Month: February 2011

Life

A New Type of Blog

“Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning” – Chris Cavanaugh

One month ago today, I wrote about needing a direction and some focus for the blog.  I felt that I was scattered with what I was doing with the blog.  I was forcing myself to create. Create something for people to read.  I had gotten away from what I truly loved, in an attempt to drive traffic, numbers, stats, etc.

I nipped that shit in the bud.

It also didn’t hurt that I needed to take a little break from the blog to get myself and wife back to New York.  This past month has been a whirlwind, but it has been amazing that Juliet and I are settled back in snowy New York and LOVING IT.  Exploring new areas, meeting new people, growing our network.  We are creating memories that we will tell for a long time.

February also gave me the opportunity to get all of my thoughts down on paper, make sense of the random images, directions, blogs, content, dreams, trips, pictures…. everything.  It gave me the opportunity to present a clear, concise picture of what JustinHamlin.com will become.  It also gave me the opportunity to get back into the world of design with a personal project of customizing and adding graphic appeal to Get Busy Livin’.   You can see how much we have already changed visually.

You think that is awesome, just wait for the direction we are going.  More changes are coming to fine tune the blog and its offerings, but the content… the content will get you excited.

This blog is going to be different.

This isn’t your momma’s opinion-based, silver-bullet solution type of blog.  I hate those.  You won’t find that here.  This blog is going to be epic. This blog is going to be different Think of Get Busy Livin’ as more of a virtual campfire, than a virtual pulpit.  Drop by, kick your feet up, roast a marshmallow, listen to some kick-ass stories, heck, even chime in with one of your own.

Pull up a chair

Get Busy Livin’ will be my creative output for telling my adventures, and my stories.  I will also pull from multiple resources for content.  I will be inviting others to post guest blogs and participate in interviews on a regular basis.  These guest (and myself) will not be preaching.  We will not be speaking at you.  That is not the format I will be employing here.  I, personally, learn from the exchange of stories with others, and that is how I want to convey information here.

You will be hearing stories, directly from the mouths of the people who lived them.  You will be seeing the pictures that go along with those stories.  These stories you read here will be interactive, they will be graphic, they will be amazing.

There will be guest posts, interviews, question and answer sessions, and I am even kicking around the idea of setting up a semi-regular video chat with whomever wants to join.  Just to tell stories, catch up on the weeks past, without all the advertising and PR positioning that is Twitter.

I am freaking EXCITED.  All these ideas, all this work, I cannot wait to get down and dirty and take my ideas and turn them into something real.  I am completely jazzed to have you to join me.

First and foremost, welcome back to my existing readers, and welcome aboard to all of the new readers.

I look forward to having everyone join in, so if you think you have something to add, well, I am not a hard person to find.  I look forward to hearing from you. Email, tweet or leave me a comment below.  Your feedback, your ideas, your thoughts, your comments and most importantly, your stories, are important to me.

Life

Navigate. Focus. Live. Inspire

Recently I have posted on topics ranging from how to create and execute a plan, to quitting my job and heading back east. Not entirely aligned with my title of “Get Busy Living.” I get it. That is the motivation for this post.

For me to define the overall direction for the blog, and with that, it is necessary for me to remember where my where my blog came from, those initial thoughts that shaped the beginning, so I can re-focus those intentions towards a defined message.

Finding Direction

One of the main things that I have struggled with since day 1 with my blog is the central focus of my writing. In the beginning, it was an exercise in persistence, just to get my thoughts written out in a semi-public forum. For the better part of 2 years I wrote about things that were inconsequential to everyone but myself: ramblings about local sports teams, basic product reviews, updates on my life, and so on. I maintained a constant readership of about 2 or 3 people. Myself, my wife and my best friend.

One day came a gathering at the house, where a new friend told me he had run across my blog (back then, a Windows Live Space) through a link I posted on Facebook.  He really enjoyed my writing style. I paid little attention to it at the time, but that ended up affecting me, in the respect that I now knew I could write something that others would read, enjoy reading, come back to read more, and even tell their friends about.

A Well Architected Plan

In December 2010, I relaunched my blog, with the decision to brand it as my own. It was with that http://www.justinhamlin.com was launched, albeit very quietly. I was inspired, I was motivated, I had the passion, but it was a conscious decision to launch it under the radar, as I was not quite sure of the direction I wanted to take with it. I did know that in order to establish and maintain a stable stream of readers, I needed to have a direction. No matter how much I marketed, a blog is only as good as its content. I have known this from the beginning.

Recently, the blogosphere has seen many writers launch surveys to have their readers help identify what to focus on. While I understand their motives, that is not the direction I want to take. I am not writing a blog because my readers tell me to. I write my blog because it inspires people. You cannot purposely write inspirationally. Inspiration is born of life experiences coupled with focused story telling. If this were a purely business venture, I would write EXACTLY what my readers wanted me to write. But it isn’t purely business here. While monetizing my online existence is in the plans, it is not THE plan. The plan is to inspire.

Establishing Focus

In a world where distractions constantly surround us, my necessity is to avoid contributing to the noise. In order to inspire change in others, it is imperative to remember to let my creativity shine through, to tell the stories of that which I have experienced.

As a reader, I do not want to read articles and blogs TELLING me what to do from someone who is merely passing along information they read elsewhere on the internet. I want to read first hand accounts and recollections of amazing things that others have done. Impossible things. Audacious things. Risky things.

As a writer, I need to create art of which I, personally, would consume. Anything less would be a disservice to myself and not depict my true passion.

Bottom line, I need to find my focus. I need to find a balance about a message that I want to convey with my blog and how it relates to my life. This has been something that has been ever present in my head for the past few weeks now, and while life is presenting a plethora of opportunities in front of me right now, once we get settled in New York, defining the focus and direction of my writing is one of the first things I will be developing.

The Days Ahead

The next month will be an integral part of my direction with Get Busy Livin’. With the vast quantity of ideas running through my head, I need to define the direction in a clear and concise manner, otherwise I will fall back into the mediocre pattern that plagued my blog for years prior. A business and marketing plan, if you will. I will be using this time to get these ideas down on paper, accumulate a list of ideas and define my message.

This time will not be a sabbatical, so to speak, there will be a few blog posts, but I will not be as concerned with traffic generation, statistics, posting schedule or anything else. My destination will be making March 1st the official launch date of the revised plan behind Get Busy Livin’.

Stay Tuned.