The blogosphere has been pretty good to me this year. I’ve made a lot of new friends, both online and offline, and for that I am eternally grateful. If it wasn’t for this blog and the networking that resulted, I would have never met great people like Ed Lau and Stephen Fung. I also wouldn’t have won a bunch of blog contests, raking in all sorts of cool swag.

It’s not like it’s been a one-way street either. I gave away a USB TV tuner on this blog earlier this year, as well as a pair of iPod nanos as part of the launch of In the meantime, I was the winner of a couple super affiliate tees, Shoemoney gear, and even a video game.

Not to gloat or anything, but it looks like the good luck bug has bit me again, because I’m also the winner of Nate Whitehill‘s PubCon schwag contest and all I had to do to enter was to subscribe to his blog’s RSS feed via email. I love contests that are easy to enter, especially when the prize is so huge. I’m getting all sorts of cool stuff, ranging from mouse pads to back massagers. Maybe they’ll be re-prized in a future BTR contest…

I’m not entirely sure what it takes to be a winner, but one thing is for sure: you can’t succeed if you do not try.

This applies not only to blog contests, but just to life in general. If you asked me a few years ago whether I would ever make it as a freelance writer working from home, I’d probably laugh at you. If you told me that I’d be making all of my money online, I’d scoff at the possibility. And if you told John Chow that his blog would make over $20,000 a month, he wouldn’t believe you. Just try. You never know what kind of success will fall in your lap.