Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Ad-Supported Blogs

Happy Birthday to Brain Pickings !

Writers seem to always be looking for new information, new ways to think about things, new sources of inspiration.

Well, there’s a woman named Maria Popova who publishes a blog called Brain Pickings.

When I compare the effort for my four blog posts a week plus my new Friday Behind The Scenes posts to Maria’s three posts a day, I wonder about the sources of her drive and determination

Her blog is now seven years old and her words about its beginning and growth are legend:

“On October 23, 2006, I sent a short email to a few friends at work — one of the four jobs I held while paying my way through college — with the subject line ‘brain pickings’, announcing my intention to start a weekly digest featuring five stimulating things to learn about each week, from a breakthrough in neuroscience to a timeless piece of poetry. ‘It should take no more than 4 minutes (hopefully much less) to read’, I promised. This was the inception of Brain Pickings. At the time, I neither planned nor anticipated that this tiny experiment would one day be included in the Library of Congress digital archive of ‘materials of historical importance’ and the few friends would become millions of monthly readers all over the world

There’s a more in-depth piece on the origins of Brain Pickings in The New York Times, where it says:

“Ms. Popova says she views her job as ‘helping people become interested in things they didn’t know they were interested in, until they are.’”

Among the vast array of topics Maria covers are Writing and Writers.

For a collection of advice from 52 writers, check out her post, Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers (notice the internal scroll bar to see all 52).

For one particularly focused and fascinating post on writing, go to Good Writing vs. Talented Writing.

However, in her post, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living ~ Reflections on how to keep the center solid as you continue to evolve, she has these points (do take the link and read what she says about each):

Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.

Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.

Be generous.

Build pockets of stillness into your life.


When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.

Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.

Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.

Since many writers attempt to subsidize their fiction writing by monetizing their blogs, I chose a video of Maria talking about alternatives to the ad-supported model:

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