All Change Please

By Slow Dad - February 24, 2017

Blogging is supposed to be fun, and chores are not. I'm making some changes to rescue blogging from being a chore, and help find my happy.
I recently spent a week in Cuba. It was awesome, thanks for asking! ;-)

Do you want to know a secret? The guilty pleasure I enjoyed the most while I was there?

Mohitos? No.

Cigars? No.

Riding around in a brightly coloured 1950s Chevy? No.

The truth is it was being somewhere that didn’t have internet access.

Escaping the internet is liberating.

Taking a break from the internet gave me a bit of distance to reflect on the relative value of the internet related activities I had been in the habit of performing. That proved to be enlightening.

I enjoy writing posts on this blog, I even missed it a little while I was away.

However I was starting to find following a strict Monday, Wednesday, Friday publishing schedule was become a bit of a chore. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and chores aren’t, so I’m giving away trying to publish to a schedule.

Scarcity of good

I had recently started cheating a bit on the 3 posts a week schedule, by publishing a weekly round-up of interesting articles and posts I had read and bookmarked throughout the week.

The idea behind this originally was it gave me a chance to give an ‘attaboy/girl (blatantly stealing the idea from Monevator’s Saturday posts) to authors who had recently written something worth sharing, which I thought was a noble (if lazy) goal. Unfortunately the last couple of weeks I really struggled to find 7 genuinely good posts containing one of:

  • a thorough analysis (e.g. like EarlyRetirementNow’s 4% rule series)
  • a thorough explanation of a concept that makes it more than worth the reader’s time to digest (e.g. PoF’s articulation of the relative differences between tax paid and tax deferred savings)
  • a genuinely original idea (e.g. the Mad Fientist’s Roth conversion ladder or JLCollins' stock series)
  • a captivating, well written story (e.g. many of Miss Mazuma’s posts)
To quantify the extent of this problem, when I returned from the holiday my Feedly proclaimed I had 253 posts queued up to read. After spending a couple of commutes wading through them all I had bookmarked a total of 4, one of which one turned out to be rehashing another author’s earlier work (without giving credit). That is a hell of a lot of noise, and I guess it illustrates why the personal finance blogging space is referred to as an echo chamber.

Maybe I’m just fussy, or set the bar too high, or just generally disagreeable... but whatever the reason consistently recommending 7 articles worth reading a week was proving to be challenging. Therefore I’m not doing that any more either.

Imaginary friends on the internet

Another thing I didn’t miss even a little bit was social media. From a pure ego point of view it is nice to have the number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes increasing rather than decreasing. However if none of them are leaving comments, or clicking on adverts, then do these metrics really mean anything?

I didn’t miss thinking about “engagement” or “SEO” or thinking up click-bait article titles or any of that other meaningless bollocks that bloggers frequently fall into the trap of focussing on. Given that I’m not trying to sell an "info product", and spruiking the shiniest new affiliate paying product isn’t my thing, then I’m unlikely to get rich from blogging. Therefore all that stuff is largely an unproductive time suck for me.

So what?

So going forward I figure that if I’ve got something worthwhile to say then I’ll write a post, but if I don’t then I should just shut up rather than adding to the vast multitudes of uninspired “me too” personal finance articles that clog up the internet and waste the time of anybody who happens to stumble upon them.

Stop wasting time doing things you don't enjoy
Stop wasting time doing things you don't enjoy

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  1. Once something becomes a chore and you have the option of not doing it any more, it's best to stop, so you've done the right thing. I used to enjoy your weekly round ups for catching up on posts I'd missed but I understand why you're not doing them any more.

    Blogging is supposed to be enjoyable, unless you're in it for the money and you obviously are not.

    Look forward to reading when you have 'something worthwhile to say' :-)

  2. Thanks weenie.

    The round ups thing is an interesting one, probably more a reflection of where I'm at on my journey more so than a rapid plunge in the quality of personal finance writing!

    I used to read most of the relevant links Monevator shared on a Saturday, and learn new things from most of them. Similarly I used regularly wade through the trolls to read some of the FIRE and Personal Finance orientated reddits, and semi-regularly pick up something new or a different perspective. Before long the reddit stuff got very repetitive (it appears people are allergic to search functions!), with many of the discussions dominated by a few blowhard school yard bullies.

    I still skim through the Monevator link list each week, but have noticed recently it seems mostly serving up the latest posts from a small collection of authors (e.g. Swedroe, ObliviousInvestor, ReformedBroker, SexHealthMoneyDeath, etc) rather than the kind of diverse collection of really good stuff that attracted my attention originally. Whether this is due to a scarcity of content, a lack of time/interest in the compilation, or just that as I've become more knowledgeable and experienced many of the ideas being written about are no longer new/novel to me.

    That said I'm still a huge Monevator fan, their in depth articles are often amongst the best in the personal finance space.

  3. Hi Slow Dad,

    Right on brother! I tried the publishing so many per week schedule and it just means you start publishing crap.

    I only write when I feel like it and have the time (usually on commuting) and this is much more fun. OK my publishing may be erratic but I am pretty sure people aren't freaking out that I publish 3 posts one week and then none for 3 weeks. I just needed to get over that spotlight effect heuristic!

    Disclaimer: I may still be publishing crap anyway :)