Category Archives: Writing

Goals For 2012

Hard to believe we have another year behind us. While 2011 turned out pretty dull and average, 2012 is setting up to be anything but.

If anything, the 2012 U.S. election will prove to make this year exciting, as well as all the talk of the end of the Mayan Calendar. Most people I talk to believe something big is going to happen this year, but as always, we shall see.

Most years my goals revolve around learning….

Last year for instance my main goal revolved around compiling everything I have learned about personal finance, personal health, and personal development into a book. This was my main project for Insight Writer and I have to say I fell pretty short of the goal.

I ended up compiling most of the ways I have thought about personal finance into 52 posts over the past 5 months. The hard work of making it into a book is still before me.

I planned on making one book, but decided during the course of things to create three books about each topic, then eventually make a 4th book that incorporates everything I have ever written over at Insight Writer.

At the pace I am going, I’ll be lucky to produce two books next year, the personal finance and personal health ones. But that’s ok because Insight Writer has always been a legacy project for me.

I also started another blog called to focus on local businesses, but after a month or two of serious effort put into my passion for it ran out. Currently, I am deciding on whether or not I want to renew the domain come May, which is when I originally started it. My passion just isn’t there.

This year I stumbled upon the permaculture movement and it has greatly intrigued me. This has rekindled my interest in renewable energy, farming, and simple living. I hope to continue learning a lot more in this area and apply the lessons learned in my life.

Related to this topic is the concept of how we engineer and design our lives. I probably shouldn’t start another blog project, but I think I am going to start an engineering related blog. Studying engineering has greatly interested me for awhile and I think it is time for me to delve a little more into the field.

While some of the above goals came up a little short this year, I pretty much had a grand slam of health and fitness related goals.

I completed the Tough Mudder event in June with three of my good friends. It was an absolute blast training for, and ultimately accomplishing the event! Every weekend we trained in some tough conditions. Running up sheer mountains and jumping into the iciest of rivers. It might just be a guy thing, but it is hard to explain the pride that comes with attaining a certain physical ability.

I also ran two 10k’s this year, shaving 7 minutes off my previous Bolder Boulder 10k run, dropping my time down to 52 minutes. I hope to destroy my best time again and drop it down into the 45 minute range.

I also ran a marathon this year with minimal training (3 weeks to be exact). I had an excellent 13.1 mile time of 2:03 in training, but then failed to get a 4:30 marathon time. This was my 2nd marathon and I doubt I will ever do one again. They are just too tough on the body.

And I have come a long way as a cook this year, mostly inspired by the Paleo Diet movement. I’ve learned the magic of vinegar in cooking meat among other things. I’ve started to master a lot of recipes like Pad Thai and Fish Tacos as well. Nothing like being able to cook better food than the restaurants can.

I also started weight training in September because I lost a lot of weight and probably some muscle mass doing all the endurance training. I planned to add 10 pounds of muscle and added 5.3 pounds of muscle along with 7 pounds of fat (yeah, ate just too many calories). I bought a year membership at Better Bodies which is only 10 dollars a month and is a pretty large gym so I will spend the rest of the year trying to add as much muscle mass as I can.

Since I plan on writing the health book this coming year, I figured I better really fine tune all the things it takes to be in good health. Exercise routines, eating habits, etc.

This year I plan to pay off my school loan, finish the last few projects on my house, and make more money than I have ever made before. And probably save more money than I ever have before. Basically make more money, and spend the same or less than I have been spending.

One thing I plan on doing is only drinking tea or water this year as an experiment. To save money and be in good health. No coffee, no soda, or any other caffeinated products. No alcohol. No fruit juice. No drink with any calories whatsoever. While each of the things listed above may have some benefits, I think the cons slightly edge them out.

I really want to dial in my diet. Basically by eating the least expensive whole foods I can. Save my money and my health. For instance, I plan on staying away from processed meats. More on that later…

Basically this seems to be a year where I plan on increasing my money and my health, both topics I plan on writing books on this year.

So as usual, this year will be a lot about learning, and a lot of growing.

And perhaps always in practice, but seldom mentioned up front. I want to learn more how to love and respect people for who they are. Sometimes it is hard to remember that there are more good people than bad in this world, but I truly believe it. I want to practice the remembrance of this idea daily. Perhaps my hardest goal, and perhaps my most worthy goal in the new year.

Happy New Year To ALL and To ALL a Wonderful, AMAZING, Great Night!!!

Also posted in Blogging, Insight Writer, Life Tagged |

On Fasting, Volume Workouts, & Alkaline/Acidic Diets

Just wanted to let you know that The Personal Finance Challenge is humming along quite nicely on Insight Writer. I have already published 12 articles with about 4 more already in the works. The goal is to get to 52 by Thanksgiving. And then work on editing and layout in December for a book release in January. In January I will start strong with 52 articles on health, diet, and exercise and have another book released by June. I will repeat the process again over the summer and fall to have a final personal development book released by Thanksgiving in time for the Christmas season.

My plan is to release an ebook for $2.99 and a paperback book for something like $7.95 up to $9.95.

My question to you is should I release the ebook for free, or should I charge the $2.99 as planned. When releasing something for free you have the potential to reach a wider audience. On the flip side, although I am passionate about these subjects, I would like to see some financial reward for the effort involved in putting together, marketing, and releasing an ebook.

What are your thoughts?

Onto my current research….

I am currently digging through the archives at and absolutely loving everything Martin has to say about nutrition and exercise.

The main subject I am digging into now is how intermittent fasting can help keep bodyfat low. Martin’s writing might cater a little more to bodybuilders and athletes, but what he has to say can be applied to anyone’s life. As you can guess by now, a lot of my current research will be published on Insight Writer in the New Year.

So I just had a personal trainer convince me it was a good idea to do a volume workout. While the verdict is still out about how much mass this will help me build, I am pretty sure it is going to help me increase my strength and endurance a lot. I have to do more research on it, but I think volume workouts could be helpful in building mass if you allow A LOT of recovery time after them. My current belief is that they are simply too destructive to do on a regular basis and still add muscle. I think if I do them once or twice a month at most though they will help me break through any plateaus I reach in the future.

Reading forums like this one on show the real debate among everyone on how volume workouts fit into your exercise routine.

This article makes the case for Low Volume Workouts, and cites numerous studies and examples to back it up.

For now I am sticking to the low volume, high intensity workout advocated by Tim Ferriss in his book the 4 Hour Body. It is alternatively called Geek to Freak, or Occam’s Protocol, named after the Occam’s Razor principal.

Finally I am starting to also research Alkaline vs. Acidic foods and how they should fit into your diet. The general idea is to gradually increase the amount of Alkaline foods you eat. The average American diet has about 60-70% acid forming foods in it. The idea is to switch your diet so you eat about 60-70% alkaline forming foods. This is mostly accomplished by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.

And, by food combining! Yep, it all ties in. A steak (which is acid forming) should be eaten with a hearty helping of vegetables (which are alkaline forming), such as broccoli or a salad, so they balance each other out.

There are a ton of myths about eating and exercise out there and I hope to help debunk as many as I can by showing you research that proves them otherwise.

One thing is for sure, of all diet plans out there, NONE of them have anything bad to say about adding more vegetables to your diet. So don’t forget to eat your veggies! 😉

Also posted in Blogging, Insight Writer, Life, Web Logs Tagged , , , , |

I’m Starting a New Business – Want to Follow Along?

I’ve decided to start a new online business. One that will hopefully provide me with a lot of case studies and other experience that I can write about here @

The business is called Lokolee and it will serve two purposes…

“We are crazy for local business. We give business listing and email marketing support to your local mom & pop businesses.”

This is the primary function of the website

All local businesses will be able to enjoy the benefits of free business listings. And they will be able to include any coupons or deals they are currently running too. Essentially will help market a company’s local coupons and/or local deals in a much more cost effective manner than any current competitor out there.

On the back end I will be partnering with a select few companies to help improve their web presence, and to give them excellent email marketing support. Online marketing campaigns can be both cost effective and achieve big results if they are done right. Unfortunately, many companies are doing it wrong, or not even attempting to do it at all.

Lokolee will provide a ton of free information about how a business can increase their online presence through our blogand newsletter. However, Lokolee members will receive one on one support and training to achieve even greater results.

Sometimes a few more sales every month is what will make or break a business. And one of the best ways to increase sales is to strengthen your marketing efforts. Online marketing is a big piece of that, and getting bigger every day. It is wise to do what you can to help make your business a great one!

Also posted in Blogging, Business Advice, Entrepreneur, Investing, Lokolee, Marketing & Sales Tagged , , , , , |

7 Thoughts on Ebooks vs. DTB’s

I’ve been spending hours upon hours researching this issue and these are my thoughts thus far…

For those that don’t know yet (i just learned this), DTB is the affectionate name some people have started calling physical paper book. The acronym stands for Dead Tree Books.

In any case, here are some of the things I’ve discovered.

1. My personal experience is that some of my favorite bloggers are releasing pdf books and making decent money from low volume, high profit sales. Seems to work as a business model although I doubt it is sustainable.

2. Joe Konrath is pretty much the evangelist for ebooks and his blog is the go to place for all things fiction and ebook related. Here is a good link to check out…

3. Fiction is the #1 thing selling on Kindle right now. Although this might change I think for the time being most ebook readers are leisure readers and they aren’t trying to learn something (i.e. non-fiction). Forget about the fact that a lot of non-fiction is entertainment and has nothing to do with learning. 😉

4. The market is growing and growing rapidly and Kindle is in a very good position to simply dominate the market. This means at least going with a Kindle version is worth thinking about.

5. Do you want to make money or build an audience? Do you want to reach the most people or just a few? Answering those questions should tell you how you will publish.

6. Any success in book writing will require you to keep producing. Your original book sales will peak and fall, and unless you have a true classic your sales will fall to a trickle. To do this full time you have to keep producing and I feel like that is easier to do when you are a fiction writer. 😉

7. This wouldn’t be complete without a 7th… No matter what you do, what platform you choose, you still have to be business savvy and know how to market yourself. There is a reason distributors make the lion’s share of revenue in the book business. They make the sales.

Once again, you decide whats important for you. Is it more important to be a writer or a marketer? High profit, low volume ebooks or low profit, high volume traditional books? Neither one if necessarily better and its best just to choose whats important for you.

Update: Good little link I just found at Wired magazine. Title : Amazon Sells More Ebooks Then Hardcovers…

Link on the Wall Street Jounal. Title : ‘Vanity’ Press Goes Digital

Last but not least, Cory Doctorow, and how he gives away his work for free… Free Download of his book “Makers”

Also posted in Blogging, Marketing & Sales Tagged , , , |

Why Classics Will Always Be Best

And by classics I mean written works that have withstood the test of time.

Lately I’ve been making an effort to read all the 1 star reviews of books I’m interested in on It is amazing to see how well written and insightful some of these reviews can be. Like my last post about critics, if you really think about it, you can see just how valuable critics really are.

Back to the classics…

If a classic is a classic you can tell one thing about it for sure… people are STILL getting a lot of value out of it.

It’s not a classic because it is popular or hyped by all the media, or anything else. It is a classic because it serves its purpose well.

Many of our modern day books will turn into classics. You and I could certainly guess at a few of them. But because there are so many of them to wade through, and because there is so much “fluff” out there, perhaps our time would be better served by simply reading those that are already classics.

A great place to start is the Harvard Classics.

I have read most of the 51 books in the collection, and do plan on finishing all of them within the near future. One thing I can tell you is that this collection will certainly broaden your mind, your outlook on life and the human condition, and will make you a better person indeed.

With a quick search on Google I found one of the best lists for business classics was made by Entrepreneur magazine. They entitle their article Novel Ideas, and they do a great job at reviewing them by saying three things. Why it mattered, why it still matters, and what to ignore. Well balanced advice for picking a business book to read.

I will be posting my own list of top business classics very soon. Please take the time to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss out. 😉

Also posted in Blogging, Philosophy, Reading Well Tagged , |

Shout Out To Jacob @ Early Retirement Extreme

I’ve been reading Jacob’s blog for awhile and this is a guy who is living the life.

At the age of 33 he retired by using a combination of working hard, living extremely frugally (by American standards), and investing wisely.

His blog is full of great wisdom and advice on the above subjects.

Perhaps most people won’t ever aspire to live exactly like him (he doesn’t expect that), but I think we could all benefit from moving in that direction.

In any case, the reason I am writing this today is to let you know he just got his first book published today. I obviously haven’t read it yet, but I am sure it will be just as great as the blog. Here is the link…

The ERE Book Has Been Published!

UPDATE: I’ve read the book and it’s great… Early Retirement Extreme Review

Also posted in Business Advice, Career Advice, Entrepreneur, Minimalism, Philosophy Tagged , , |

This was written before…

Just last night I had an epiphany of sorts…

I was reading one of Brian Tracy’s great books before I went to bed and I recognized a business idea that I had just read in an ebook by Seth Godin.

I thought to myself, “Huh, who stole who’s idea?”

But then it struck me that both of them probably stole their idea from an even earlier person.

Then when I thought about it further I began to realize that all great ideas tend to be shared by those at the top.

I’ve heard it said before that, “All great ideas bear repeating.

And we all need constant reminders of what is important. That’s what all great leaders do. They help us to remember what is important.

Even though this was written before let it be said over and over and over again till we get it in our heads.

All great ideas are worth repeating. And all great leaders continue to repeat them.

Also posted in Blogging, Business Advice, Philosophy Tagged |

On Writing Well

You know a book is good when you have to read it a 2nd time…

Or a 3rd or 4th for that matter! I love when I find books like that. Ones that can stay in my permanent library and won’t be sold on Amazon or sent to the thrift store.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser is just such a book…

It’s a great read and is chock full of great information and examples about writing. I believe I originally found it on the Personal MBA 99 Best Business Books reading list.

As a writer I can’t say I have stumbled upon a better book about writing. I plan on reading this every year until I have the book memorized.

Currently I am on the section that talks about business writing and I thought that it might be very beneficial for my blog readers to hear a little about it.

The very first thing William says is that humanity and clear thinking are the biggest parts of writing well.

If our work requires us to write to someone we often tend to write in a way that is too formal, too stuffy, too full of jargon, and just too plain cold. While we are often required to write in a certain format there is certainly no rule that tells us we need to write like robots. No rule that tells us that we have to write without using our brains. Yet that is what we tend to do.

To use an example from the book, we tend to write about things such as “prioritized evaluative procedures” and “modified departmentalized schedules”, and then actually expect people to understand what we are talking about.

The first bit of advice to help us write more humanly is to not be afraid to use the personal pronoun I. Unless the format strictly forbids it, we should let our memos and other written forms of transmitting information use the word I. They can start with I and end with I and can talk about all the you’s in between. They should tell the story of people within or outside the organization and the relationship they have with the information being presented.

Of course this also requires us to write clearly. William constantly states throughout the book that writing clearly is simply thinking clearly on paper. Your writing is like your thinking, and if your thinking is unorganized and messy, so will your writing be too.

So be conscious of your writing in every form. Really think about it before you hit the save and/or send button. Ask yourself… “Is this human?” “Does it talk about relationships?” “Will people actually understand what I mean?” “Will this effectively get my message across?”

A writer can have no expectation of being understood if they are not willing to make sure their writing is clearly thought out and is written as humanly as possible.

Also posted in Blogging Tagged , |