Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 2 BBBC - Write a List Post

Follow along as I take ProBlogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge!

The exercise for Day 2 of the Build a Better Blog challenge was to write a list post.  You can find my list post here.  This was a simple exercise for me, because I love making lists!  And the list I made was of famous journals -- one of my favorite topics!

I can definitely see the advantage to list posts.  Being a heavy blog reader myself, I find that lists posts are very easy to read.  They are neat, and they are very easy to scan to get the information that is most meaningful to me.

I am sure that there will be other list posts published at The Journal Keeper.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why Blogging Hasn't Worked For Me In The Past

Martin Neuhof

First, I'd like to send a shout-out (HI!) and a big thank you (THANK YOU!) to the recent subscribers to The Journal Keeper.  I appreciate you!

Now, in light of the fact that it's been six days since my last blog post (Bless me, Father, for I have sinned...), I think now would be a good time to write about why blogging hasn't worked for me in the past, and why I still struggle with it today.

As I've mentioned before, I've made several attempts at blogging.  And shortly after starting, I lose my motivation.  And I think that is largely because... 

I crave instant gratification.  And when I don't get it, I take my ball and bat and go home.  It's as simple as that, yet I also recognize that it's unreasonable.  What I really want is to have perfectly written and very witty posts flow magically from my fingers.  I want readers who are sitting at their computers dutifully waiting for my next brilliant words.  And I want comments from my adoring fans to overflow my inbox.

Ok, you can stop laughing now.  That's just mean.  

I get hung up on how my blog looks.  I focus first on the theme and the colors and the cool widgets before I have even published the first posts.  I've even jumped from platform to platform, changing the address of my blogs over and over so that even if I did have any readers they wouldn't be able to find me! 

I didn't want to start a blog until I could start it "perfectly."  I am a perfectionist by nature.  The bad kind.  I get so hung up on every aspect of what I do being absolutely, positively perfect that it becomes debilitating.  I either get frustrated, or discouraged, or burned out.  In the end, the task I was trying so hard to get right doesn't get done at all.  This goes for many aspects of my life, and not just blogging.

What I've come to realize is that while there is nothing wrong with trying to do perfect work, in a lot of cases it's more important to just get the work done.  And in many cases, there's no such thing as perfect.

Lately I've been educating myself on the blogging culture.  There are some really awesome resources out there.  And I've come to realize that I need to build up my blog.  Give it some time.  Darren Rowse at ProBlogger reminds me that even the big names in the blogosphere started out small -- most with zero readers for a while.  They key is to keep at it.  Keep writing quality content.  Focus on quality and not quantity, but try to keep posting on a regular schedule.

So I am going to focus on creating content and getting the word out.  I'm not going to worry about having an eye-pleasing design.  Yet.  I'm also going to try to stick to a more regular posting schedule.  This is all a learning process, and an exercise in self-discipline.  I hope you'll stick with me on the journey!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 1 BBBC - Write An Elevator Pitch


Follow along as I take ProBlogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge!

The exercise for Day 1 of the Build a Better Blog challenge was to write an elevator pitch.  This was a good exercise for me, because it helped me to sit down and really decide what I wanted for this blog.

An elevator pitch is an overview or summary of a product or service or person that can be given in about 30 seconds -- the time it takes to ride an elevator.  The idea is that if someone asks you to tell them about yourself (or your blog,or what you do, or what you're selling, etc.), you'll be ready with a short pitch instead of "Uhhh, well, umm..."

To write my elevator pitch, I asked myself a few questions:  What is my blog about?  What information do I want to share?  Who will be reading my blog?

This is what I came up with:

"The Journal Keeper is a place for me to share my personal thoughts on things as I see them."

It's as simple as that.  Nothing fancy or flashy.   You can read the extended version on my About page.

Now, on to Day 2!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Life Handbook



This came to me in an email from a friend. I have no idea where it originally came from, but so many of the items are a part of my life now (and others are what I aspire to do), I wanted to share it.

Happy Sunday!


  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  • Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  • Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  • Make time to pray.
  • Play more games.
  • Read more books than you did in 2009.
  • Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day and just think.
  • Sleep for 7 hours.
  • Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.


  • Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  • Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  • Don't over do. Keep your limits.
  • Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  • Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
  • Dream more while you are awake.
  • Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
  • Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes from the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
  • Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
  • No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  • Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  • Smile and laugh more.
  • You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.


  • Call your family often.
  • Each day give something good to others, even if it is only a laugh.
  • Forgive everyone for everything.
  • Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  • Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.


  • Do the right thing!
  • Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  • GOD heals everything.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
  • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  • The best is yet to come.
  • When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it.
  • Your inner most self is always happy. So, be happy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

31 Days to Build a Better Blog

Mike Licht

I have started many blogs over the course of my internet life.  Some were diaries of my mundane days, some were places to rant about the political climate.  One was an attempt to teach others about journaling, and another was to market my Virtual Assistant business.  In all cases, I gave them up altogether, or have slowed my posting to a snail's pace.

The thing is, I really, really want a blog.  I want to be able to communicate with friends and family about what's happening in my life.  I want to promote the cool things I find and the things I'm interested in.  I want to practice my writing craft.  So I revived this blog, The Journal Keeper, but it has been slow going.

A few weekends ago I was doing some research about blogging, and came across an awesome site:  The Blog Frog.  It's a place where blog owners can connect, share and interact.  While poking around the site and visiting other blogs, I realized more and more that I wanted to be a part of the blogging community.  And that's when I stumbled upon the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge. 

I'll talk more about why I've been unsuccessful at blogging in the past, because I think it's important to learn from the why's.  But for now I want to focus on moving this blog forward, and I think the Build a Better Blog challenge will be a good way to do that.

I am starting a static page (you'll find it over there on the right) as a central place to keep up with my progress.  I'm looking forward to the exercises.  You will notice that I actually started the challenge a week ago, so this post is a little behind.  No worries.

I hope you will follow along as I embark on this challenge.  It will be difficult for me to actually do something for 31 days -- I'll cover that on another day.  So please bring on the encouragement.  I can use it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Things To Do Before I Die


I have kept a list of Things To Do Before I Die in my trusty planner for years.  Since I am considering doing away with the Paper Planner, I thought I would post my list here.  Perhaps putting it out there for the Universe to read will spur things along.

Here's my Bucket List.