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Reflecting after 1 year of writing...

Hello frugal readers! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I wrote my first column for the Levy Citizen newspaper. Since then I’ve been picked up by the Dixie County Advocate, which I think makes me a syndicated writer! Ha! I also started this website last summer when I realized that no one actually buys a newspaper anymore.

I learned early on that sharing my words of wisdom every week was a no-go and way too much pressure so I’ve switched to every other week, which has worked out pretty well. I want to thank all of my readers but especially those who fill out the comment section and/or send me an email. Your feedback drives my writing and inspires me, so I genuinely thank you.

Now let’s move on to some surprising things I’ve learned since becoming a writer 1 year ago:

Grammarly is your friend. Yes, I use the free version of the Grammarly extension to check my writing for errors before I post. I sometimes even run it through another app to check for errors, too. I love it when my editors say I have an error-free column! It’s a challenge for me, I guess. For those of you who know me well, I often catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in things I read and you all know how much that bothers me! Grammarly saves me, and I hope you give it a try.

You sometimes get fan mail, which isn’t always a good thing. Yes, I have received fan mail. I’m talking about handwritten letters that were actually mailed to one of the newspapers I write for. My first piece of fan mail was from a prisoner who is incarcerated for life without the possibility of parole. No, I’m not joking. He had a lot to say and was mostly nice but he also sent me about 30 book recommendations. I’m going to chalk that up to constructive criticism and will always remember his letter as my very first piece of fan mail.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually takes my financial advice. Owning a website makes it pretty easy to see how many people visit my site each day and at what time of day. I can tell if you did a Google search and clicked on my site that way or if you’re a subscriber and clicked on an email you got. I see that lots of people view my posts, and I try to keep them pretty short so that they can be read in only 2-3 minutes. What I’m not sure about is if anyone actually takes any action to improve their financial situation after reading my posts. Well that was true up until last week. I had a friend share that my words really did inspire some action, which I really needed to hear.

I’m not as funny as I thought I was. So each time I write, I try to include at least one joke, pun, or cute story. What I didn’t realize is that I’m not naturally funny. My friends and family tell me all the time that I’m too serious and I have come to realize that they’re right! Joking is hard work. I have a new respect for comedians, especially those who are witty and can think on their feet. I carefully plan out my funny-ish comments and usually run them by a trusted ear beforehand.

My posts that include true stories get the most clicks. Yep, I guess we all like to read about each other’s lives. The posts I write that tell something that actually happened to me or someone close to me get read by more people than the posts that just spell out some form of financial advice. I guess it’s kind of like being a preacher, so thanks Dad. When my Dad preaches, the congregation always kind of perks up when he tells a story about something or someone. This is not to say that they aren’t equally enamored by the scripture but he’s a talented, if somewhat long-winded, story-teller and his stories are captivating. When I apply that same technique to my writing, I get more clicks. I guess we’re all suckers for a good story, especially if it’s funny. If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to read one of my very first posts about my parents called My Frugal Inspiration.

So here’s to a full year of writing! I hope to have many, many more years and many, many more subscribers by this time next year. I’ve even been toying with the idea of starting a Frugal Teacher Facebook page so I’ll let you all know if I take that leap of faith or not.


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