"Just about a year ago, I set out on the road. Seeking my fame and fortune, looking for a pot of gold." - John FogertyExactly one year ago today I made a step towards drastically improving my life. Unlike Mr. Fogerty (the best song writer of our time), however, I didn't set out for fame or fortune or a pot of gold.
What I did set out to do was change my world and inspire you to change your world.
How I did that is simply stated:
I started this blog.
The first article ever published here at RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com is called "An Unlikely First Post: Notes From How To Build A High Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself." These were my notes from a presentation by Tim Ferriss.
If you read the article you'll see that I followed quite a bit of the advice ... lots of it subconsciously since I haven't actually read that article or watched the presentation in a year.
The most important piece of advice in the presentation is actually a quote from Tucker Max: "Important thing is not being a good writer, but having a voice."
Voice and PromisesWhen I first started my voice was still in its infancy and the words weren't coming out quite like they should have been. But I made two promises.
First promise: I would focus on a set schedule and stick to it.
That schedule has changed a couple of times, but I did stick to it and this is article #112. (Currently the schedule is Monday, Thursday, Saturday.) Whether an article was perfect or not was not as important as simply shipping. Practicing, getting my words out, and improving.
Second promise: I promised myself that I wouldn't give in to convention and I would just be myself.
What you get here is essentially what you would get from me in person. In a way, this blog gives me a little more freedom with my persona, because sometimes I hold back in person (out of respect for others).
Being A Polarizing FigureSome people get upset with what I write. Some people get upset with who I am. Some people don't like me.
You don't see any of that because as much as I hate censorship I don't tolerate personal attacks. When someone is negative or attacks me it's much more fun to delete it than get into an argument. :) (Life Lesson #8: Arguments are pointless.)
To be honest, I'm still on a quest to be more polarizing, but I've done an OK job so far.
I'm not afraid to be the same person in public and in private even though I very well know that it affects me negatively as far as certain contacts and business prospects. Social climbing isn't worth it to me if I have to be fake. You will find very few bloggers (with non-personal blogs) who are truly open. That's neither good nor bad (well, it's good for the aforementioned social climbing), but I can't do that.
Now I'm going off on a tangent. :) (You know how I love those.)
Opening Up My WorldThe first time my life drastically changed was when I joined CouchSurfing. It was a revelation. "Wow, I can literally go anywhere in the world and hang out with awesome people."
With blogging it's similar, but different. It's a more natural progression of friendship with you and other bloggers. E-mail/skype/in-person meet ups. There is a natural arc to relationships built through this blog.
Similarly to CouchSurfing, blogging has opened up the world to me. I've met other bloggers in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Germany. I've met readers all over the place as well.
5 Ways Blogging Has Changed My LifeI've read a lot of blog posts about blogging changing people's lives. I actually got an e-mail a few days ago from a reader who asked me how it has changed mine.
1) I've made great friendships with quite a few awesome people.
I'm not well known in the blogging world by any means. That's much less important to me than actually connecting with the people who do know me.
2) Blogging has given me an outlet for my writing.
I've always enjoyed writing, but I never knew I would absolutely love it. There are not many pursuits I've undertaken that have been so fulfilling as writing for you.
3) I've connected with like-minded people.
This is different than friendships, but just as important. I've received so many amazing e-mails that break down to: "Wow, you are exactly like me" and reading that never gets old. :) It's very rare for me to meet people similar to me in every day life, but blogging has made it happen more than I could imagine.
4) I've been incredibly inspired by you.
I have a label in Gmail called Awesome E-mails. A lot of times I forget to mark e-mails as Awesome and I only started the label on January 22, 2010, but even so there are currently 47 e-mails under that label. This label consists of positive, inspiring e-mails from you.
5) I've discovered my future without even knowing I was looking for it.
I've tried to deny it many times over the past few months, but this blog is my future. There is not as much money in blogging and releasing products through a blog as through doing affiliate marketing, but it is much more fulfilling. As you already know money, in and of itself, is not what makes me happy.
5 Reasons You Should Start Blogging TodayI'm going to preface these reasons with the following: you should start a blog in a niche that you love and that you can see yourself writing about for the next 10 years.
1) You will meet awesome people. There is no denying that. It takes time, but it will happen.
2) Fun opportunities are everywhere for bloggers. Depending on what your goals are you can make sweet contacts, get a new job (assuming you want a job), earn your own income through your blog, and sometimes even get free stuff (if that's what you're after; I'm not). I could go on for a few hours on the opportunities available to you. Suffice it to say there are many.
3) You don't have to be a great writer (as stated above). What you need is a unique voice. That may take time to develop so starting today will give you an edge.
4) You don't need any technical knowledge. Get a Web host, install WordPress, and start writing. Follow Darren Rowse's 31 Days To Building A Better Blog (free article series) for guidance.
5) You will begin building a legacy. If you die tomorrow what gift are you leaving the world? A piece of you via your blog is a great gift to leave behind.