Stan Faryna is working on an apocalyptic novel-mmorpg-movie that asks the big questions about why are we here, what shall we do, and what can we hope for. He is an author, design wonk, entrepreneur, online strategist, problem-solver, and servant heart. Stan is on Facebook and he’s @Faryna on Twitter. You can help him help Nisha Varghese here.
What inspires and motivates you?
The Good, the True, and the Beautiful. I suspect that these three are the greatest inspirations.
The Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Without limit. These are the only things that will never bore us. These are the revealed nature of God, God’s creation, and all reality. Interestingly, Plato – who did not know the God of Abraham or Christ – was the first to reflect upon these three gifts. Certainly, Plato was divinely inspired (on several subjects) as the early Christians observed of the Greek philosophers.
Allow me to illuminate these three wonders through the person of Nisha Varghese.
Nisha Varghese, a 20 something South African woman, was born with cerebral palsy. She cannot walk unassisted. She has limited use of one hand and arm. Her father and mother consider her an embarrassment, a heavy burden upon them, and a despair. Her blog is here.
Yet Nisha is bigger than her physical challenges and her parent’s despair. We see that Nisha is bigger because she dares to change the world in her fundraising efforts to put a well in an impoverished community that lacks clean water. Or in her slow, one-handed making of sandwiches for the poor in her community. Or her blog posts about kids who are making a difference in the world. Truth is revealed to us in Nisha’s action. Nisha is MORE than the apparent physical limitations and powerlessness obvious to the human eye.
Truth is relative to reality as C.S. Lewis has explained. Truth is simply what the reality is regardless of illusions, misperception, and misunderstanding.
That Nisha struggles to raise money to put a well into an impoverished community that lacks clean water. That she patiently makes a sandwich, one by one, for the hungry with one hand. Her action does not simply reveal that she is more than her physical challenges and the misperceptions of her role (or lack of role) in this world, we know intuitionally, immediately, and without doubt that Nisha’s action is good.
Her actions serve others, her actions speak of her love for others, and her action is the right response to God’s desire for us to care for and uplift others.
Again, C.S. Lewis explains, goodness is relative to reality. It is the right response to reality. Human good is an approximation of God’s mind, love, will, and action.
Moreover, there is an unmistakable beauty in the revelation of the objective goodness of Nisha’s actions. Nisha is beautiful because of her consistent struggle to do good. Nisha’s beauty, I am thoroughly convinced, is more satisfying than the seductive tease of Dita Von Teese. Or the auto-eroticism inspired by Jenna Jameson.
I shall never get bored with Nisha’s beauty. In contrast to Nisha’s good works, Playboy’s sustainability as an adult entertainment business is urgently contingent on revealing the naked beauty of a new playmate every month.
Beauty is relative to reality. The more fully that beauty reflects goodness and God, the more beautiful is a thing.
The human body, of course, can be beautiful because, perhaps, it is made in the image of God. But if it acts, thinks, feels, and responds poorly to reality, truth, and goodness, it’s beauty cannot satisfy us but for a fleeting arousal.
Do you have a blogging schedule?
I’d very much like to publish three blog posts per week. One that illuminates my view of things as a human person, one that glimpses the voices of the blogging community, and one about my professional or personal interests (on my blog or as a guest blog post). It hasn’t sorted itself out yet. [grin]
Blog soup takes a lot of time. I’m a slow reader and slower commenter. Not all my comments are insightful, uplifting, or inspirational. But I wish they were!
A month ago, I started to dedicate five hours per week day for reading and commenting on blog posts. I’ve had to wake up earlier to do so to fit it into my schedule. However, I will soon cut this down to three hours per week days. My aim is 12 editions of blog soup and then we’ll see where that experiment has gone. [laughing]
It usually takes me an hour to write a blog post. Another hour to format it, add links, quick review, and publish it to my blog. If I make time to edit it, I’ll read it out loud twice. That’s another patchwork of an hour.
Whatever you do, do your best. Do it with passion. Do it with heart.
And if you do it with your heart that means doing it with a schedule.
Schedules reveal what matters most to the heart. In fact, I’m reminded of the dialogue about taming between the Little Prince and the fox in Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s wonderful little book.
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. “Please–tame me!” he said.
“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”
“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . . ”
“What must I do, to tame you? asked the little prince.
“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. First you will sit down at a little distance from me–like that–in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . . ”
The next day the little prince came back.
“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If for example, you came at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . . ”
If you don’t have a schedule, you don’t have a heart that pounds and races for something or someone.
What do you do to develop blog traffic?
My interest in blogging is about connecting with the world in general and, specifically, it’s about making meaningful connections with people. Friendship, in other words. Traffic in itself is not interesting, memorable, or awe-inspiring. That’s not to say that massive traffic can’t help you do whatever it is that you want to do. But until you get massive traffic (if that be written in your stars), it’s nice to make some friends along the way to whatever destination your heart and fate may decide upon.
In pursuit of friendship, I attempt to reveal the the Good, the True, and the Beautiful through my blog posts. [big smile] Hopefully, it makes you feel amazing. That’s how I give, I love, and I serve. Of course, I also fail.
1. If your blog doesn’t give, love, and serve – work on that. Does it do good? Is it true? Is it beautiful? Anything else is deeply counterfeit. If your blog posts are counterfeits, sooner or later, people will feel and sense the heartlessness, the emptiness, and taking-ness of your blog.
Online is the last place to want to ruin your name and reputation. A poor online reputation will follow you everywhere.
2. Blog by a schedule. I’m still working on this. Your heart should pound and race according to that schedule. As should the hearts of your readers and fans.
3. Proof-read, edit, and review your blog posts. I’m still working on this too. I find it difficult to edit my own writing on a quick turn around. If you have the same problems, perhaps, you can arrange to work with someone who will proof-read and give feedback if you do the same service for their blog.
4. Seek friendship, insight, and self-understanding in the world. Go to Twitter, blogs, or where ever. As much as possible, receive persons as the gifts they are. As graciously as possible, express the feelings that they have provoked in you by their 140 characters, their blog post, or their social signal.
Let people know you noticed them – as graciously as you can. I’m still working on being more graceful and humble in this regard. Sign your comments if you dare and leave a link so they can visit you – if they are so inclined.
5. Use Triberr. Get to know the triberrites and the triberrati. Read their blogs, comment on their blogs, and let them know you are out there.
6. If you have some money to throw at it, hire someone like Yomar Lopez (@yogizilla on Twitter) to drive engagement and inbound marketing. I haven’t done this but I see that Yomar and a few others negotiate results – not bogus promises. Unless you are an aspiring SEO or inbound marketing guru, leave this work to the pros. Your time is better spent working on 1, 2, 3, and 4.
7. If you want to go big, do not underestimate the role of design in helping you tell a story, making it memorable, and punctuating the take aways.
A good blog design will frame the value you bring to your blog posts. Again, design work is best done by a professional who understands brand, UX, and the fundamentals of design.
8. If you have a lot of money to throw at it, corporate-class online marketing and advertising may help. But if you don’t have 1 through 7 down like clock work, don’t bother.