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October 21, 2011

To blog or not to blog?

I've been composing Daily Asker posts in my head for the past six months, and the whole time I've wondered if I should start writing them out and hitting "publish" again. I keep mulling it over, remembering what I loved about writing here and considering the reasons I stopped. Here's a pro and con list.


Busy. Working as a freelance reporter, getting a copywriting business up and running. I simply don't have the time to write the kind of posts I'd like to. (Rebuttal: You never have time. You make it.)

Ethics and conflicts. I'm a freelance reporter. I have been since 2004, long before I started this project. I've been careful to avoid conflicts of interest, both with the blog and my copywriting work -- e.g. asking for a company to cancel a late fee, and then writing about them in the business pages. In the complicated, fuzzy media landscape of today does it even make sense to "pretend" to be objective and disinterested regarding all matters? Of course it's important to avoid sleaziness, or the appearance thereof, particularly in the areas I regularly cover. So what effect does this blog's coverage and focus -- helping negotiators of all kinds (people buying and selling goods, services, skills) -- have on my credibility as a reporter, now or down the line?

Need to earn a living. Currently, my professional endeavors aren't the kind that lead to retirement before age 80. There are those pesky nonbillable hours, and the myriad (enthralling/exasperating) time suckers that go into building a business. So I keep wondering how I can justify devoting time to this when there are bills to pay. There the usual ways to monetize a blog, some more attainable and attractive than others. Start accepting ads on the site. Write a book or an e-book. Teach workshops. It's the same problem thinkers and writers are having everywhere. Ironially, I get paid good money to write blog posts for others. (Rebuttal: Even without an income stream, even if this blog remains a hobby, it's a way of giving back, a way of helping and sharing -- all wonderful and worthwhile.) 

Curious about impact. Does this blog make a difference? Am I contributing something worthwhile to the interwebs? I have to ask myself this, to make sure I'm not just better off keeping a journal.


Important topic. The gap between reality and potential for many would-be askers out there is too great. I want to help others become better negotiators.

Passion. I'm still obsessed by this subject. I love asking and telling stories. Why not keep doing both?


In case I do revive the blog, here's a question for you:

What's most interesting, enjoyable or useful for you? i.e. What do you want to see here?

A) Stories about my asking and negotiation adventures, with occasional reflections/insights (which continue, even if undocumented). (Example 1. Example 2.)

B) Practical, how-to posts about haggling, salaries, and other real life asking/negotiation scenarios. (Example 1. Example 2.)

C) Interviews or Q&A's with experienced negotiators in the career, political, retail, psychology and other fields. (Example)

D) Updates from the gender and negotiation front. Reflection on & links to news, commentary, current events, freshly published studies.

E) Reader-centric posts about asking dilemmas and victories. You tell me your situation and I post recommendations/results for all to see. (Example)

By the way, I'm test driving cars tomorrow. I've done my research and mapped out a negotiation strategy. Now it's time to see how low I can get the price on a new or gently used Nissan or Hyundai. Which means it may be time to put on hat again. For any blogger who's made a similar pro and con list, what conclusion did you reach? How do other bloggers out there decide to stay the course, start a new project, or jump ship and spend all their free time hunting down lost Netflix DVDs and eating Toblerone?


La Roxy