As I think about writing, reporting, editing and blogging from abroad (specifically Turkey), I'm looking for models of people who've done it successfully (for money). I've already cited the fine work of Bea Vanni, who coincidentally now lives not far from me in North Carolina. In the spirit of rewarding writers who've provided lots of invaluable information, I've emailed Bea and told her I want to make a donation to her blog, at least equivalent to the cost of a book, if her material were in book form.
Michael J. Totten may be another successful example. His "Middle East Journal" was the 2007 and 2008 Weblog Awards Winner for Best Mideast or Africa Blog. He writes frequently from Iraq, calling himself a "reader-funded foreign correspondent and foreign policy analyst who has reported from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus." His work is published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NY Daily News, and Commentary.
In a 2006 podcast with Prof. Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit.com) and his wife, forensic psychologist Dr. Helen Smith (Dr. Helen's blog), Totten explained that he started out as a technical writer in a cushy job with a month's vacation, but "it was boring as hell." So he quit to become an independent blogger and freelance writer. Reynolds pointed out that Totten is mostly funded by his readers. The Internet now encourages readers to essentially pool their own resources and hire their personal journalist.
Totten discussed what he has observed in the Middle East, some of it hopeful and some of it despairing. On the hopeful side, in Algeria he learned that extreme Islamists have blown it -- they been driven completely out, perhaps anticipating what could happen in Iran, Iraq and eventually Egypt.
In a blog interview a few years ago, he explained what makes a successful, ORIGINAL blog: fewer posts that are simply links to other blogs, more posts that contain original reporting and analysis.