I started this blog back in February, and 7 months later, I still feel very new to the whole blogging thing. Financially, I feel like I’m making pretty good progress. Not that I’m ready to retire tomorrow, mind you, but on a salary just over $44,000, I haven’t done half bad.
As far as the writing goes though, I think I’m still struggling to “find my voice”. Honestly, I thought that part would come a little easier. I’ve never been a great writer, but I did spend a lot of time in college writing for the school newspaper. For several years I even had a He Said/She Said column with a fellow writer. We’d tackle current issues that were relevant on campus, each taking a side. The staff would usually decide as a group what our topic for the week would be, and I always let my counterpart choose his side first. He always chose the side that would be least likely to cause waves, leaving me to argue the less popular opinion.
In those days, I could argue anything, whether I agreed with the point or not, and didn’t really care what people thought. I argued against the way our school recruited athletes (party weekends), which resulted in many a drunken football player calling me at 2 am. I argued for our school being a dry campus, and then spent that Friday night with my head in the dorm toilet, explaining to each passerby that I didn’t have to agree with a stance to write in favor of it. I wrote in favor of continuing Greek Life on our small campus, even though I avoided sororities like the plague.
Back in my twenties, there was a certain thrill in knowing that my writing caused controversy. While initially it caused some sleepless nights and angry feelings, it often opened up discussions that people otherwise would have avoided. In the end, it was a good thing. People were talking! People were sharing, and learning to listen to each other’s ideas!
So why am I playing it so safe in writing this blog?
I reread and rewrite every post on this blog, over and over again. I think about all the angles, and the people who might be reading it. Is that phrase offensive? Does this paragraph come across bitchy? I’ve let myself get to the point where I over think every word I write. It’s even worse when I’m commenting on other people’s blogs.
I guess part of it is because what I’m writing about is so personal. It’s about my money, my life, and my relationships. I worry about coming across as attacking someone, especially when I’m commenting on other sites. And what if people don’t agree with me? What if they think I’m crazy, or I don’t know what I’m talking about? What if I make a stance today, and change my mind tomorrow?
Honestly, I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I don’t like the drama. I don’t like starting arguments. I care about what others think of me. But part of my reasoning in writing this blog is to get feedback from others. I want people to share what they’re thinking, what they’re doing, and how they feel about what I’m doing. I want insight into some of the mistakes I might be making. I want to grow, and learn, and make better decisions. I want to be a better person than I was yesterday, and make better choices than I did before. And none of that is going to happen if I’m trying to please everyone, and make everyone like me. Vanilla’s fine, but it’s not going to stir up any discussions!
So, one of my goals going forward is going to be to write from the heart. I need to stop worrying so much about what other people are thinking of me. And I also need to be willing to take some risks. For me, personal finance is an ever-changing journey. I have to be willing to say something today, and eat my words tomorrow. I’ll change my mind. I’ll make mistakes. I may even piss some people off. And hopefully along the way, I’ll have some great discussions, and learn lots of new things.
And maybe somewhere along the way, I’ll find my voice.
– Cindy W.