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February 1, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

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.

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8 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Ayngelina / Feb 8 2011 5:31 am

    Hey I just had a survey!!

    Not offended 🙂 I’m with you on the main point. For me I was starting to lean away from my original topic of straight travel and suspected my audience was ready for more. But instincts were right and they were. But in the end if they weren’t I would have gone that way anyway.

    • Justin Hamlin / Feb 8 2011 6:16 am

      Ayngelina –

      Glad to see you got out of the survey what you were looking for. For me, I need to define that main point, and I think I am starting to get there. I have some very cool ideas for the start of the blog in March, so definitely looking forward to it.

      Thanks for the inspiration and your blog, definitely has given me some great ideas!

  2. Ayngelina / Feb 8 2011 6:37 am

    Well I’ll follow wherever you decide to go with it!

  3. Ryan Renfrew @LifestyleDesign / Feb 9 2011 1:33 pm

    Justin,

    I believe focus is mega important to a blog. I find it hard myself to stay focused on stay on target. Personally I read blogs that talk about one specific thing but talk about it indepth or blogs that talk about a few things but from a focused point of view.

    bLAZE yOUR tRAIL

    • Justin Hamlin / Feb 9 2011 4:43 pm

      My problem was I started the blog and I was not focused on what I was trying to accomplish. I had a mission statement, but it was different across various services.

      This is my chance to unify everything and come out with a strong mission, focus and gameplan. I am already excited, just have to figured out how to execute it.

  4. Dalene / Feb 9 2011 1:45 pm

    I am very anxious to see what your ultimate direction will be come March! You write so well, you have an excellent “voice”, and I’m glad that you are taking the time you need to focus. So many bloggers (including us) could stand to do the same thing at times. We *thought* we knew what we were doing, but then were ultimately overwhelmed in the first few weeks with what everyone else was doing – we thought we need to play catch-up. , until we calmed down and realized what we needed to do to be true to us.

    You’re doing it the right way, for sure.

    Best of luck with your “launch”. We’ll be right there with ya. Cheers!

  5. Sofia - As We Travel / Feb 12 2011 6:05 pm

    Great article, I agree, focus and having a plan are very important!

    I find that plans make it easier to stay focused.

    Good luck with your launch 🙂

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