The following interview is with Neil Pasricha, creator of 1000AwesomeThings.com, powered by WordPress.com, and two-time published author. His second book, The Book of (Even More) Awesome, is out today.
How did you get the idea to create a blog about 1000 Awesome things? Does your blog help you become a happier person?
NEIL: Well, I was in a pretty rough place when I started the blog. My wife and I were growing further and further apart and my best friend was battling a major depression. When I flipped open the newspaper or turned on the TV it was about melting ice caps, terrible hurricanes, and the collapsing economy.
I started 1000 Awesome Things to try and find a way to cheer myself up. I wanted to find a place where bakery air, snow days, and popping bubble wrap were the most important things in the world.
Over the next couple of years my personal life got worse. My wife told me she didn’t love me anymore. My best Chris took his own life. And in most ways I’m still the same guy – working the same office job in the suburbs, eating the same frozen burritos for dinner, and still needing to go to the gym more.
But in many ways I’ve become happier because I see awesome things everywhere. I hit a string of green lights on my way home from work and think awesome! I flip to the cold side of my pillow in the middle of the night and think awesome! And I think these little daily highs add up to longer term happiness.
Why did you choose WordPress and what have you liked most about using it as a publishing service?
NEIL: Ha ha, I think I literally Googled “how to start a blog” and clicked on the first link!
But my experience with WordPress since that first day has been absolutely incredible. The forums helped me figure out every issue I’ve got (and I’ve had issues!) and whenever I email support they reply right away.
On a bigger note though, I really do think WordPress is changing the world by helping people from all places and spaces communicate their message to the world. Nothing could be more powerful than that.
How did you get a book deal, and when is your second book coming out?
NEIL: Well let me tell you a crazy story! When I started writing 1000 Awesome Things back in June, 2008 nobody read it except for my mom. Although, the traffic did double when she forwarded it to my dad.
Then I got excited when I emailed it to friends and tens of people started coming each day. Then it become hundreds, then thousands, then millions… and then I got a phone call! And the voice at the other end of the line said “You just won the best blog in the world award!”
Obviously, I thought this was some sort of spammy joke. But I somehow ended up winning the Webby Award for Best Blog in 2009 and got flown to New York to walk a red carpet with Martha Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, and Sarah Silverman.
When I came home there were ten literary agents waiting for me in my inbox asking if I wanted to put together a book. It was a total Julie and Julia moment and it kind of hit me how powerful our little blogging community really is.
The Book of (Even More) Awesome comes out today, April 28th!
Anything else you’d like to share regarding WordPress?
NEIL: Yes! To everyone out there with a WordPress blog: You are awesome! We may never meet, we may never talk, but I completely love, respect, and admire how much passion and energy goes into all of our sites.
Maybe nobody realizes how long we slave over posts, how excited we are when we check our Stats pages, or how fun it is to get a comment from someone we’ve never met. I’ve been feeling these buzzes for two years and they’ve never got old to me. I am so grateful, so proud, and so flattered to be part of this amazing community.
Let’s keep on blogging forever … and let’s always stay strong and stay AWESOME!
Thank you so much for the chat and for those that check it out I really hope you like The Book of (Even More) Awesome.