Why I blog, circa 2011 (and about ‘real books’)

Fellow blogger Becky Robinson writes, “Clicking the publish button on a new post always requires me to muster both faith and courage.” She also shares, “Here’s another confession: apart from the fun of blogging, I am not clear about why I am doing it.”

I’m with Becky; writing a blog is fun. And I can relate to doing something because you sense it’s good for you, without being completely clear on how or why, and having trust in the process — even when it takes faith and courage.

However Becky got to me wonder if it’s time that I share more of my present day reasons with you as well, especially since I never hesitate to encourage others to blog too. Case in point: Write your story of leadership. I haven’t done a meta-blogging article like this for quite a while (a post about blogging), feeling I’ve adequately covered it in the past — there’s a bunch of them in the archives, from the earlier years of Talking Story. But I suppose that’s a little naive. Things change. The world changes, and with it the ecosystem on the internet changes, as does my purpose, and yours.

This isn’t what all the “how to blog” coaches out there are likely to agree with, for their common teaching is that a blog should be written for the reader, and not for the writer. But that’s them, this is me, I’m not looking to monetize my blog, and though I took a lot of their advice early on, this is my truth about blogging today — it’s the pono background you deserve as my generous readers, gifting me with your attention as you do.

My blog is for me, my books are for you

Though it hasn’t always been like this, and you may get a different feeling when you dig into the archives, my blogging now is for me, even in welcoming conversation with you as it does, so that my books can be for you. I went through a number of years blogging, here at Talking Story and elsewhere as guest and columnist, with Managing with Aloha all the book I felt I needed, because I worked with it so actively in my coaching business (and still do). But I’ve continued to learn more as the years go by, as we all do, and now that Managing with Aloha is seven years published for me personally, I feel it’s time for me to get back to book writing.

Book publishing has changed dramatically, and in the past year I’ve stuck with ebook publishing as my learning process about what that entails, however I plan to do both with the manuscript I’m working on now, releasing it in both ebook and printed book form. For me, as a publisher of managerial business writing, there is a good, better, best continuum that goes like this:
Blog posts ~ good. Ebooks ~ better. Books ~ best.

And not just for me as a publisher, but as a reader too. That’s why you’ve seen me get back to sharing more book reviews here with you lately, with as-they-happen updates shared on Goodreads. I’m working at improving the inputs I take in with reading, feeling that:

Blog posts (and most ‘online journalism’ today) ~ good reading, good sharing.
Ebooks ~ better reading, better exploring.
Print Books ~ best of all for true learning.

Tab it and mark it up!

A ‘real book’ is more substantial. It’s something we want printed, because it represents this very tangible filing cabinet of learning which started out as the author’s learning, but became ours too. Both author and reader will invest substantially more energy in a book, and that investment pays off with far greater rewards.

Managing with Aloha represents over three decades of work experience for me, back to the first job I ever had. The book I am working on now, will cover some specific workplace experiences I have had between 1989 and today.

Work should be relevant and useful for you

Even the ‘work’ it takes for you to read, or write. Mine certainly is. It’s all part of Ho‘ohana (chapter 2 in Managing with Aloha: here’s the free book excerpt).

As my blog, Talking Story circa 2011 is a combination of current commentary on our world of work, what I read and learn about, and a drafting of the way I write to make sense of it all. Said another way, it’s a book germinating laboratory for me today. I blog to draft publicly because I enjoy inviting you into the early part of the process, so your feedback, our conversations, can be incorporated into my thoughts too; it’s a kind of rudimentary collaboration. But I know that my blogging will not give most blog-reading managers the complete “how-to” they might be looking for help with, and that’s why I want to write more books.

I feel there is a void out there for managers today, especially in an economic climate where good professional training has been cut from business budgets, and unfortunately, is still considered a luxury, as short-sighted and naive as that is. Books can help as an affordable option; they certainly help me learn! Substantial books as I’ve described them, books that are more relevant, practical and useful, aren’t easy to find for the Alaka‘i manager, and I want to help in the best way I’m able to.

Offering book reviews, of books I have read and can recommend, is one way. Writing books myself is another.

You know how I feel: In my view, there is no good leadership without great management, at least not in today’s prevalent organizational business models (though that can change in our future, a change I’d welcome). Management is a profound responsibility, and it’s not for everyone. It’s a calling when done in the with Aloha way, not a place-holder on an org chart designed for business efficiency over and above talent development. I’m honest and vocal about telling people who manage for reasons of career climbing to get out of management as their temporary occupation as soon as they can, because they’re probably creating too many casualties along the way, instead of developing other people like managers are supposed to.

It all gets back to Kuleana, the personal responsibility we accept

I feel pretty blessed in knowing where my stronger activities lie as a writer, with ‘managing with aloha’ now more than book, and the threading theme coursing through the various business topics I’ll write about. It’s the heart of everything. I know how writing connects to my thinking, and my accomplishments, with the values-based philosophy of MWA grounding me as my Nānā i ke kumu (spirit source, wellspring, and sense of place).

I never get writer’s block, and more than anything else, my literary life is a constant search for more time to simply sit and write, versus coaching and speaking for hire, and the rest of day-to-day living. I’m rarely looking for blog topics to share with you, in fact, what usually happens is that I hold myself back or add finds to my Tumblr, fearing that I’m flooding your sensibilities with way too much early thinking on my part. I often feel I need to be more selective about when I hit that publish button here on the blog. Along the way, there is stuff that drops out of the queue, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I stop thinking about it, and it may come back in a book when its time has arrived.

Talking Story is now 7 years old, amazing really, and I’ve gotten past the newbie blogger’s anxiousness to hit publish too quickly. I do sleep on posts, queue them up in better order, revising and editing several times along the way, however I eventually let it go as a blog post, knowing full well it’s a draft of thought in process. Hopefully, you accept my invitation, and step into the laboratory because it’s enough to get you thinking about a comment you can share at times too, allowing me to be Mea Ho‘okipa in hosting this conversation platform for you.

I resist publishing blog posts until they feel ‘good’ to me in that continuum I mentioned. I want my book manuscripts to move through better and onto best. I have a much higher expectation with them, and I’m sure you do too.

The more you read, the greater the context

Read back over the last few paragraphs in the previous section, and it’s fairly obvious — I this, I that. I, I, I, and my Ho‘ohana responsibility in a blog post written about me in this blogging purpose. However please know I am very sincere about writing my books for you.

I had some hesitation in writing this post at all, for I hope you’ll stick around, and stay with me through this part of the collaborative process too. But I know that my books are better written, and better for you when reading time is at a premium, as it is for us all. This expectation has actually been a change for me over the course of my blog years too; I love when you read Talking Story and participate here, but I no longer expect it as unreasonably as I once did.

I shared a draft of this post with someone who I know reads Talking Story faithfully, and she disagreed with me completely as to the absence of more how-to’s here. However, I suspect she disagreed with me because she has already read my ebooks, and actively uses MWA with her workplace team in the value mapping process. For that’s when your blog reading changes here: You have the context of more backstory, more learning curation you’ve already journeyed through. You’ve connected reading to personally experimenting, and to gaining your experience through chosen action. As one of my haumana (students), you can easily get more of the how-to that actually is here, how-to that other people will miss.

Reading choices, with more help in the choosing

So I’ll end this post with an honest pitch for the 1 book and 3 ebooks I have written so far. 3 need to be purchased, and 1 is free, but free is subjective, isn’t it… the how-to within it is extensive, and you have to do the work it proposes to get the most out of it.

My intention with ebooks going forward, is that they fall into the $4.99 or less price point, to package one concept at a time — just as Value Your Month to Value Your Life did for the MWA m.o. of value alignment, with value-mapping the how-to. I’m quite proud of Business Thinking with Aloha, and had released it as a more robust ebook to get the distribution started in expanding the collaborative laboratory possible in exploring it more fully, suspecting it could be ‘real book’ one day in the league of MWA. It’s somewhat of an ebook experiment unto itself for now, for the big advantage to ebooks as essays, are that they can be so easily revised and updated as their ideas are further developed.

So on to the suggested reading… Those were my intentions, and what follows is what I published them as for YOU. (see all the dust jackets on my book page. I keep the link up in the blog banner.)

  • Then, if MWA resonates, and you share these beliefs, deciding to answer your calling for managing others well, download Become an Alaka‘i Manager in 5 Weeks from Smashwords. It’s the free one, and I wrote it for people who opt for self-coaching; hiring me for personal coaching and attending my workshops are not options for them. Thus reading annotation to learn and retain is a key part of that self-coaching process (as you are starting to see me do more visibly here on the blog with my own book reviews for others).
  • If you’re looking for a more immediate start with your MWA practice, buy Value Your Month to Value Your Life. The how-to within it is value-mapping within the workplace, and it will help you see more how-to relevance in the rest of the OIB business model as it is discussed both within MWA and here on the blog. If blog posts are all you have read from me so far, this is also your shortest ebook choice. I think it’s a very good companion to the 5-week program too, helping you create an atmosphere conducive to your Ho‘ohana. Choose from Smashwords or Kindle.
  • The Become an Alaka‘i Manager in 5 Weeks program is an in depth study. If you decide it’s a bit much for you, consider warming up with Business Thinking with Aloha, for I wrote that ebook visualizing college graduates and other early job seekers as my audience, as a ‘business of life Thought Kit’ they can consider framing their job experience with, as they learn on the job. The framing how-to within it is based on the 9 Key Concepts (linked below). Choose from Smashwords or Kindle.

BTWA features the 9 Key Learning Concepts of MWA.
Blog page: Learning Managing with Aloha: 9 Key Concepts

The next book

So that book I mentioned writing right now” I hope to have it out soon, very soon. My first draft of the full manuscript is complete, and I’m in edit process, hoping to make it shorter and not longer. I’ve been writing it since January, having started it the day after I published Value Your Month to Value Your Life, and in my Ha‘aha‘a humble yet Aloha biased view, it will be the ultimate how-to for managing people in an extremely generous way — even if the manager who reads it decides that the full workplace bench press of the Managing with Aloha OIB (‘Ohana in Business model) isn’t for them.

The book will also launch a new coaching program I hope to have in place this summer with Ruzuku.

Stay tuned, and know that as a Talking Story reader, you’ve already been an important part of it, a very important part. Thank you.


  1. says

    I look forward to the next book as much as anything else I’m looking forward to this year. More. I can’t, in fact, think of anything I look forward to more… even Transformers 3! And that’s saying something! Stuff blows up in that! :)

    I appreciate the sharing you do in here. My favorite parts are the parts where you talk about real life applications and examples. It makes it personal and sinks the roots of the post deeper. I don’t mean every post should be full of anecdotes a’la Fred Factor (which I also liked) but they’re the spice that gives the meal it’s flavor and moves it from merely a way to stop being hungry to enjoying the meal as an experience.

    You are a talented writer, both in the blog and on paper, and I appreciate the time you take sharing this stuff with us your readers.

    On a “Me Too” note I haven’t run out of things to say as much as I’ve been pressed for enough time to say them. I get clock-block more than writer’s block. I went through a time when I wasn’t blogging because I wasn’t able to talk about things without saying the wrong thing but I was still writing… gotta keep writing!

    Looking forward to the book. Thank you for taking the time to blog and sharing your time and experiences. I find them tremendously helpful, and uncannily timely somehow. It’s like you’re eavesdropping on phone calls sometimes.

    • Rosa Say says

      Mahalo nui loa Rich, your comments and your ongoing support mean a great deal to me.

      I think the uncanny timing you mention is the benefit of the ‘laboratory’ created by the blogging platform when a reader finds the right community to engage in — and I love knowing that has happened for us, you and I; we’ve reached a mutual helpfulness. The work we do as managers is a situational art and a universal one all at the same time, and now we can share that as it happens more globally; I see you do it on your blog too.

      As you know, Managing with Aloha gives us the ability to value-align the real stuff of our everyday efforts, and talking story about our managerial challenges as they happen (in our virtual laboratories) does so much: Besides the learning collaboration I’ve mentioned here, it gets us to Ho‘omau, and persevere knowing we’re not alone. Often, that commonality (shared Ho‘ohana) without too much personal intimacy (different sense of place, unique work partnerships) is very helpful. It reminds us how important the work of an Alaka‘i Manager (like you) really is to our world, and the simple act of giving each other generous company in this way helps boost our energies and keep us enthusiastic and optimistic.

      There’s no doubt about it; there are tons of benefits in hosting a blog community. Those writing ebbs and flows you mentioned are normal, and the ebbs are temporary — flow returns.

      P.S. First time I’ve heard the phrase “clock-block” — good one! Bringing it into my vocabulary too.

    • says

      I want to add this — I am just now getting introduced to your work. I went to the website and read about your 9 key concepts for managing with aloha. What an excellent approaach to value-based leadership you have provided!

      • Rosa Say says

        Thank you Jean, I do hope that Talking Story and Managing with Aloha continue to be resources for you! I noticed that your website is called “Leading Consciously” and that spirit is very aligned with the intentional focus of Ho‘ohana. I think we’ll find we share several leadership beliefs as our conversations continue, and I look forward to learning from you too.

  2. Rosa Say says

    An aha moment on his own blogging, by Jeffrey Tang, who had previously written The Art of Great Things, and then disappeared: Friends vs. Subscribers, at his fresh start, a blog he is calling Pen vs. Paper.

    But blogging like that? Always worrying about maintaining the right “personal brand?” It’s exhausting. And it doesn’t feel real.

    That’s why I disappeared.

    So Pen vs. Paper “is a blog about writing, work, culture, media, and more.” It’s personal.
    His “fresh start” on his About Page:

    Hi, I’m Jeffrey, and this is Pen vs. Paper, a blog about writing, work, media, technology, life, and anything else I find truly interesting.

    Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be an author. Sometimes I wanted to be other things too (a pilot, an astrophysicist, a musician) ”“ but I’ve always known that I wanted to write books.

    After saving up some money, I quit my job about a year ago to write. That’s not nearly as romantic or dramatic as it sounds. Life goes on ”“ except instead of driving to work in the morning, I sit at my desk and write.