Blogger Confessions #15: Burning Desire for FIRE
Happy Saturday and welcome to the 15th episode of the 'Blogger Confessions' interview series on the blog. Today, I'm bringing in Burning Desire for FIRE to talk about blogging and how they've managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
Take it away.
Blogger Confessions with Burning Desire for FIRE
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
Anyone who can read. If they can't read, the whole exercise would be a bit pointless. I can't draw, I don't know how to make graphs - so my target audience must definitely have mastered the skill of reading.
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
After reading FI blogs for a couple of years, it began to be a bit obvious that there weren't a huge amount of people writing from the perspective of an older demographic.
I've been divorced for 20 years and brought up my 4 boys on my own. Not many other custodial single parents writing - in fact, off the top of my head, I can't think of any.
I'm not American.
I'm scared of Math.
I'm a girl.
All points of difference from the stereotypical FI blogger profile of a young person in their 20's or 30's with no kids writing about FI without having reached it yet.
I think I offer a different perspective. Surely that's valuable?
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
I've struggled with this answer. At first, I thought that it was finding enough time to write, but then I realized that was a cop-out.
We all have that feeling.
Then it was seeing blogging 'experts' saying that you need to post at least 3 times a week to expect to get any sort of traction. Seriously? That's not intimidating at all…!
But then - doesn't that just lead to people who have been blogging for a while beginning to race on a treadmill churning out clickbait stuff instead of taking the time to work on posts that they truly care about?
So as I was sitting here, agonizing over the fact that I'm writing this post you're reading now instead of a post for my own blog and "OMG I really need to have a Friday post… "
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, FROGDANCER JONES! IT'S YOUR BLOG.
What a concept! I can make the rules for this space.
The personal finance blog world is full of So Many Rules. How to post/ when to post/ you must monetize!/have a newsletter!!/free budgeting tips!!!/affiliate links!!!!/ and the list goes on.
Honestly, guys - I don't think you realize. I've been writing a personal blog since 2007 and this FI space is vastly different to anything I've experienced up till now. I think the difference is mainly to do with monetization. I could be wrong, but somehow I don't think so.
The reason my personal blog has lasted 12 years is that I've never been held to a rigid timetable of posting. I post when the spirit moves me, so my posts are in the moment and are full of the things that so excite me that I want to share. I've built up my tribe and it's all chill.
I'd like my FI/RE blog to be the same.
At the moment my readers number in the tens. I appreciate each and every one. I want people to value my blog because each post is heartfelt and thoughtful.
Some weeks I'll be able to write 2 or 3 posts when I have great ideas for posts and my teaching commitments are low - usually at the beginning of terms. Other weeks, particularly when school terms are finishing and the essay correction is high, at best there'll be a post a week.
But that post will be the best post I can write at that moment in time. Quality over quantity every time.
Sorry that it's a long-winded answer. I guess the short version is- "I'll post when I want. Don't repress me with your black-and-white rules, Blog Police!"
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
I'll never publish my net worth on the blog. Being a single woman, I think that it'd be foolhardy to do. There's some creepy parasites out there, people!
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
I didn't bother to monetize the blog, because:
(a) I knew that my readership would be starting from scratch, so it wouldn't be worthwhile.
(b) I started the blog on impulse and I stayed with the free Wordpress system that I'm really familiar with. I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology, so the blog has stayed the same ever since. I like the clean look of no ads, though, and I hate popups, so maybe that's not a bad thing!
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
Loved. I'm a child of the 60's, baby! Make love; not war.
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
My ex-husband and my students. It might surprise you to find out that 'Frogdancer Jones' isn't my actual name in real life. My pen name is a clever ploy to avoid bumping into them on the internet.
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
This was one I wrote on my original blog when I paid off my house after many years of struggle and I edited it a bit earlier this year and put it on the FI/RE blog. It was an emotional post to write as it brought up a lot of hard times that the boys and I went through.
The continuation of that story is Georarbitrage - all the cool kids are doing it. This one shows just how wonderful the personal finance world is and how lucky we are to have access to it. So much information for people to learn about and take advantage of.
Least favorite - Freedom Beckons. It's a bit 'meh', this post. Not a lot of meat to it.
Most embarrassing - The House of Bruised Dreams. That title: Yuck! So try-hard. Not-so-fun fact is that 10 months after I wrote that piece, the house next door is STILL unoccupied. I was speaking to the young family who owns it and I think they and the builder are probably going to end up in court.
9: Explain your writing process
Sometimes the posts I write for this blog take me 3 or 4 hours. Guest posts for other people's blogs take even longer. I race through and get down what I want to say - the first draft is always the hardest, I find - and then I refine it.
It's rare that a post for the FI/RE blog is conceived of, written and posted all on the one day. I'm conscious that writing about personal finance - even in the 'capital P' for personal finance that I put together, is a vastly different responsibility than just sharing what I'm doing on my other blog.
I do all the editing and proofreading. No significant other to call upon and the boys are always too busy.
10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
This is a hard one. I decided my answer to this would have to be out of the select few blogs I see pop up in my Feedly reader each morning where I say "Yay! They've posted!" and I click on them immediately. I think that The Escape Artist would have to squeak out in front. I love the way he writes and he's very, very funny.
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