Archive for the 'Inspiration' Category


Over 6,500 Bloggers Register for “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” (start date delayed!)


Hey everyone!  Hope your week is off to a great start.

Over 6,500 bloggers have registered for Darren Rowse‘s free online course (and personal growth challenge) “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” at (a practical daily exercise that will be administered over 31 days with the goal of helping you to improve the creative content of your blog)!

This is the third year Darren Rowse (known as a blog guru)  is doing his wildly popular blogger challenge and, by far, this is the biggest blogger registration he’s had to date (which should tell us all a lot about the validity of his excercises in helping bloggers improve their craft and the increased desire of people to polish their online brand).

So far, five people from Blog Academy are partaking in the challenge (including Dean Meyers, Kelly Fraser, Sarah Cooley, Ravi Gupta and, of course, yours truly!).  It’s going to be great to hear how everyone’s blogs progress.

For those of you who are still contemplating registering, there are a few important updates I wanted to share with you.

  • DELAYED ONE WEEK – The initial start-date was April 1st (this Wednesday).  However, as Darren Rowse explains on his blog, he will be launching 31 Days to Build a Better Blog on April 6th instead.  That gives us all one additional week of preparation!
  • This time around, Darren is adding a Special Forum on his site solely for those who register for the challenge which will allow us all to share our experiences and get helpful tips as well as meet other bloggers (there are over 6,500 in the challenge!).
  • You must register for the challenge here in order to participate (submit your name and a valid email address — the daily instructions will be sent via email).  Registration and participation are free.

If you are planning to participate, drop me an email and let me know.

If you don’t have a blog yet and want to participate, get a new blog account at (free) and give yourself this week to familiarize yourself with the various technical elements of (posting content, the dashboard, etc.).  If you’re not sure how to open a account (or how to manage the WordPress dashboard once you get an account), take a look at these video tutorials I posted on our blog.

Good luck!



Catching Up with Blog Academy Members Blogs

Hi everyone!   I hope everyone is doing and well and that all of your blogging dreams are coming to fruition! A few of our members have actually started their blogs and are well underway to being blogging badasses.  Here is an update:

Constantine Markides took the big leap and bought a hosting plan at and migrated his extensive library of essays from his now defunct blog at to his new and improved, self-hosted, blog Fourth Night at Now he is literally the master of his domain! The blog looks great and his essays are so thought-provoking and entertaining (for example, his post called The One Man Tent will grip you like a good novel – it’s refreshing to see this kind of quality writing on a blog!).  Constantine describes his professional skills in the “About” page as “Archaeological proficiency in the archaic newspaper and literary practices of late-twentieth century antiquity” (in other words, a journalist). With his creative fiction, photos (that he’s takes himself) and a fierce eye for beauty (I’ve seen his photos, he does have an eye for beauty) I honestly can’t wait to see his blog develop as time marches on.  You can find his blog here.  It’s an indulgence.

Steve Alleyne took the blogger plunge and launched his self-hosted blog at on  He uploaded his first blog post Dating on the north side of 40 following a very long-term relationship which is very funny and heartfelt (I mentioned in our first meeting how much I enjoy Steve’s writing – you will too – trust me!).  He describes himself in the following way on his “About Steve” page:  “I’m not quite old yet not as young as I used to be. However, I AM short. I’m dealing with it. [Shrug]” (that’s just the tip of Steve’s iceberg)

Steve shared with everyone in our first meetup that he had procrastinated with launching his blog for a couple of months and, now, he has a blog and a couple of posts up. Steve is a rock star. He admitted how tough it was (like giving birth) but he worked through it and gave his great writing a place to call blog-home.  You can find bits of Steve’s wisdom and humor on his blog at here.  Steve will be doing a guest post for the New York Blog Academy blog about his experience launching his site in the coming week!

Hermann Mazard just launched his blog (Thoughts of a Confused Enthusiast) this past weekend. Hermann has a lot to get off of his chest about the condition of America, how our government is handling our economic crisis and whether we can or will ever recover. He doesn’t mince words and thank god for that. His honestly and bluntness are refreshing and absolutely necessary (medicine isn’t supposed to taste good and sweet!).  Being a college professor, Hermann is very skilled at using the power of the pen to make a point that (though it may be sharp and cutting) is always wrapped in a well-researched, thoughtful essay. His very first post is Why Good Mortgages Goes Bad (warning: he spares no one (dead or alive) in this analysis of what really led to America’s the mortgage crisis and who is to blame). Great read and food for thought!

Jade Dressler (PR expert) sent me her two blogs and I’m so glad she did! The first blog (Jade Dressler) is her perspective on culture and the arts and what a truly unique perspective it is (I kid you not – and I worked in arts and entertainment!). It isn’t often that a blog can get you to see the ordinary in our surroundings in an extraordinary way (Jade does this with such ease I’m almost jealous!).  Her second blog (ITI Phone Home) is a hysterical and bizarre look at pop culture and celebrity from the perspective of someone who clearly is an alien in this strange land. In her “About Me” page she says of herself, unapologetically, “I know what I am and I’ve decided to out myself.”  Thank goodness.  Just blog every minute of it for us please.   Thank you.  Her latest post is “I HEART MAN BOOBS” and it is an ode to man-mammary that will crack you up!

Look for blogs soon from the delightful John Windsor-Cunningham who is in the process of launching his blog which will be a web video blog that will take a weekly comedic look at USA from a Brit p.o.v. (LOVE IT!!)

Also launching soon is Anat Fanti. As she explained in our first meetup, Anat is interested in helping people who are in dark and difficult situations (during these economically dire times) find the light in their situation and move towards it.  Indeed, Anat is a beautiful light herself who inspires people every day in ordinary conversation. One could only imagine how awesome and inspirational her blog is going to be!

As soon as John and Anat give me the word, I’ll share their blogs with all of you! Until then, let’s send them much support and positive blogging vibes! : )

CONGRATULATIONS to our members who launched blogs this past week.  Rock stars.  Each of you!


Please check out their blogs, subscribe to them and let them know what you think of their writing in the Comments sections of their blogs.

Blogging is not a destination — it’s a journey.

Warmth and good cheer,

Charlie : )

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A Deceased Soldier Blogs His Goodbye


It would be, without a doubt, the hardest blog post that anyone would have to write in their entire lives.  It makes our struggles to blog about the mundane things in our lives (while they, too, have their special meaning and purpose in life) seem small and irrelevant in comparison.

Major Andrew Olmstead began blogging after his unit was sent to Iraq to help train the Iraqi Army.  His writings were posted at four blogs:

(1) (2) Obsidian Wings (3) Winds of Change and (4) his local newspaper The Rocky Mountain News (Colorado Springs) where he blogged a column called From the Front Lines (his perspective from the front lines in Iraq).

He also blogged constantly throughout his service in Iraq (no matter what the circumstances).  He outlines eloquently his reasons for blogging on the “About Me” section of his personal blog.  I’ve reposted it below:

This is a vanity site that gives me the opportunity to comment on current events, or anything that catches my eye. What I post here is intended to put my thoughts on particular issues up for discussion; I do not pretend to be infallible or anything close to that. When I post something, it is what I believe, but it may be based on inaccurate information or faulty analysis. Where that occurs, I look to my readers to help me find the facts and improve my analytical abilities. As this is a vanity site, I have no regular publication schedule, (although I generally post daily), nor do I receive any editorial guidance. But thanks to the magic of the Internet and the kind souls who’ve gone to the trouble of linking here it does provide me the opportunity to contribute in some small manner to the philosophical and political questions of the day.

Major Olmstead took the time to write what would be the last blog post he would ever write in his life — his final thoughts about his life, people, love and… yes, the war.  He then instructed a friend to upload it to his blog ( if he were killed in combat in Iraq.

On January 3rd, 2008, Major Andrew Olmstead was killed in an enemy ambush in Iraq.  His final post was uploaded to his site shortly thereafter.  I won’t say anything about the post.  I believe that, if you choose to read it, you will certainly come to your own conclusions (which I welcome discussions on).  I will say that Major Olmstead’s selfless service to his country and people reminds me that there are no excuses for not doing what you really want to do in life (even blogging).

Major Andrew Olmstead’s Final Blog Post to the world can be found here.


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Dean Meyers Presentation on Blogging

Moo cards for blogging workshop
Image by Mexicanwave via Flickr

We were very lucky to have Dean Meyers (visual problem solver) come speak with us at the last Meetup on March 14th.  He shared a wealth of knowledge and really illuminating some things about blogging that stumps most people!

Dean has generously forwarded me his slideshare presentation from our meetup for you review.  While you’re at it, take a look at Deans post from earlier today on how to overcome blogger‘s (writer’s) block.

You can follow Dean on Twitter at @deanmeistr.  His website is


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Blog Academy Slideshare“, posted with vodpod


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I didn’t blog today because…

Blogger’s block is something everyone faces from time to time. Even the most proficient and prolific bloggers complain they run dry of topics and inspiration on occasion. But they keep at it, and they notice that the blocks come and go, but constancy makes for consistency of keeping their blogs alive.

Here are some quick ideas to keep you in the mood, and some things to consider that may get you over the hump of being blocked:

Read other blogs. Google the topics that interest you. Find blogs that are radically different from your opinion or belief system. The mental stretch may spark something, and get you ready to fire off a heated comment on other’s blogs. Do so, and then write a blog post about it on yours as well.

Do you have Evernote? Jott? Do you mark favorite tweets on Twitter to go back to later so you won’t forget them? Writers routinely keep notebooks of ideas, these are just 2.0 ways to keep notes for later…especially useful if you think the well has gone dry.

A picture is worth..well, a blog post, at the very least. Do you take pics with your iPhone of things that atract your eye, make you laugh, make you cry? Do you sketch, doodle, draw on a note pad, or the back of business cards? Have a flickr account? Visuals will create strong impressions, both on you and readers. Load them onto the blog and write about it. Or don’t, and let the picture tell its own story.

Use your Seinfeld brain. Jerry Seinfeld’s television show was considered brilliantly funny, yet was a show about…NOTHING. The cast of characters became quirkier the more we looked at them, but at first glance seemed very commonplace. How about looking at what you’ve written before? Go back to an old posting, one that really makes you proud. Maybe you can rewrite it, six months later, with a different point of view. Don’t be afraid to revisit old topics, your audience will forgive you. You might actually develop much deeper content with a series of posts that are linked together through a theme or subject.

Prayer and meditation are fine things to do. After you have done that for a while, it’s time to just bite the bullet and write. But just dip your toes in the water. Write a half dozen post titles, and don’t plan on using any of them. Make a bulletpoint list of 7 things your bloggers should know. Don’t explain it, just make the list. Write a thank you note to another blogger who inspires you (you need not send it, but we all can use support). The act of writing will beget more writing. That’s usually the effect. If not, you have permission to go back to square one, reading, observing, enjoying a good laugh or fuming over an opposing position. Take heart that you’ll get past the block, and with repetition, the exercise will make you a stronger blogger each time you do.

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What Blog Academy Members are Saying…


I’m excited at the prospect of meeting all of the members (72 members and counting) of The New York Blog Academy (especially tomorrow, at our first official meetup!).

Until then, I thought it might be interesting for you to see what members of New York Blog Academy are saying about their expectations for this meetup.  These are comments that have been left on our Meetup Homepage so feel free to mosie on over there, look at the comments and check out the profiles of our members to get acquainted with the group.

As you can see from the comments below, we have a lively group of people from various backgrounds (and with unique voices) in the New York Blog Academy meetup who are enthusiastic to meet one another and bring their blogging goals to fruition:

  • “ Excited at idea of having a blog, especially as I dont find it easy to learn new Internet things! I woreked for the National Theatre when I lived in the UK, and suspect can get quite a good blog going once I understand, and look forward to meeting others. ”
  • “A friend of mine roped me into it. We committed to becoming famous bloggers.”
  • “I am very interested in learning about blogging and how it will help me in presenting blogs as options for my clients.”
  • “I am on the verge of starting my own blog and looking for my voice and identity. So happy you are doing this, Charlie!”
  • “Sounds fantastic! ”
  • “I could use some guidance of course but also I think rubbing shoulders with those that are blogging regularly, or at least aspiring to, could be helpful. “
  • “This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for in regards to my latest project! “
  • “Sounds like a great group! “
  • “I would like to start blogging. I need to write more often and I think this is the direction I should be going in.”
  • “I am process of creating my blog and I wanted to hone my craft. “
  • “Not sure what I’m looking for – but it sounds interesting…. “
  • “I have been blogging for a while and I have tried tons of different blogging platforms. I would love to share my ideas with the group and hopefully help others create amazing blogs. “
  • “I’m totally interested in making my blog pop and learn some new stuff to add on to make it more professional looking and spike up the content. I’m in… “
  • “It’s just what I need now! “
  • “I have a blog that has died due to lack of activity. I would love to be reinspired and get back in the game. “
  • “I’m a fiction writer with lots of friends who blog, and I’d like to better understand a form that’s really great when done well. “
  • Blogging brings up writer’s block for me. So, I like the idea of discussing the process with other blogphiles (or would-be bloggers). So, Phantom(e) “Charlie”, what are we in for???? Look forward to it.
  • “I’m a professional blogger and i’d like to meet other folks who want to blog”
  • “I’m very interested in blog writing. This sounds like an awesome group!”

Hope to see you at our first meetup tomorrow (if you can’t make it tomorrow, don’t worry, there will be many more Blog Academy meetups!).  And if you haven’t joined yet, please do:  New York Blog Academy Membership.


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Hot Blog: Running from the Camera


Running from the Camera is a prime example of how you can take any subject matter or idea (no matter how seemingly inane) and turn it into an entertaining and, in this case, an odd (yet charming) blog.

A blogger by the name of Muggezifter in Rotterdam chose an awesome and intriguing topic for his blog:  himself… running away

It’s unabashedly simple bordering on rediculous.  He takes pictures of himself running away from his camera after he sets the timer and posts the photos without comment or text (except for the location of where the photo was taken).  The photos are taken in various locations throughout the Rotterdam.

Says Muggezifter of his blog:

The rules are simple:  I put the self-timer on 2 seconds, push the button and try to get as far from the camera as I can.

You would think something like this would get old quickly (how many times can you see a photo of a man running from a camera before your attention wanders elsewhere – never to return to the blog again?).

But actually, my response has been quite contrary to annoyance and boredom.  The compilation of photos of him running away from different locations, on different days, in different weather, wearing different outfits is almost poetic and artistc.

Depending on your philisophical outlook on life, the photos can either speak to the belief that we can never be truly happy all of the time because we are always running from one thing to the next or an affirmation that life is exhilirating because there is always something new to run to.  Or, it can just be a photo of some dumb guy running away from his camera.

No matter your take on it, you have to give him credit for originality (unless, of course, any of you can point out where this is being done elsewhere — in which case, do tell!).

He has a couple of other blogs as well but Running from Camera can be found here.


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