Can I tell you something?
I really appreciate you. A year into this, and I'm still in awe that people stop by to read and even comment. Thank you. It's a big deal to me.
Here's a secret: I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was in Kindergarten, I wrote a little book about a butterfly and her friends. I penned it on notebook paper, scribbled in some illustrations, and stapled it together. It was thrilling to me. I kept it on my dresser and every now and then I'd pick it up and gaze at it in wonder. That act of creating and producing something from my own imagination felt so satisfying.
I wrote throughout grade school and college, both for myself and for my school newspapers. Later I enrolled in a post-graduate writing certificate program, which I promptly abandoned so that I could move to the mountains and become a newspaper reporter for a weekly paper with one reporter/photographer (...me). I did that until I got sick of being called in at 3 AM to take pictures of truck accidents on the highway.
As I got older, writing became more and more difficult. I'd show up, but usually the words wouldn't. I'd see my clumsy sentences on the page and feel so self-conscious, knowing that every other writer was so much better. Nothing was good enough and I felt terrible about it, so eventually, I just... stopped. Except for my dissertation and work projects, I quit writing altogether. For years.
In a search for just the right wording, the best turn of phrase, I forgot why I was writing in the first place.
This blog has brought me back from the brink of perfectionism. With this project, I've allowed myself to be a bumbling, oftentimes boring writer whose main goal is to just get her ideas out there in a consistent manner. And man, has it been liberating. Whether I'm updating our debt stats, talking about our summer vacation, or making an argument for wage transparency, I always feel good when I press the Publish button. And when I come back later to discover multiple typos that I somehow missed the first eight times I edited my work, I shrug it off and carry on. Perfection is no longer necessary.
I'm also learning, albeit haltingly, that I don't need to compare myself to others: you have your story, I have mine, and nobody can tell our own stories better than we can.
The $76K Project has become something truly meaningful to me. I'm somewhat reluctant to admit it, but this little passion project has become my baby.
I've been thinking more about where I want to go with this blog - whether I want to grow it and monetize it and move it to a better platform and learn SEO and try to turn it into Something Bigger - and I'm realizing that I'm just not there. Not yet. I mean, maybe I should be heading in that direction, and I certainly think about it because in theory I would love to transform my writing into a side hustle. But I don't feel motivated by pageviews and numbers right now. If that were my focus, I'd drive myself crazy. I'd probably quit.
Instead, I want to shape this blog into a place where people who can relate to our story want to be. I want it to feel like a familiar, cozy nook where you can stop by and we can sit down together, sip some (virtual) coffee, and talk about life and finances - both the challenges and the wins. I want it to be a bullshit-free zone where I can be transparent with you about our long and mistake-ridden financial journey, and you can be transparent with me. I want to be authentic and honest and reliable in my posting.
That's what motivates me, and that's what I'm working towards: connection with other people who, like me, are sick of hiding their past and want a better future.
Funny thing: when I sat down to write today, this is not the post I had in my head. But this is what emerged instead, because writing is weird and unpredictable like that. Like magic. I'd forgotten about that magic.
Again, thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thanks for coming back.