a self-reinforcing tool to keep driving positive change in my life. So I'm just wondering if others have found success with this.
I'm not sure what you mean by "it works to keep you going".  I get a kick out of seeing the hit counter go up, but that hedonic treadmill adjusts pretty quickly.  What really gets me going is having a thought about something and then realizing that it'd make a great blog post.  Instead of using a financial journal to track your goals, you might prefer a more visual method like Planwise or ReadyForZero.

I know that writers use journals to figure out what inspires them-- or at least makes them more effective.  I've never made the time to keep a journal.  It's a great diagnostic tool for solving problems, though, and I'd recommend it for anyone seeking perspective on their life or trying to figure out what triggers their emotions or behavior.  I used to log my sleep habits and my eating habits, but once I figured out the triggers & solutions then I stopped logging.

Other questions:
Do you try to set a schedule when to update your blog?
What is your inspiration?
Has it really impacted your life and how you make decisions going forward?
After considerable research plus my own trial & error, I've learned to write first thing in the morning.  Stumble out of bed (my head buzzing with thoughts), use the bathroom, make a cup of tea while the computer's booting, admire the morning sky while I'm sitting down, and then start writing.  20 minutes, and then I'll take an Internet break.  The reality is that "just 20 minutes" keeps me going for an hour or more, and eventually I'll stop to make breakfast.

Conventional blogging wisdom used to be to publish on a regular schedule, but that was way back when people had to go to your blog to read your posts.  RSS feeds have eliminated that requirement.  Bloggers still think that readers have better things to do during Friday through Monday (work or liberty), so the most popular posting days are Tuesday through Thursday.  Blogs with a staff of writers may publish 5-15 posts per week.  I compromise with a short Monday post and a long Thursday one.  I also do Guest Post Wednesday.

Being a published author has had a profound impact on me.  Some days I still have trouble believing it, other days I decide that the bar is just not very high.  Publishing makes me want to do it again, and maybe once more after that.  We'll see.  I also get a great feeling when a reader tells me how I helped them solve a problem.  That hedonic treadmill hasn't flattened out yet.

As for decisions, blogging has made me more aware of the emotional aspects of investor psychology and personal behavior.  I think I have a more nuanced view of why we do the dumb things we do, and I'm a fan of simplifying our lives to limit our opportunities to do more dumb things.

Hey, waddyaknow:  I think I just wrote a blog post. 

http://the-military-guide.com/2011/12/12/update-to-just-write-it/
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/12/24/beginners-guide-to-part-time-blogging-for-money/

arebelspy

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 10:38:21 PM »
I think most bloggers do it because they think it will make them money. (Present company - MMM readers - included.)

They hear the words "passive income" and think blogging is one way to achieve it.  They hear of sites like Pat Flynn's SPI and read a few posts and see one of his income reports and hope it's their path to FI.

The truth: It's work.  It pays very little.

IMO, if your reason is to have a place to track your progress and motivate yourself, there's no reason not to post a "journal" type thread on whatever forum fits you best (for ER-types that may be here, ERE, or the early-retirement.org forums .. For someone posting progress on their car restoration project that may be a totally different site).  A blog is overkill for that, and less likely for you to keep updating, IMO, than a journal where you can interact a lot more.
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Bryallen

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 04:51:49 AM »
Hello!

I have been blogging for a little over a year now. I originally started when I was on a steep learning curve, just like you. For example, it was the first time I'd ever heard of an Emergency Fund! I started as a way of recording what I'd learnt and hopefully sharing with others.

Why do I still blog? I like sharing ideas with others and receiving interesting and useful comments. I write articles about topics that are interesting / frustrating to me at the time, usually with a personal twist on things. (For example, my last post was debating the pros and cons of getting rid of my car, inspired by Mustachian living!). I don't really use it as a journal though - I don't tend to write "Today I did this and this" types of posts.

What keeps me going? I just enjoy doing it. I know there are ways of making money from blogs, and I do have a couple of Google Adsense ads, but even though I have recently been getting 15,000 views a month, I have only made about £4 each month! (Total since September 2011: ~£100). So the money is definitely NOT a good reason to start!

You can definitely use blogging as a tool for yourself. People like to read about other people's progress/successes/failures. Make sure you read other people's blogs to see what sort of things you like to read.

I don't have a set schedule, but I do like to update it twice a week at least.

One last benefit: I am a PhD student and have to write a lot of reports, both in a scientific style and in a way that the general public could understand. I have found that blogging has noticeably improved my ability to write in different ways, and explain things in a way that is easy to understand.

shadowmoss

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 08:19:11 AM »
I've had a personal blog since around 2005.  I started on LiveJournal, then moved to Blogger since most of the blogs I wanted to comment on at that point needed a blogger ID if they had disabled Anonymous comments.  I'm wanting to move again, but haven't put in the effort to put it on my own domain.  I started because I was running around with a group of young(er) geeks who all had blogs and it was a fun way to join in the conversation.  I had a learning curve as I found my 'voice'.  Once I moved to Blogger I ended up with a slightly larger audience, and there are some folks I have now met face to face and I consider them friends.  I will say that my on-line self is much nicer than my in-person self.  I have never monetized my blogs, and I don't intend to.  For me, that would make it too much like work.  I post when I feel like it.  I recently went almost 2 weeks because I just plain didn't have anything to say.

My blog has impacted my life a lot.  It lets my in-person friends keep up with me while I'm working in flar flung places like Honduras as I am now.  That helps keep the friendships current as we don't need to spend a lot of time catching up when we do see each other, and keeps me connected in all the small details of shared life.  If my blog is getting too boring (an on-going issue for me) I know my life is getting too boring and complacent.  Like now.  :)  A Blogosphere friend had as a quote something along the lines of 'how we spend our days is how we spend our lives' and when all I can say I've done is clean house and do laundry I ask myself if that is how I want to spend my life.  The answer, in case there is any doubt, is no, I want to do more than that.  The blog lets me check my life to see how I'm doing.

After so long it is also a good way to see where my mind was back in different times, just how the heck did I end up where I am now, what parts do I miss, what parts am I blessed to have left behind.  All there in pixels.  And with a time stamp.  The time stamp thing is powerful.  Wow, was that really 5 years ago when that happened?  Seems like yesterday!  I'd better get a move on to finish whatever that was.  And so forth.

All this from just a personal blog about 'nothing'.  And, to keep me honest:  http://shadowmoss.blogspot.com/

maryofdoom

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 08:43:57 AM »
I run a Tumblr blog devoted to my favorite hobby (needlework) and all it does is feature pictures of awesome needlework with enthusiastic commentary, three times a day. Tumblr is a great lightweight blogging platform and its queue system allows me to stack up a ton of posts for when I go on vacation, life gets busy, or I can't find anything to post. (I don't post items that are for sale and some days, that's all I can find in my tracked tags, so I rely on the queue a lot.)

This blog is clearly not a record of things that I have accomplished or anything like that - it has very little writing. You've already gotten a lot of good writing advice from everyone else in this thread. The thing I would emphasize is that if you want anyone else to read and enjoy your blog, post consistently.

If you're just blogging for yourself, and you don't care if anyone else reads it, then you can post as often or as infrequently as you like. But if you want an audience, you need to post consistently. Daily is fine, though it can be tough to come up with new stuff every single day. Writing a bunch of posts before you need them can be really helpful, even if you end up writing something new - old banked posts can give you good ideas.

Daley

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 09:06:11 AM »
There's very little additional I can add to what's already been said, other than echoing some of what has been.

If you're looking for accountability and growth, a blog probably isn't going to be the best way to go about it. As Rebel pointed out, a public journal within a community of like-minded individuals is more likely to fit what you're after.

As for blogging specifically, you really need to love to write and have a passion for what you're writing about... otherwise, it'll do nothing more than devolve into one of the countless abandoned digital corpses floating amongst the networked flotsam like so many Blogger, Twitter, Tumblr and LiveJournal accounts... likely ignored and abandoned.

As for my own personal motivations? I used to keep a blog a few years back, similar topics... but more pop-culture and indulgent consumerist driven with lots of armchair science. Didn't earn dime one off it, even though I tried sticking ads on the thing and apparently helped shape a certain love/hate modern OSS desktop UI in a roundabout fashion. (Technically, revenue from advertising stopped about $10 shy of Google's minimum threshold for paying out at the time when I hung it up, but internet money doesn't spend.) As for my current one and its motivations... there's a lot of reasons, and I struggled with even taking it on in the first place. As I find this sort of communications savings guy role growing in scope and demand from these parts, it might be nice to get compensated for my time as we're nowhere near FI yet, and it's taking on more and more of my time... but getting paid isn't even in the big picture of why I'm doing Technical Meshugana. It's also why it's ad free, tin cup based, and irregularly posted to. Even in this case with the Amazon referral links and tin cup, my total income to this point has been zero doing it. Do I wish I could be making more than nothing talking about something I love and helping others save money? Of course I do, who wouldn't, but it's not the deal-breaker for me.

DebtDerp

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 11:15:04 AM »
Wow, thank you for all of the great comments so far. This has actually been extremely helpful and informative.

I think most bloggers do it because they think it will make them money. (Present company - MMM readers - included.)

They hear the words "passive income" and think blogging is one way to achieve it.  They hear of sites like Pat Flynn's SPI and read a few posts and see one of his income reports and hope it's their path to FI.

The truth: It's work.  It pays very little.
I know there are ways of making money from blogs, and I do have a couple of Google Adsense ads, but even though I have recently been getting 15,000 views a month, I have only made about £4 each month! (Total since September 2011: ~£100). So the money is definitely NOT a good reason to start!

I guess I should clarify that I do not want to blog to make money. I understand that it is incredibly difficult to build a blog to a point where you can make income off of it. This is not for me. That sounds like it would just be a job and would instead focus my intention on money making schemes instead of self-improvement. I donít want blogging to feel like work. I already work enough hours in the week and adding more would just turn me off.

As for blogging specifically, you really need to love to write and have a passion for what you're writing about... otherwise, it'll do nothing more than devolve into one of the countless abandoned digital corpses floating amongst the networked flotsam like so many Blogger, Twitter, Tumblr and LiveJournal accounts... likely ignored and abandoned.
I have found that blogging has noticeably improved my ability to write in different ways, and explain things in a way that is easy to understand.

As far as writing, yes I understand that it is difficult. I write a lot currently just not in a public setting. I love to write and have taken a few classes while I was in college. I also know that I can improve my writing quite a bit and the best way to do this is to write more. I have a long way to go to ever be considered a good writer.

I think one of the reasons I came here first instead of just starting a blog is because I usually donít start something without thinking it through and determining that I will see it through. Meaning, that if I do start blogging I would view it as a failure on my part if I were to quit after a short time (as I understand usually happens). I enjoy doing things that are difficult and I donít like to fail (who does?). Again it goes back to the self-improvement goal.

A beneficial side effect is that when I write, I have to truly understand what the heck I'm writing about.

This is what particularly interests me about blogging. I am really seeing it as a tool to take the concepts from MMM and really learn to understand them and see how simple and small changes in my life (along with the big ones) actually do have a profound effect. And it goes way beyond just financial intelligence, that is just a small part of living Mustachian.

After so long it is also a good way to see where my mind was back in different times, just how the heck did I end up where I am now, what parts do I miss, what parts am I blessed to have left behind.  All there in pixels.  And with a time stamp.  The time stamp thing is powerful.  Wow, was that really 5 years ago when that happened?  Seems like yesterday!  I'd better get a move on to finish whatever that was.  And so forth.
I think it's been a very good thing to start - it's helped to keep me honest. Having things so out there in a public forum definitely holds me to my goals.

This is what I am thinking when I say that I want to blog as a tool to keep me honest. Hindsight is always 20/20 but it is also easy to look back at a point in your past and remember it subjectively (i.e. make excuses for why things didn't turn out as you had planned). With it in writing I think it would hold me more accountable to the goals I set out to achieve. I would be able to clearly see what it was that I wanted to achieve and I would not be able to ignore it because of the public nature of the blog (at least that is my thinking).

[/quote]
Instead of using a financial journal to track your goals, you might prefer a more visual method like Planwise or ReadyForZero.

Yes, I am a very visual person and have actually never heard of these online tools. I use mint and online banking currently along with several spreadsheets to track where I am financially. I will definitely check these out, thanks!

--

Thanks so much for the responses. I am starting to think that blogging could be for me. I have actually already written a pretty long essay chronicling how I got into the situation I am in today and I am thinking that may be a good place to start. I could continue to expand based off of that. I originally used it as an exercise in explaining to myself why I am where I am and what decisions had lead me here. Self-reflection and introspection is a powerful force.

As far as getting started do you have any tips? Do you use blogger, wordpress, tumblr? I use a lot of Google products so blogger might the best fit for me. Any blogging guides you guys would suggest?

Again thanks for the great feedback you guys have been extremely helpful :)

arebelspy

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 11:36:06 AM »
A beneficial side effect is that when I write, I have to truly understand what the heck I'm writing about.

This is what particularly interests me about blogging. I am really seeing it as a tool to take the concepts from MMM and really learn to understand them and see how simple and small changes in my life (along with the big ones) actually do have a profound effect. And it goes way beyond just financial intelligence, that is just a small part of living Mustachian.

I wouldn't naturally assume that it'll make you have to understand what you're talking about.  Nords has enough integrity to only blog about what he understands (and the intelligence to figure out when he doesn't understand something, and learn more about it), but there are plenty of bloggers who type about things they don't understand.  Personal finance bloggers often seem to pull * out of their .. keyboard without knowing what they are talking about.

That small comment aside, it sounds like it'd be a good thing for you to try.  The cost is $0 (other than opportunity cost), so it can't hurt to try it out and see if you enjoy it!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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Nords

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 11:09:58 PM »
As far as getting started do you have any tips? Do you use blogger, wordpress, tumblr? I use a lot of Google products so blogger might the best fit for me. Any blogging guides you guys would suggest?
WordPress.com.  If you're not writing for money then you don't need to do anything else.  If you don't mind having "WordPress" in your URL, like http://debtderp.wordpress.com, then it's totally free.  If DebtDerp.com is available then it'll cost you $26/year from WP, or less from other domain name registrars.

WP leads the the blogging market with a 16% share.  They're one of the top-ten sites on the Web.  They're sensitive to Google and they're starting to integrate more of G+ social features with their blog themes & plugins.  More importantly they've dumbed blogging down about as far as it can go for "distraction-free writing".  (I read plenty of complaints about Blogger from people who have invested too much time and too many posts to feel able to move elsewhere.)  You don't have to worry about formatting, HTML, SEO, or anything about which you don't care.  Just sign up, pick the TwentyTwelve free theme, and start posting.  There are dozens of how-to videos, tutorials, and WP blogs to keep you interested.  There are lots of help forums for asking dumb questions-- I know this because I've asked plenty of them.  You can add in all sorts of extra tweaks or spend real money for real themes and VIP support, but that's not necessary.  If you decide that you want to move to Blogger, then WP will help you do that too.

You may be perfectly happy with Blogger.  But give WP an hour of your life to see if that makes a difference.

The only reason I left WordPress.COM for WordPress.ORG was so that I could start raking in the big bucks.

I think most bloggers do it because they think it will make them money. (Present company - MMM readers - included.)
They hear the words "passive income" and think blogging is one way to achieve it.  They hear of sites like Pat Flynn's SPI and read a few posts and see one of his income reports and hope it's their path to FI.
The truth: It's work.  It pays very little.
After two years of blogging, and with a few well-known tricks I've learned along the way, The-Military-Guide.com has reached an average of 400-500 hits per day.  Maybe in 3-4 years (or a really harsh military drawdown) that will double.

I've signed up for Google AdSense and I'm doing about the minimum effort-- three ads per post, nothing extra or fancy.  "Military financial independence" has some pretty juicy keywords that advertisers seem willing to bid up, so maybe I'm getting a small boost from that.  I'm also prostituting happy to sell individual sidebar ads, in-post text links, and affiliate products.  One day I'll sell eBooks.  I just haven't pursued those areas as a full-time job because I'm lazy and the surfing has been great financially independent.

With that minimal effort and traffic, Google AdSense has spewed off an average of $100-$125/month for the last three months.  (AdSense terms of service do not permit me to tell you that I'm donating the money to military charities, along with the rest of the blog revenue and the book royalties.)  Maybe that'll go up, maybe not.  I've also sold a text link and I'm setting up the affiliate stuff now... just as soon as the surf calms down for a day or two.

I wouldn't naturally assume that it'll make you have to understand what you're talking about.  Nords has enough integrity to only blog about what he understands (and the intelligence to figure out when he doesn't understand something, and learn more about it), but there are plenty of bloggers who type about things they don't understand.  Personal finance bloggers often seem to pull * out of their .. keyboard without knowing what they are talking about.
That small comment aside, it sounds like it'd be a good thing for you to try.  The cost is $0 (other than opportunity cost), so it can't hurt to try it out and see if you enjoy it!
When you're the blog admin, and especially when you moderate the comments, you can look pretty darn smart.  You can also edit your prose as many times as it takes you to get it right. 

I had a horrible post on the federal Roth Thrift Savings Plan that I had to edit three separate times after publication, including seeking professional help from a USAA CFP.  However my serial screwups attracted a crowd of hecklers commenters, proving that there's no such thing as bad publicity.  In the end I let the post stand as is, with all of its strikethroughs and updates.  It's still getting a lot of traffic.

I've learned that when I know what I'm talking about, I can type 100 WPM and have a fully-edited post in about an hour.  If I don't understand something then I keep getting stuck or the post keeps getting longer and longer... but if something gets past your filter then an alert reader will quickly direct your attention to it.

One of my happiest accomplishments has been writing about U.S. military Reserve retirement.  (My spouse is a retired Reservist.)  I had a lot of help with the post and I researched the heck out of it.  Today, 11 months later, it ranks on Google's first page of results.  What amuses me even more is that it ranks ahead of many of the DoD and military service websites that also explain Reserve retirement.  So, of course, I wrote a post asking why people were researching Reserve retirement... and in 11 months it'll probably be up on Google's first page too.
http://the-military-guide.com/2013/01/14/why-are-you-researching-reserve-retirement/

The funniest (but probably apocryphal) writing advice Iíve ever read:
ďA therapist told a struggling writer to get down on his knees in front of the computer, close his eyes, and pray to write the worldís worst sentence. Then start writing.Ē

Just write it:
http://the-military-guide.com/2011/01/13/so-nords-how-did-you-start-blogging/
http://the-military-guide.com/2011/10/20/just-write-it/
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/03/08/so-nords-why-are-you-still-blogging/
http://the-military-guide.com/2011/12/12/update-to-just-write-it/
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 11:15:51 PM by Nords »

DebtDerp

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 06:24:13 PM »
Thank you guys for the great responses. After MMM's post today how can I not try the blogging thing out?

Nords, I'm def going to use Wordpress over blogger, thanks for the tip and the great articles from your blog. I'm going to try to be in that 10%!

I have already written about 5,000 words that I want to edit into a couple blog posts and will be working on that over the next few days. Hopefully I will have it up sometime next week! Will keep you guys posted.

Thanks again!

arebelspy

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 06:57:52 PM »
Awesome.  Give us a link when it's up!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

WhatMomWears

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2013, 09:20:13 PM »
I'll read you :)

Rangifer

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2013, 10:14:14 PM »
I've got a blog that I run to make money. It does work, but takes so much upfront work to get started. Right now it makes 1100-1500 per month, with a steady upward trend. But, I remember the first month I made like $3 having put in well over 100 hours of time into it as well as about $150 of my own cash. If I calculated it out, the first few months I probably made less than $2 per hour of time put into it.

The best advice for anyone looking to make money blogging is to find your niche. If you want to blog about something common like weight loss to try and make money, good luck.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 03:19:24 PM »
Mrs. Pop loves to write, I like playing with nerdy code-ish things so a blog on using wordpress works well for us.

The utility of the thing is to hold us accountable (even thought we're largely anonymous) to our goals. It helps sharpen our thinking and keeps us focused on the task at hand (currently paying down debt, possibly owning a small business in the future). We use adsense to cover our hosting costs.

I'd recommend it to anybody, but you'll also do great by keeping a journal either here on on ERE.

Best,
Mr. Pop

DebtDerp

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2013, 08:05:54 PM »
Hey all, thanks for the great suggestions! I have put up my first post over at http://studentloanrage.wordpress.com. Let me know what you think and if you have any more suggestions. Thanks!

arebelspy

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2013, 08:22:37 PM »
I enjoyed the background story.  You have a good writing voice.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

turtlefield76

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2013, 11:32:23 PM »
Nice first post DebtDerp!  I'm rooting for you!

I lived on about $50/month for groceries, zero transportation budget and zero entertainment budget albeit for very different reasons when I was your age.  I did buy a $20 pair of clippers and shaved my head as a sign of commitment to the path I was embarking on.  Best 20 dollars I've ever spent as I've never paid for a haircut since.

You can totally get this done.  Best of luck.  I'll be reading your blog.


Nords

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2013, 10:34:17 AM »
Let me know what you think and if you have any more suggestions. Thanks!
Looks good!

If you're seeking inspiration, take a look at the early days of PunchDebtInTheFace.com when he was still "living" with Sallie Mae. 

As long as you're going to be blogging on WordPress.COM, I strongly recommend that you sign up for their "WordAds".  All you have to do is apply, and then they take care of the rest.  They may make you wait a few months while until they see that you're keeping up a steady blogger pace and gaining readers.  However they're making money off your blog whether you run ads or not, and you don't have to do any work at all once you're applied, so you might as well get a revenue share.

WordAds pays at least as much as you'll get if you don't run ads...

DebtDerp

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2013, 01:47:51 PM »
I lived on about $50/month for groceries

Wow! What did you eat? I'm budgeting about $150 per month for groceries.

Looks good!

If you're seeking inspiration, take a look at the early days of PunchDebtInTheFace.com when he was still "living" with Sallie Mae. 

As long as you're going to be blogging on WordPress.COM, I strongly recommend that you sign up for their "WordAds".  All you have to do is apply, and then they take care of the rest.  They may make you wait a few months while until they see that you're keeping up a steady blogger pace and gaining readers.  However they're making money off your blog whether you run ads or not, and you don't have to do any work at all once you're applied, so you might as well get a revenue share.

WordAds pays at least as much as you'll get if you don't run ads...

Nords, thank you for passing along that blog! I had not seen it yet. I'm already getting into it. As far as ads it's something I will consider in the future but I don't think I will pursue them right now. I am also considering moving over to hosting but I want to wait to make sure I stick with this thing. Thanks for the feedback!

turtlefield76

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2013, 06:55:19 PM »
@debtderp

i ate mostly brown rice, tofu, some canned tuna fish and super smelly fermented soy beans (called natto) that is super cheap and packed with protein.  i'm asian so it was easy.  not a diet i could recommend without hesitation for others though...  still think you could do better than $150/month though if you are single and committed.  the secret is batch cooking and lots of beans and brown rice.  buy in bulk.  eat meat rarely.  shop at your local mom and pop ethnic store.  you could definitely get to $100/month and eat pretty well.

i also made lots of my food super spicy so i would eat lots of rice with any meat or veggies.  again not something i could recommend without hesitation. 


DebtDerp

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2013, 11:06:20 PM »
@debtderp

i ate mostly brown rice, tofu, some canned tuna fish and super smelly fermented soy beans (called natto) that is super cheap and packed with protein.  i'm asian so it was easy.  not a diet i could recommend without hesitation for others though...  still think you could do better than $150/month though if you are single and committed.  the secret is batch cooking and lots of beans and brown rice.  buy in bulk.  eat meat rarely.  shop at your local mom and pop ethnic store.  you could definitely get to $100/month and eat pretty well.

i also made lots of my food super spicy so i would eat lots of rice with any meat or veggies.  again not something i could recommend without hesitation. 

Yeah, I think this is definitely an area I can improve. I eat meat twice a day during the week (deli meat for lunch and pork-chop / chicken with dinner) and sometimes 3 times each day on the weekends. I need to find an easy (and quick) to prepare alternative to meat and cheese sandwiches for lunch. I could also eat more rice. I usually eat a pork-chop (occasionally chicken) and a hefty helping of fresh veggies and beans each night. I do like spicy though!

turtlefield76

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2013, 01:10:40 AM »
Yeah, I think this is definitely an area I can improve. I eat meat twice a day during the week (deli meat for lunch and pork-chop / chicken with dinner) and sometimes 3 times each day on the weekends. I need to find an easy (and quick) to prepare alternative to meat and cheese sandwiches for lunch. I could also eat more rice. I usually eat a pork-chop (occasionally chicken) and a hefty helping of fresh veggies and beans each night. I do like spicy though!

Meat 2/3 times a day is very pricey!  Just by cooking differently you can easily cut that in half and that would probably cut your food budget in half as well.  You would've even have to give up eating meat.  It's pretty easy to do a stir fry that will stretch 1 normal serving of chicken over 2 or 3 meals and be so tasty you won't even notice.  I would definitely start there.  After you master a few basic meat stretching stir frys you can work on doing one meatless meal.  Make it hearty like a big batch of corn and black bean chili.  Or one of my favorite's red lentil Dal.  You can make this meal in a large batch and freeze single serving sizes.  I used to do this when I was single and have continued the practice now that I cook for my family.  It's great because each of those meals is going to be really really cheap and by making it in a large batch it'll be even cheaper were talking less than $1 a meal.  And you don't have to eat it every single day if you freeze it.  Once you get into a habit of this and have a small handful of good recipes you'll have a freezer full of great tasting cheap meals at all time.  You'll eat well and save $$. 

Seriously though brown rice and a rice cooker is worth ten of thousands of dollars saved. 

Nords

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2013, 09:43:22 PM »
As far as ads it's something I will consider in the future but I don't think I will pursue them right now. I am also considering moving over to hosting but I want to wait to make sure I stick with this thing. Thanks for the feedback!
WordAds prefers bloggers with a track record, so give yourself a few months and see how you feel then.

I wish there were reliable statistics on the ratios of blogs that go dark within six months, one year, two years, and five years.  But I suspect that the truth would discourage new bloggers and destroy Bluehost's revenue model.

... and super smelly fermented soy beans (called natto) that is super cheap and packed with protein.
I've always wondered how to tell when the natto has gone bad...

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2013, 03:11:46 PM »
... and super smelly fermented soy beans (called natto) that is super cheap and packed with protein.
I've always wondered how to tell when the natto has gone bad...
That's the great thing about fermented foods. As long as they don't get fuzzy, they just get fermentier.

LadyM

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2013, 08:41:26 PM »
I've been to the blogging rodeo twice.

My first experience was to help promote a little home-based business that I had.  I felt like one giant self-promotion machine, so much so that I even annoyed myself.  In retrospect I probably over did it.  It became tedious and exhausting.

The second blog was for me, by me, but it was essentially another one of those cutesy mom-blogs, a dime-a-dozen, and even with my somewhat wacky sense of humor injected here and there, it still didn't feel quite right....the voice felt forced.  I also promoted my blog on facebook and people knew it was me, which might have made me hold back a bit on what I wrote.  Often I thought "My parents might see this!  I can't swear!!" I talked about gardening and cooking, but in long-winded dissertations, which also bothered me. 

My new blog has been inspired by MMM in that I'd like to put a blog out there where I get o write 100% in my own voice on topics that interest me.  Some may have a personal finance focus, some home repair, some cooking, parenting, or just a weird dream that I think might make for an interesting post.  And this time I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag on my identity to my friends.  I may have a bit of a harder time promoting it initially, but I'll feel like less of a douche.  I'll be free to write how I want! And I'll likely have a few financial posts on there from time to time.

I did purchase a domain through wordpress.com, but I didn't purchase hosting....I would like to see if I get any sort of readership first.  I figured the domain purchase wasn't too much, stated by folks earlier that it was $26/year, and to me that's not a major outlay or commitment. I look at it like "I have 1 year to be spectacular!"

Speaking of self-promotion....since I'm not linking it on Facebook anytime soon, I'll link it here if you all don't mind.  My most recent post is about celery:  http://femmebanal.com/

PS - I'm blogging just to write at this point and see if my crazy thoughts have any traction with anyone other than me.  Currently the goal isn't to make money....it's not even in my thoughts right now.  I'm going total labor of love here.  Plus a few public goals might not me such a bad thing either to keep me motivated.  :)


 

Bakari

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Re: Thoughts on Blogging?
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2013, 09:59:06 AM »

I'm wondering from those that blog on a regular basis: Why do you do it?

Because sometimes ideas get stuck in my head, and if I don't get them out, they stay in there forever.  Way back in high school I felt compelled to write a paper refuting the theories of Ayn Rand, but writing on paper, where no one could possibly ever read it, didn't help much.
 In about 2004, (give or take a year or two?) I stumbled on the craigslist rantNrave section, which became an unhealthy obsession, and then I finally signed up for MySpace in order to contact someone and started using their built-in blog.  That was 7 years ago, and I've been writing ever since.

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Is it a tool to you?
not really

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Do you use it as a journal?
sometimes

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Are you doing it to spread your knowledge to the internets?
often.  Almost all of my longer posts are this.  I have some ideas which might be interesting to a lot of people - but I have no relevant credentials, I don't even write consistently about any particular topic, and so there is not much chance that I could get it published anywhere other than my own blog.  But at least his way people can find my content in a google search

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Whats your drive?
still the same thing as 15 years ago, have to write to get ideas out of my head that have gotten stuck there

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Do you find that it works to keep you going?
not at all

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Do you see an accomplishment that you have blogged about as a driving factor in moving onto the next one?
Honestly, I don't particularly care about accomplishments for the sake of accomplishments.  If the goal itself is not enough of a motivating factor, I would question if its really that important.

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Do you try to set a schedule when to update your blog?
not remotely!  Sometimes I'll have several things I want to write about in a week.  Other times I'll go half a year without an update.  The past couple years have been much slower than the first 4, and I've been using the time between updates to migrate all he old content from MySpace to my current blogger platform, one post at a time, so my (ten or so) readers have  chance to catch up on everything they missed

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What is your inspiration?

Life! The universe!  Everything!!!!
My longer, more indepth essays cover politics, economics, environmentalism, evolutionary biology, the principal of science, feminism, cultural perceptions of sexuality, vehicle efficiency, love, happiness, the US education system, used bicycles... this is why I have never had, and never expect to have, any significant readership.  I can't pick a theme.  Everything is interesting, and I find I disagree with the accepted view of so much of it.  But people tend to be interested in topics, and subscribe to blogs that focus on that interest.  Oh well.  I originally started writing for myself anyway.

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Has it really impacted your life and how you make decisions going forward?
It impacts my life more than I expected, for sure.  For one thing, I got an unsolicited job offer to be a (paid) blogger for ecomodder.com, where I occasionally write articles on vehicle efficiency, as a direct result of my posts on that topic on my own personal blog.  A few years ago I dated a girl for a while after she and I connected over our respective blogs.  And more directly, the process of writing gets me to really think about topics in depth, to formulate my thoughts more coherently, and do actual research, and all that ends up meaning I have a better  understanding of the topic.  In some cases the essay I am working on more or less takes over my life, and its all I think about for weeks.  In my most recent, which uses our cultural axioms around sexual assault as a window into our collective subconscious beliefs about women's agency, the emotional charge of the subject matter kept me on edge constantly and made it hard to sleep for days of reading and research followed by days of outlining and planning and finally days of writing. 

I get no financial gain from it (well, $5 in ad revenue), and I know I won't change the world, but I wouldn't give it up.