Hope for your financial life and beyond

How I Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

blog post ideasHave you ever struggled coming up with blog posts ideas? Whether or not you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, my guess is there have been times when ideas to write about were hard to come by and you suffered from the dreaded writer’s block. When this happens it can be very discouraging and stressful.

I experienced this early in my blogging career. It was as though everyone else had posts to publish day after day and my well had already run dry. Nothing was flowing and I felt my blog was in danger of getting shut down before it even really got started.

So what did I do?

For starters, I didn’t panic. Whenever you start something new it takes the mind some time to adjust to the newness of that thing and begin thinking along those lines. Blogging is no different. Eventually the mind will adapt itself to the concept that you are now a writer and that it needs to be thinking about writing topics – not who’s going to be voted off the island this week on Survivor.

The second thing that I did was pretty dramatic and literally changed the direction of my blog. From then on, and with a few other things I’ve learned along the way, I’ve had little problem coming up with blog post ideas to write about.

Ways to Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

Expand Your Horizon

[Read more…]

Give Me Your Guest Post Yearning to Breathe Free

ID-100223483A belated “Welcome to 2014” from Luke1428! And for you Chinese zodiac fans out there, welcome to “the year of the horse.” I trust your holidays were filled with many blessings and you are looking forward to the upcoming new year.

I’m sure by now you have read countless posts about New Year’s resolutions. Did you make any this year? Perhaps the better question is, have you already broken some of them?

I’ll be honest with you…I haven’t made any yet. That feels weird for me because I’m all about setting and pursuing big goals. I had a whole host of them I worked towards and discussed all of last year on this blog.

Despite my lack-of-resolution status, I have determined that 2014 will be a year of letting go for me.

[Read more…]

Knowing When to Give Yourself a Blogging Break

tied up handIs blogging wearing you down? I know for me there have been various times during the past year where it felt like a drag. I’ve seen this sentiment expressed elsewhere on blogs, so I am fairly certain it’s a common phenomenon.

If you are like me and feel a sense of commitment in keeping to a predefined schedule, you probably just suck it up and write through the tough days. A couple of times this year when I did this though, I felt my writing quality suffered.

If your main income is derived from blogging you don’t have much choice. You essentially have to keep working through the doldrums.

Whatever your situation, it’s a sickening feeling to be tied to something that you can’t (or choose not to) take a break from.

For 2014, I’m going to work on giving myself some freedom to take writing breaks from my blog if I feel the need. Nothing too extended – just skipping a post here or there. I think the benefit to me will be staying fresh and not forcing myself to produce writing that is sub-par.

Are there optimal times to take a break from your blog? I think you should at least consider it on these occasions:

Around Holidays

[Read more…]

My 8 Step Method for Writing a Blog Post

How do you put together a blog post? I had no clue how to answer that question when I first started blogging. I just started writing without much thought to methodology. After several frustrating months, I realized the need to come up with a procedure for writing a blog post.

I needed to be able to see an idea through from inception to publish date. So today I’m going to outline the process I developed for writing a blog post that has helped me avoid some frustration along the way.

8 Steps to Writing a Blog Post

From start to finish this is what I do:

Step 1: The Listing of Ideas

[Read more…]

My A – Z List of Blog Related Things I’m Thankful For

ID-100220145Yes, I know. What a strange thing to write about the day before Thanksgiving. But I figured by this point in the week, everyone must be tired of reading about how everyone is thankful for the same things – family, friends, health, faith, prosperity, food, our freedoms, yada…yada…yada. How boring.

(That or you are traveling and won’t read this anyway.)

So, I’m taking a different route today with an A-Z list of blogging related things I’ve come to be most thankful for in the past year.

And yes, if you are wondering…I’m extremely thankful for all those things above as well.

A Blogging Thankfulness List

[Read more…]

Revisiting Why I’m Here at the 200th Post: The Luke1428 Value Proposition

I didn’t anticipate this journey. Three years ago writing on a blog wasn’t just the last thing on my mind – the thought didn’t even reside in my mind. Blogging was a foreign land I knew nothing about.

Yet, here I am today, almost 18 months and over 143,000 written words into this endeavor, publishing my 200th post. In that time span, there have been many personal finance blogs that have pumped out more content on their sites than I have on mine. I’m not jealous of that fact but rather feel exceptionally pleased with my progress, considering I’ve been doing this part time.

I still have a lengthy road ahead though to become an awesome blogger. That’s my goal. I consider today’s post a valuable step in that direction.

Humble and Clueless Beginnings

[Read more…]

The Boy vs. the Blog – Exercises in Giving

Hidden Nugget Series #10 – “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

800px-Football_on_groundToo often my thoughts degenerate into believing that only quantity has value. In other words, I mistakenly believe that when giving, it needs to be done in great amounts. While there are times and places to give generously, perhaps even exorbitantly, I’m convinced that isn’t the norm.

Last week I’m seated one evening at our downstairs computer pounding out another Luke1428 blog post. I’m on a roll as each sentence is coming quickly. (Oh if it were only this easy to write every blog post.) Then half-way through my glorious blog-writing experience, disaster struck.

My 10-year old son peeks around the corner and asks me to throw the football with him.

Ugh. Major cognitive dilemma.

Do I go play with him and risk losing my train of thought? (It’s incredible frustrating to have a writing groove interrupted.) Or do I simply tell him “Sorry bud, daddy is working and can’t play right now?”

What would you do?

[Read more…]

10 Reasons People Don’t Tweet Your Post

(Disclaimer: This is the longest post I’ve ever written at Luke1428 – over 2700 words including this disclaimer. It’s been in my mind for awhile and a recent article at my blog prompted its posting. Let me dispel any notion at the start that I am upset at someone for not tweeting my posts. I love the community that is growing here and the readers I’ve encountered. You have added so much to this site that I am grateful  for the interactions and any Twitter love I receive from you. This post was born out of my first year blogging experience and is mostly designed to help up and coming bloggers understand the psychology of Twitter users and to not become frustrated when it seems no one notices or shares their work. With that said, I hope you enjoy this article and if you don’t have time to read my epic now, bookmark it for later consumption. Thanks!)

twitter-bird-white-on-blueWhen I first started blogging over a year ago, the question that serves as this post’s title gnawed at my brain every time I would put a new article on my site. Compared to where Luke1428 is now, I was getting pretty much no traffic in those early days. As I heard my blogger friend Shannon from The Heavy Purse say once on her site, “Only the crickets were reading.” Now that’s funny! But a few months in, I could see from the site statistics that people were viewing my posts. And more specifically people I knew that had Twitter accounts were leaving remarks in the post comment section.

So why wasn’t I getting any Twitter love? I mean, the Twitter share tab is right there at the end of the post. If you cared enough to read (and especially if you left a comment) why not tweet it out to all your followers? Seems like the courteous thing to do, right? Needless to say, I was very confused as a newbie blogger.

Last Tuesday, I wrote a post entitled “Freedom: It’s Why Budgets Rock!” that generated a lot of buzz on my site and at the various social networks. I responded to 15 comments, received 7 Shares and 9 Likes on Facebook and had an astounding 29 Tweets (only three of which were generated by me). So 26 other people felt that article deserved to be shared on Twitter, making it the most tweeted post I’ve ever had.

(I know those statistics are chicken feed for some of you but I was pumped!)

(Shameless plug update: Since I wrote this, another post “Is the Effort to Get Rich Worth It?” has received 37 tweets. Go figure.)

What made these posts stand out more than others? Believe me, I’m still trying to digest that because whatever it was, I need to do more of that. I have my theories and will share some ideas about tweeting shortly.

[Read more…]

Will You Still Love Me If I Blog For Money?

blog for moneyIt’s a tad bit presumptuous of a post title, don’t you think? I’m taking a gigantic leap in assuming my readers love and appreciate the content they get at Luke1428. Furthermore, that they would continue to tune in day after day if there was an inexplicable directional shift in my blog philosophy – like if I chose to blog for money?

As it stands now, Luke1428 is growing. June and July have seen the best viewership to date in the little over a year the site has been up and running. Why risk ruining a good thing now?

Because I believe this space can be better. Maybe even awesome!

But let me ease any apprehension you might be having right from the start. I could never blog for money only. It’s not in my DNA.

Why I’m Here

[Read more…]

I’m Having a Yak-Attack!

Heart PulseMy hand is resting gently on the mouse, scrolling and clicking. Without warning,  a strange sensation comes over me. My upper body begins to feel a tightening pressure like the whole center of my chest is squeezing inward. The skin on my arm turns clammy, as my hand breaks out in a sweat.

Why can’t I breathe? Where is this anxiety coming from? I’m just working on the computer here.

Ok…settle down…you can do this. Copy code. Paste into widget. Save. Refresh.

Boom! I’m a Yakezie Challenger! Whew…that wasn’t so bad.

My sincere apologies to heart victims everywhere who experienced those symptoms and were faced with a life and death situation. Heart issues have impacted my family on more than one occasion so I certainly don’t employ those symptoms with jest. Only to point out the physiological and emotional tensions I experienced on a minute level as I concluded it was time to push my blogging self once again. Maybe you don’t get nervous about stretching yourself and going out on a limb like this, but I do.

[Read more…]

This Little Light of Mine

CandleHidden Nuggets Series #1

Have you ever lost your way? I have on more than one occasion, including this past year while writing for Luke1428. Unintentionally, I strayed from the vision that sparked the purchase of this domain name in early 2012.

It started sometime this past January when I began to incorporate less and less of a spiritual perspective in my writing. My vision for Luke1428 had been to share what God had revealed to me about money and personal finance through my reading of the Bible. It’s littered all through the Bible’s pages, really valuable and practical applications that anyone, religious or not, could appreciate.

I started out gangbusters on that vision.

I ended blog year #1 fizzling out on it.

[Read more…]