By Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor of Write to Done
When you start a blog, it can seem as if you are a tiny island in the vast ocean of the Internet. But you soon realize that you are part of a interactive network and lively community.
Why blogs are the brain of the world
If you think about the network that blogs form, and imagine a graphic representation, you can see something familiar. Because each blog with its connections looks like a neuron in the brain with its many synapses. Each ‘thought’ or post in this ‘ueberbrain’ triggers other neurons and results in a new ‘thought’.
Write to Done has grown into big blog because many people have inspired each other to make it happen. It’s an illustration of a blog as a brain. Here’s the story of WTD:
Write to Done was started by Leo Babauta on the 9th of January, 2008. His first post How to Write Without Distractions contains this memorable quote:
Writing is a fairly lonely business unless you invite people in to watch you do it, which is often distracting and then you have to ask them to leave. – Marc Lawrence
Luckily all of us here at WTD are writers so we can keep company – without distracting each other.
I was very excited when I saw that Leo had started a writers’ blog. I must have been one of the very first subscribers of WTD.
Soon afterwards I offered Leo a guest post. When he said ‘yes’, I ran around in tight circles, screaming so loudly that the neighbors rang up. At that time, my blog GoodlifeZEN still had less than 100 subscribers, so it was a great opportunity for me to have Juicy Writing: 5 Ways to Glue Readers to the Page published.
Leo went through a very busy patch in June and July of 2008 and I started lending him a hand at WTD. In the end we agreed to share Write to Done, and I subsequently took up the position of Chief Editor. You can read the story of how that happened in my article Why Leo Gave Me His Blog At the time Write to Done had 4,500 subscribers.
One of the most interesting experiments I undertook as a new Chief Editor was to interview Liz Strauss: The Secret of Being a Successful and Outstanding Writer
We devised a great way to do the interview by approximating a face-to-face conversation by email. I sent her one question at a time, she would answer. Then we would sent follow-up remarks and questions back and forth, until it was time for the next question. It was a time-intensive way to conduct an interview, but it created a rare human depth.
While Write to Done grew at a steady pace, Leo’s central blog Zen Habits experienced a meteoric rise.
Here are two posts that show up why Leo is one of the most experienced and successful bloggers worldwide:
The Anatomy of a Post: How to Get Blog Readers to Play Attention and Concise Answers to Your Top Beginner Blogging Questions
Working shoulder to shoulder with Leo at Write to Done gave me an amazing chance to learn from a master blogger. I began to dream about creating an opportunity where other keen bloggers could also learn from Leo.
In October of 2009 the dream became reality. Leo and I launched our first A-List Blogging Bootcamp. It rocked! Many of the participants were Write to Done subscribers. Quite a few have since written guest posts for Write to Done.
Talking about guest posts, I recently got an email from a new guest poster, saying: “Write to Done is a fantastic place to land a guest post because you take the time to train inexperienced bloggers.” It’s true, I enjoy coaching rookies on how to become confident and successful guest posters. Recently I replied to a new guest poster like this:
“Sure – I’m always happy to look at a guest post. Let’s think of this as a training opportunity. The first thing you need to learn is how to sharpen your pitch. Now, let’s pretend you’ve never written to me. Write me a good pitch – make sure you include a couple of links to your best posts, and a guest post or two so that I can see your style. Also, add the four following steps…”
After four weeks the end result was a very successful guest post.
I love the Write to Done community! Comments are supportive and friendly. There’s no bitching or ranting. Everyone is upbeat and helpful.
Write to Done is now hovering on the edge of 16,000 subscribers.
We are celebrating this new milestone with a makeover. It’s a family affair: Eric Hamm has kindly given us a copy of his beautiful Frugal theme with the Zen Habits skin. Leo created the mnmalst header.
It’s time for thanks. I’d like to thank Leo for believing in me, and for being a great partner and friend. My heartfelt thanks also to our many great guest writer. And to you – our wonderful readers – I’m grateful for your loyal support. You make Write to Done the inspiring place it is.
All of us together make Write to Done a part of the brain of the world.
Mary Jaksch is a Zen Master and the Chief Editor of Write to Done. Read more on her blog Goodlife Zen.Together with Leo Babauta, she created the most comprehensive training for bloggers, the A-List Blogger Club.
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