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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Turn Your Life Experiences Into Blogs

This posting is much more philosophical than my previous postings. I think that there has to be some balance in your blogs...

Someone recently asked me why it took me so long to get an official blog (seven, actually) up live. The truth is, I have been recording a digital journal since Jan 2002 - ever since my last full-time programming contract ended. I wrote about whatever topic struck my fancy. And in three and a half years time, I wrote approximately 1000 pages of content - not including the 900 pages I wrote for a book on PHP Web Development that I designed and co-wrote for Wrox Publishing. [Note: Only 250 pgs of my original content was actually published.]

My 1000 pages of creative, personal writing includes loads of stream-of-consciousness ramblings, tons of short stories, the outline for many novels, fusion cuisine recipes galore (which are now part of my Curry Elvis Cooks blog), and discussions about the full-time writing life I had finally been able to adopt, although not willingly.

I also had an informal blog running called "Punkmonk's ToughLove" three years ago on a free web page provided by my ISP. I heard about blogs, and not having anywhere else to post my entries, I posted to this free page. Back then, my blogging technique left much to be desired. But crap happens and my ISP went bankrupt. I lost my web page and some of my postings. (I had some copies, but more recently, I blew away 17 Gb of one hard drive when I tried to install Linux without partitioning my drive properly. I'm still trying to recover the contents of my drive, including 5 years worth of electronic-orchestral fusion music that I composed and have no other copies of. Que sera sera. You learn from your mistakes.)

But the gods must have been angry with me. My consulting biz had gone from fantastic to absolutely nothing by the end of 2001. Recruiting agencies that used to beg me to take contracts with their clients wouldn't even get back to me because I hadn't had a recent contract. Note the irony: I can't get a contract because they won't take me, and they won't take me because I haven't had a contract. The job market was competitive. I applied on my own to dozens of jobs for nearly two years, then simply gave up and tried to make the best of being a full-time writer.

However, reality strikes when the bills come in. I ended up borrowing money from my parents, destroying their finances and mine. Then I trained as a chef, cooked for crap wages at restaurants and worked for minimum wage as a coatcheck person in a nightclub that I used to party at only a few short years before. Sometimes I was working 75 hours/wk just to get by. While most of the restaurants I worked in allowed one free meal per shift, there usually wasn't any time to eat. So I'd use my tip money from coatcheck each weekend to really splurge and eat more than one meal a day on Fridays and Saturdays. But, I sometimes used the tips to get fresh ingredients from the local Farmer's Market and came up with some new recipes to write about.

During much of this period, I was too busy trying to dig myself out my financial hole and trying to keep up my debt payments to do any real blogging. Sure, I was writing lots of stuff when I wasn't working, but when you lose your cell phone plan, your cable TV and Internet connection cause you can't pay the bills, it's really tough to blog, get a job, or even relax a bit and watch TV. My brother eventually saved me by generously buying me a cell phone and a calling plan, telling me to pay him back when I could.

If you're still reading this post, let me explain. I am not giving you this sob story for sympathy. The style of details that I have given above do not really belong in this blog, but they do illustrate a concrete example of the type of entry that might be in my Punkmonk's ToughLove blog (which is still in progress).

Crap does happen in life. You'll probably go through dry spells in life yourself, especially with the flip-flop nature of the economy in this decade. But if you find yourself going through one really bad event after another, please look at the bright side: you will eventually have tons of potential blog content to write about if you achieve the "write" mindset and organize the topics appropriately. If you give your topics the right spin, make your blog content valuable in some manner to several someones somewhere, eventually the search engines will bring in the traffic for you.

I am still only working part-time regularly, but the computer-related contracts are starting to come in again. And because of my technical experience, I have a tentative deal to write 4 e-books on a spectrum of RSS topics. Peppered against all this are the seven blogs I am currently writing, and the 3 more about RSS that I'll soon be writing for MarketingStudies.net. I've turned my misfortunes into ten regular blogs, with more planned if I can find the time. If you enjoy blogging like I do, you can turn your experiences into blogs. Dr. Marsha Sinetar wrote a fantastic book years ago (with a recent revision) called "Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow." Be generous to yourself, and maybe a special someone, and get a copy of this book for yourself.

My main point in this posting comes from a Buddhist concept called "citta". Citta means that all life situations are in passing, no matter what they are, good or bad. My philosophy and my family have been the main things that have gotten me through this tough period. To quote Rob Schneider's character from Adam Sandler's "The Waterboy" movie, "You can do it!". Now, armed with a lot of motivation and some order to my chaos of topics, I find it getting much easier to write and post entries across all my blogs on a more regular basis. (I just wrote three entries in less than 24 hrs.) Here's to hoping that you will find the same kind of inspiration for yourself. (And thanks to Blogger.com for the free blog space.)

(c) Copyright 2005, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.blogspot.com

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BlogSpinner-X serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it houses the original version of my Blogspinner blog, and contains the full-text of my older entries. Secondly, the more recent entries are excerpts of the full-text entries posted over on Blogspinner V2.0. In other words, the "X" stands for "eXcerpt".

About Me
I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ web programmer/ consultant/ photographer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. This is one of several blogs that I write.

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