“Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Yes! The days count finally got to three digits! When I started this blog, I promised myself that I would continue for 2000 days no matter what. But as usual, there was one loophole I didn’t think of. I didn’t promise myself how frequently I would post something. And guess what, I thought of that in December, while I was posting thrice a week and barely managing to make it. I told myself then that I would take it down a notch, and re-evaluate when I got to a hundered days. I am finally here, and it is time to make some changes. And acknowledge the help and support I have had. First and foremost, a big Thank You to all my readers. You are the reason I am still here.

As part of the celebration, I have put together a post that is actually a jumble of things – just like my thoughts. I start off with a story I heard as a kid, explain a change I am planning to make to this blog, go through a few thoughts on what a hundred days of blogging taught me, and conclude with a list of blogs that I read regularly. As usual, I am looking for feedback from you. I am anyway putting in a lot of effort – let me know how I can make it of better value to you.

The Absent Minded Professor

No, not the movie. Supposedly, there is one. This is a story our teacher told the whole class when I was in school. There was this very brilliant, but absent minded professor who wanted to boil some eggs. He also wanted to find out how long water took to boil so that the next time he made boiled eggs, he would have an idea. So he took a pan, added enough water, and set it on the stove. He had a stopwatch in one hand, and an egg in the other. He waited until the water boiled, and dropped the egg in. When he looked at the stopwatch to find the time, he realized that he was holding the egg. He had dropped the stopwatch instead of the egg.

If you are wondering what that has got to do with you or me or this blog, let me tell you – I am so much like that professor. I console myself saying that it is because I am so busy and I have so many things to think about. But the truth is, I have always been like that. In school, I would get 99% marks in Maths, having lost the 1% on some stupid mistake like 3×0=3 or 1+3=1. If there is one thing I have done consistently in my life, it is to make mistakes like this.

The Upcoming Change

The reason I decided to blog anonymously is because I have got a pretty unique name. If I used it, any of my prospective employers (and the current one) would be able to find my blog, and my views on early retirement. I couldn’t afford to take the risk. And once I decided to go anonymous, I was pretty bold. I have been publishing details about every cent we own. However, off late, I have been worrying about it. Given my track record, I am going to slip up. It is not a question of ‘if’, it is just ‘when’.

Another incident that happened was that I planned a trip to New York for a few days with one of my best friends. And I won’t be talking to her about this blog. It is a major part of my life, and I can’t tell her about this just because BusyDad is not comfortable with anyone knowing how much money we have. I will post two articles (if I actually manage to write them ahead of time) during that time period, and will be actively checking how many page views I got, but can’t tell her about it. I don’t think I have ever kept a secret from her… This is not me.

I am planning to remove the tracking bar soon. It probably doesn’t matter to anyone else, anyway.  I will also go through my old posts and remove references to that. Everything else – for instance, monthly expenses posts, and updates on the Buy Nothing Challenge will continue.

I love blogging, however. So here I will be, blabbering on about anything and everything.

What I now know about blogging, and wish I knew before I started

The Bad

  1. It is a lot of work. I know, it looks so easy. All it is, is a bunch of typed up words. Some of the posts look like the author has barely even thought about it. But trust me, it is more work than you think you do. For me, there is extra work because I am not a native English speaker. However, that is not the only issue. Deciding what to write about takes the most effort for me.
  2. You are not going to make any money in the beginning. If you are thinking of starting a blog just to make money, think again. And again. My income so far has been about $17 from AdSense, and thats all. In fact, when you sign up for the Amazon Affiliate program, they say that they will cancel your account if you don’t get 3 sales in certain number of days. My account is very much danger of that happening since I couldn’t sell anything so far. If you really want to help me out, three of you could buy some candy, toys or even one of these excellent books: Magpie Murders, Triggers or The Kerala Kitchen.
  3. You can actually spend money blogging. I wouldn’t have thought of that. But do note that I didn’t say ‘waste’. I think it is money well spent. I signed up for Tailwind. And I took the Perfect Pin and the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing courses. I haven’t been following everything I learnt, yet. But I will soon – Right now, I am too busy to do anything about it.

The Good

  1. People actually read what you write. I cannot actually explain this in words – Until you actually write something, and realize that total strangers read it, you will not understand what I am talking about. At least, I wouldn’t have, before I started writing. To date, I have had close to 8000 page views and 273 comments. I am glad I started writing.
  2. A sense of achievement. I was always good at Maths and Computers. But I always thought I wasn’t very good at writing. I am not saying that I am now, that is for you to judge. But the fact that I wrote consistently for so long, I think of it as a huge achievement. It lets me think that I can go on.
  3. Better writing skills. My writing skills have improved. A lot. If you have a doubt, check out my my first post. I can’t imagine how much better it is going to be in a few years.
  4. Clearer ideas. When I started with this blog, I had a bunch of ideas, and a sense of where we were going, but it was all jumbled up. It is getting clearer by the day, and I am actively spending time to think about it. This introspection is definitely going to help me long term.
  5. Motivation to stick to it. I have always been really good at making plans. And not sticking to it. It is great news that I still have the same plan a hundred days after I thought of it. I have under 1900 days to get there. FIRE, here I come!
  6. I get feedback about our personal situation. Whether I am writing about how BusyDad doesn’t think that highly of FIRE, the mistakes we have made so far, childhood experiences or the FIRE rules we broke, I get to hear from greater minds what they think about it.

The Best

I have been interacting with some of my fellow bloggers, and the amout of support I have had so far is awesome. For example, one of my new friends is Olivia from Birds Of A Fire and we talk regularly. She is about 12 years younger than me and lives in New York. I don’t really know if we have anything in common other than the fact that we both happened to start our blogs at the same time, and we both like Personal Finance. If it weren’t for our blogs, we would have never interacted. Last weekend, I met the witches and wizards behind Chief Mom Officer, Seeking The Dividends, Yet Another PF Blog and Zen Cents, and had a great time. I owe all of that to my blog.

The Blogs I Read Regularly

This is my gift to you. I love reading these, I hope you do too. I will make a proper blog roll one of these days, I promise.

If I have left comments at your blog, I read it fairly regularly. Let me know if I left you out. Hope Not!

 

 

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Friday, Dec 2, 2022