12 Months of Blogging

How to Survive Your First Year of Blogging

This cute little blog celebrates its one year birthday this month. The marathon continues! When I started abandonedcubicle.com 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 our early retirement playground.

 

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. Each and 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 each and every day. Very few of us have the 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.

Most Interesting Man
“That guy in Colorado has nothing on me. Stay frugal, my friends.”


A Regret or Two

I look back on a year of mixed quality in my content. Not that I’m a harsh critic of my own 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?

Lake Michigan Bicycling
I’d rather be blogging?

 

Knowing my Motivation

In all honesty, 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 really 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, but buy 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!

 

Process Improvements

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 5AM instead of the usual 6:15ish. This additional time is dedicated to blog writing and my newfound fascination with Pinterest.

Off I was. 5AM. every. friggin. day. After two months of this, I can attest that the new routine has helped not only on the productivity of abandonedcubicle.com, 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.

Typical Enlightened Abandoned Cubicle Reader
Typical Enlightened Abandoned Cubicle Reader

Yay for Me!

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!

fist bump giphy

 

Themes for 2018

Now that I’m within striking distance of early retirement, I expect a number of posts will delve into the tactical nature of planning for the future. Making sure health insurance is accessible, that our cash flow is teed up nicely, and our kid’s 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 ways 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!

Comments 23

  1. I can see myself writing something similar a year from now. I’ve just started, but can identify with many of your points. I think the issue of quality content is a real issue for me and the wider community. I’m an analytic person but analytic blogs are ho-hum. So I agree that the personal touch is so important.
    Good work!

    1. I sure hope so, Actuary! I’ll have to check out your site soon. Stick with it and you’ll find your style begin to emerge and the original content follows. And if you struggle to find that personal touch, inject some fun photos or gifs to lift the tone. Best!

  2. Happy Birthday, my (for now) cubicle bound friend! I’m down to 274 Days To Go, and began writing when I was ~900 days out. It’ll be interesting to watch you “follow my path”, and see how you handle the final miles to the Starting Line. You’re a good writer, and I fully expect you’ll continue to see steady growth if you decide to stay with it. Love the process of writing, and the rest will follow!

    1. Thanks, Fritz! And congrats on 274 days! Man, that anticipation has to feel good when you’re within the year mark. I really appreciate the compliments, especially coming from someone who walks the walk when it comes to good writing.

    1. Thank you, Dylan! And likewise with respect to Trail to FI! Hopefully there’s more news coming soon on the Airbnb deal. It’ll be a lot of work up front, but that’s certainly not unusual with investment properties.

  3. Hey Cubert.
    Congrats on one year – plus.
    Id like to offer an insight that I know several Pro DJ’s use and a few comedians also.
    They say they deliberately do not listen to others works in their field because they would be swayed from thier own original ways- I will add that I know two of these people well and they stand out. Its obvious they are unique.
    Thats my thought to share. Im a year into blogging BUT really only a month (as for 11 months I did not even know if I wanted to blog or not – I wasnt serious).
    Peace
    Scott

  4. Congrats on the one year birthday! I share the same feelings about prior posts on my blog. Some things could have been better but whatever. We learn as we go and gain experience just like anything else. Keep going and continue creating awesome content!

  5. Happy blog-birthday bud. I’m about 3-4 months in and will say for sure the biggest eye opener for me was the hustle needed to get traffic. I was a bit naive when I started thinking people would just come easily.

Please Share Your Thoughts!