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1 Tip to Seize Your Reader’s Attention Like a Vice Grip



I'm often found splitting coconuts with machetes in Costa Rica. Not facing down spitting cobras in Bali.

I’m often found splitting coconuts with machetes in Costa Rica. Not facing down spitting cobras in Bali.


The spitting cobra locked onto me.

He bobbed to and fro, doing a deadly dance few people ever get to see and live to tell about it.

I wasn’t a snake charmer cockily and confidently lazing in front of a defanged snake.

I was a scared Booley in Bali.

The spitting cobra hissed.

He could have easily projected his venom 10 feet into the air, aiming for our eyes, as spitters typically do.

My Balinese neighbor even shared a sad tale of how her dog was blinded and killed by a spitting cobra.

After a few tense moments and a lethal jab from a spade by my friend the cobra lay on a wall, headless.

He decapitated the snake.

I buried the cobra, dead mother hen and 2 dead baby chicks the following day.

The weirdest thing about this experience?

I learned a brilliant blogging lesson that you struggling bloggers *need* to learn.

Here’s what it is: always be prepared.

Until the moments where you find yourself completely unprepared.

Then, you just need to run with it until you’re done with it.

Or, you need to see any hairy, challenging or difficult blogging situation through, by any means possible.


Storytelling and Blogging


No way in Hades you’d read those prior 16 lines and say:

“Yeah, typical blogger goes to Bali, faces down a spitting cobra, helps his friend decapitate one of the most dangerous snakes on earth type stories to lead in a post….BORING!”

I probably arrested your attention after you read the first line.

I snagged your focus.

Like the spitting cobra grabbed my focus the split second I got within spitting range of this impressive, beautiful and terrifying reptile in a Balinese fishing village.

Blogging From Paradise ain’t always about sitting on tropical beaches and drinking fresh coconut juice, ya know?

Anyway, the story I told pulled you in.


You had no other choice.

You *had to* pay attention.

If you want your readers to lock on like a pitbull grasping a play toy or heck, like a spitting cobra zeroing in on a mouse (or on a well-built, storytelling, island hopping, Amazon best selling pro blogger), simply tell stories and link the stories into your niche.


No Need to Be Exotic


Commonplace, day to day stories are entrancing too.

Everybody loves a good story. And everybody has a good story to tell.

You are human. By default, your life is a story.

Cave men told stories and every human since then has lived and told a story.

Doesn’t matter if you’re facing down spitting cobras or sharing challenging tales of building your blog part time as a single mom of 3 growing kids.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a college student struggling to publish one post a week while trying to ace a challenging major.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a meteorologist, former fired security guard and current world traveler who inspires people to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging (yes, that’s me. Meteorologist by schooling. Al Roker, eat your heart out).

Some of my life’s wildest stories occurred during my days as a security guard in a shipping terminal.

Life is an intriguing story.

Every blogger has a story to tell if you can learn to:

  • Observe
  • Add details to build a vivid picture
  • Link the story to your niche


How to Tell Stories


1: Observe


Observe your life.

What happened today?

Tell 3 to 5 stories – out loud – to yourself, to develop your power of observation.

Here are a few stories of mine from today: I spoke to someone on the train who asked me what I’d say “paradise” is, after I suggested he buy one of my 126 eBooks on Amazon, when he gazed at the back of my Blogging From Paradise T-shirt. I noted paradise is wherever you’re happy, then suggested the island of Fiji and Bali as 2 of my fave islands, where I am pretty dang happy. He suggested I visit St. Kitts and Barbados. This happened on a New York City Subway.

I listened to a kinda out there woman scream about Moses, keeping your money hidden and being evicted from a corner deli on the subway.

I spoke to a deli owner while he prepared a delicious bacon, ham and cheese hero sandwich for me here in NYC. Learned he was from Yemen. And that Yemen was in a civil war. Which I’m afraid to say, I was unaware of. I told him how we visited Cyprus and Istanbul, Turkey recently. We then talked Syrian refugees.

So many stories to tell when you observe them.


2: Add Details to Build a Vivid Picture


Add as many details as possible to your picture.

Read Will Hatton’s blog, The Broke Backpacker.

Dude is a brilliant story teller who vividly takes you through his wild world travels, one detail at a time.

Add details to your daily stories.

Colors, movements, sounds, everything.

You think in pictures.

If you build a detailed blog story you do much of your reader’s legwork for them.


3: Link the Story to Your Niche


Link the story to your niche.

I turned my experience with a Balinese spitting cobra into a blogging lesson: be prepared, until the poop hits the fan. Then, be flexible, be in the moment and roll with the situation.

Connect your story to your blogging niche. Lead off with a colorful blog post title (grab my eBook if you’re struggling to write effective blog post titles).

Develop a connection to transition from the true tale to some super important lesson for your readers.


You don’t always need to tell stories through your blog, like I used to do a few months back.

Just work them in here and there to captivate your readers.


Your Turn


Do you use stories to reel in your readers?

Or are you having a terrible time trying to seize your reader’s attention?

What storytelling tips can you add?


Blogging Audio Course


If you’re looking for a complete blogging audio course to help you become a successful blogger sign up for my 11 Fundamentals of Successful Blogging (plus an entire bonus audio course.)

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How Much Confidence Do You REALLY Have in Your Blog?



Watch this video I recorded in Brooklyn Heights today:

Sweet view, eh? I made a powerful point too. Bloggers sometimes boast of their confidence and clarity. Puffing themselves up, they believe deeply in themselves and in their blog. Critics? Who cares? These dynamos seem unstoppable. Belief! Success is on the way, right? Awesome. Then, after mentioning their blog in front of a parent or sibling or cousin, their loved ones make fun of “blogging”, telling these idiots to “get a real job”. OUCH! Like a balloon being popped, your loved ones took a pin to your ego, deflating you. AND showing how you genuinely have little confidence in your blog. Turns out, you feel filled with doubt and pure uncertainty about your blog AND in yourself, blogging-wise. This is a good thing. Critics trigger and unearth deep fears you need to face, feel and release, to reach the next stage of your blogging career. So…how much confidence do you REALLY have in your blog? Talk about your blog to friends and family members, or to strangers. You will find out. Fast. Because these folks are non-targeted and often highly NOT interested in blogging.

I recall mentioning my blog to my fam about 10 years ago. Before doing this, I believed I felt super confident about my blog and self. I BELIEVED in myself! Wild-eyed, ignorant, deluded newbie blogging excitement covered up the fact I doubted myself and my blogging abilities, horribly. After that little chat – even though no family member seemed terribly critical – I felt like crap. Awkward, and lost, my family’s questions triggered deep fears in me. I doubted myself. I doubted my blog. In truth, I had no idea what I was doing because I refused to learn from pros. Bad idea. Naturally, I gained confidence after this session – eventually – because I faced and felt doubts eating into my blogging confidence.

The quickest way to gain blogging confidence is to discuss your blog and what you do with anybody on earth, from friends, to fam, to strangers. Never try to convince or influence or convert folks, because doing so shows your lack of confidence. Let people live their lives and make their choices. Your job is to see how shy or clear you feel discussing your blog. Shy bloggers feeling awkward chatting blogging with folks simply feel filled with fear. Blogging fears need to go for you to succeed. Speak about blogging in public. Broadcast live in a public spot. Record videos in busy spots with heavy foot traffic, as I did above, in Brooklyn. Face, feel and release self-conscious fears that need to go for you to reach the next stage of blogging growth.

One way to be a smarter and richer blogger is by facing your blogging fears routinely. Speaking to or in front of fam or strangers about your blog certainly unearths some of those deep fears. Do it. See where you are at, confidence-wise. Being straight with yourself is hands down one of the quickest ways to accelerate your blogging success. Relax, share your blogging exploits and honestly assess how you feel, to increase your blogging success.

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Writing: Your Best Blogging Friend



Writing helps you succeed with blogging. Because writing gives you credibility. Credible bloggers land clients, sell eBooks, place sponsored posts and drive steady traffic, too. Write your rear end off. Write 500-1000 words daily. Write to be confident. Write to be clear. Write to gain credibility in your blogging niche. Of course, most bloggers struggle because few bloggers practice writing offline, daily. Bloggers only write when they publish a blog post or guest post. BIG mistake. Most bloggers publish posts infrequently, meaning you get in little writing practice. Not good.

Why do you believe you can just show up, write and publish a post and become successful quickly? If blogger were this easy, guys like me could have gone pro within weeks of buying my domain and hosting. Alas, it took me thousands of hours and years to go full time because I had to practice writing, creating and connecting to be REALLY good at blogging. Skills, exposure and credibility flow to bloggers who tirelessly practice all aspects of blogging. Everybody else fails and quits.

All money you make through blogging flows to you because people trust you and your blog. Writing skillfully – with confidence and clarity – is the only way people trust you and your blog. The more you write, the more skilled a writer you become. The formula is genuinely simple. But quite uncomfortable to put into action, sometimes. Few bloggers want to practice writing with nobody watching. Some bloggers foolishly skip writing practice because they believe writing offline for practice wastes their time. This is like saying you waste your time practicing shooting hoops in a lonely, empty gym if you aspire to make it to the NBA. NBA stars practiced 10,000 hours or more, often times in quiet, lonely gyms, and always *in private, out of the public eye, with nobody watching*, to become skilled enough to go pro. Expect to take a similar journey in order to become a professional blogger.

Writing is your core skill. If you write well, you make money online. If you write poorly, you do not make money online.

Buy my eBook:

15 Ways to Make Money Blogging

Every way to profit – out of these 15 strategies – can work quite nicely if you practice writing offline daily. Practice to become confident. Practice to become clear on your writing. Confident, clear writers write with authority. Writing with authority inspires trust in your readers. Again; this is a simple process. But sometimes, this process feels uncomfortable. Nudge through discomfort. Write, write and write some more. People who trust you based on your writing skills tend to buy your eBooks, hire you to coach them, hire you to freelance write for them and buy sponsored posts on your blog. Be diligent in writing. The money flows to you based on how much you practice writing. Plus, practicing your writing makes you prolific. Being prolific increase your blog traffic and blogging profits, too. No downsides exist to writing offline daily. Only upsides. So….write!

Practice in private. Shine in public.

Any successful blogger you envy now practiced writing so diligently that you would never envy their writing practice. After having written millions of words both online and offline, nobody envies the work I put into going pro. But being free to circle the globe? Worth it!

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Do You Assume too Much?



One of the biggest problems in blogging; bloggers assume too much. Perfect example is someone emails looking for your best sponsored post price. Right away, most bloggers fear losing money to a cheapie because they ASSUMED someone looking for the best price is cheap. Based on past experience. NO! Do NOT do this. Because based on NOT assuming, but being open and in the moment, more than a handful of folks looking for the best price placed orders at my full price, when I shared it was my final price. I rarely if ever assume because assuming cuts you off from traffic and money, based on past experience and future expectations.

These days, I am more in the moment. I am open. Let’s say a blogger quotes their sponsored post price as being $100. A blogger outreach service pro asks for a lower, better price. In that moment, you can do one of two thing: make a foolish assumption that the individual cannot afford $100 or simply share how $100 is your flat, final price. Assuming they cannot afford $100 INSTANTLY robs you of $100. I mean, instantly. Labeling their email as spam or being nasty with them immediately robs you of $100, based on your ignorant assumption. Choosing not to assume anything opens you up to making a quick $100. Wealthy people with large budgets sometimes seek the best price. Rockefeller would be worth $280 billion today – by estimates – and he balanced his books to the penny. He sought the best price but had billions to invest and did invest billions to be the wealthiest person the world has ever known.

This is why I wrote Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger for you. How you choose to think and feel dictates how you act. How you act dictates your success. Failures cling to the past and wander into the future by assuming future scenarios based on past experience. But wise bloggers remain grounded in the present, never assuming. Of course, many cheap bloggers willing to pay only $5 for a $100 sponsored post emailed you with “the best price” reply, in the past. But never rob yourself of $100 by assuming these folks do not have $100 to invest in your guest post. I leave no stones unturned. The way I see it, spending 1 second to read a “Give me a sponsored post for $5” email here and there is worth the “OK, let’s place it for $100” email I see more often these days. Assuming cuts you off from abundance. Being open-minded tunes you in to abundance. Make more money. Be open-minded. Stop assuming.

A few moments ago, our Uber driver told us he originally hailed from Jordan. He has been in the USA for 20 years. My silly mind made a quick assumption; he must live in NYC, like many folks do who immigrated to the USA over the past few decades. He still had a heavy accent. But I refused to assume this and asked him where he lived in the USA. He said in the same New Jersey suburban development where we lived. Small world! Not assuming opens you up to fun, fascinating experiences. Stop assuming online. You’ll make more money, too, and will enjoy your blogging journey.

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