This cute little blog celebrates its one year birthday this month. How did I survive my first year of blogging? When I started Abandoned Cubicle last September, I had strong encouragement from my ever-patient wife.
Here I am a year later. Still at it, and more motivated than ever to produce meaningful content for whoever stumbles across this early retirement playground.
First Year of Blogging 101: Avoiding “Rinse and repeat”
All of us early retirement bloggers aspire to something more than a drawn-out life of consumption, spent mostly in a fluorescent-lit office space. Every one of us has a story to tell, and that makes for good reading.
How many times can we read about the Safe Withdrawal Rate or the Marginal Utility of Money? There are at least fifteen posts by fifteen bloggers to tell you all about it.
But each one is layered with personal experiences and anecdotes that just might relate to your particular situation. Or at least, tickle a different funny bone?
It’s increasingly challenging to produce original and attractive content that stands the test of time. The biggest challenge I’ve found is creating original content that’s meaningful and engaging.
There’s such a wealth of great information produced by very talented bloggers every day. Very few of us have an excellent back story like Pete (Mr. Money Mustache), who retired at 30 alongside his partner in crime, Mrs. Money Mustache.
He’s gone from blogging to saving the planet – complete with a brick-and-mortar headquarters. Aim high, and have a good story to tell … You never know where it could lead you.
“That guy in Colorado has nothing on me. Stay frugal, my friends.”
I look back on a year of mixed quality in my content. Not that I’m a harsh critic of my work, but heck, I slapped up some posts that could’ve used a re-write or two. I reckon that’s the balance we strike when other obligations come into play like work, family, and college football season…
Oh, and if anyone noticed, I took a long three month hiatus earlier this spring that didn’t help improve my readership much. It’s interesting. Part of that little sabbatical I attribute to boredom. What more could I say that hasn’t been written up fifteen times elsewhere? Back then I wondered, is the utility of my time better spent on family, exercise, and college basketball?
Remembering Why I Write
I hope my readership grows and grows because I’d like nothing more than to make blogging a key part of my life after early retirement. I fully expect my quality will improve even more with the luxury of time and experience. Plus, the kids will be in school, so I can finish a coherent thought without having to give a timeout or kiss a boo-boo.
Do I want to make money with this blog? For sure I do! Am I that serious about it? Yes and No. I have a few of the requisite Ad Sense ads up on the right side, and affiliates in the works.
Ideally, the content will drive the trickle of traffic, allowing me to feather-in the most appropriate monetization widgets. Stuff I can promote without being two-faced. (you know, save your money for early retirement, purchase this or that so I can make money from YOU!)
Ultimately, I like writing. I can relate to Carl at 1500 Days to Freedom. I admire his work and the deft way he inserts humor into his posts. The guy loves writing, and he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty on DIY stuff. Think of me as the diet cola of 1500 Days (besides, I’m down to 900 days as of this month.)
Then there’s J. Money at Budgets are Sexy. He just lets it flow. His words read as if you are hearing him speak. Man, I’ve got my work cut out for me!
Getting Slightly Better with Time
A post from back in July explains it best. The single most helpful improvement for this blog was dragging my ass out of bed at 5 AM instead of the usual 6:15ish. This additional time is dedicated to blog writing and my newfound fascination with Pinterest.
Off I was. 5 AM. every. friggin. day. After two months of this, I can attest that the new routine has helped not only on the productivity of this site, but I’m also now in sync with Mrs. Cubert’s schedule. A win-win situation.
There are still limitations. I thought at first I could pull off three posts per week, but I soon learned that quality demands rewrites and more rewrites. The plan going forward is to stick with two posts per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. It’ll give all of you fine readers plenty of time to post comments and share with friends.
I Accomplished a Few Things
The highlights of this past year are few but special. Just a month after launching this blog, J. Money was willing to feature me in a guest post titled, “How to Lose a Million Dollars“. That quickly got this blog noticed and maybe set some unrealistic expectations at the same time.
If nothing else, that post is a diary of my idiocy with money that a few of us might relate to. I think failures make for great readership. Don’t you agree?
Soon after coming back from hiatus, J. featured my Landlord’s Ten Commandments post on Rockstar Finance. Another spike in traffic followed. And I got a kick-ass banner to put on my home page. (Dork.)
I consider J. Money a sort of Godfather. He has been super supportive of noob bloggers including me, even though I badmouth his affinity for Net Worth and choice of vehicles… Love you, man!
What’s Up Next?
Now that I’m within striking distance of early retirement, I expect several posts will delve into the tactical nature of planning for the future. Making sure health insurance is accessible, that our cash flow is set up nicely, and our kids’ college funds are off to a healthy start. There’s a lot to prepare for.
I’m considering a travel series as well. We’ve been to our share of overseas and continental destinations. Lots of financial fails and wins to share, along with solid amateur photography.
Finally, there could be a new Airbnb property in the works. We’re in the middle of negotiations on a condo in northern Michigan. We’ll see where that goes. If it comes through, we’ll be busier than snot getting that joint ready for seasonal rentals. More lessons to learn and share with y’all!
Finally, finally, THANK YOU. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and be a part of the journey. We’ve got a long way to go!
PS. A special “thanks” also to a couple of established personal finance bloggers who put this blog in their blogrolls, which helped generate new traffic: Millennial Boss and Physician on Fire. Gracias, friends!