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Ever since I launched my personal finance blog on March 21, 2017, blogging has become an integral part of my life.
I think about my blog when I wake up, during my commute, when I’m in the shower, and when I go to bed.
It sounds a bit obsessive. But if that makes me happy, then I’m ok with being obsessed with blogging.
Some people, including family and friends, have told me I tend to overthink and overanalyze too much.
And I think I do that because I worry a lot about the future.
If I get a bad grade in school, I will think about me never being able to get a job after graduation.
If something breaks at our house, I will think about us having to pay thousands of dollars for the repair.
If someone in the family gets a cold, I tend to think about all the long-term health effects and anything that might go wrong due to the cold.
I think, think, and think to the point where it tires me out.
Blogging has provided me with an outlet to express myself in the ways that I never thought was feasible.
I let personality, plans, concerns, questions, and emotions unfold naturally on my blog without even realizing it.
After almost a year of writing hundreds of posts, at one point it dawned on me that there are so many things I didn’t know about myself prior to blogging.
And today I will let you in on what they are.
1. I don’t dislike writing as much as I thought.
English is my second language. I was born and raised in Vietnam and came to America at the age of 18 in 2005.
I didn’t grow up reading a lot of books. Most of what I read was required materials at school.
All of the writing that I did in English prior to coming to America was for school assignments, exams, papers, and college applications. Writing was something I had to do and was never passionate about.
That mentality carried on even after I started college. All the students at my college were required to take at least three writing courses in order to graduate. I could choose the topics I was interested in. But all the courses just involved lots of writing and reading.
Throughout my academic years, writing papers was just something I had to do, and I wanted to get it done fast so that I wouldn’t have to think about it. I could write papers and get good grades, but it wasn’t something I would choose to do at my own will.
However, from the moment I launched my blog, I just couldn’t stop churning out new content. All the thoughts that I had turned into posts. I got so much gratification from blogging that I just couldn’t stop writing every day for two full months.
By the third month, I knew I needed to explore social media (i.e. Twitter, Pinterest) and had to deal with many technical issues, so I slowed down.
I now write about what I want rather than what I’m told to do. Writing is liberating rather than being a chore. I have had so many questions and twisted thoughts that I just couldn’t figure out by myself. It could be about money, marriage, toilet flushes, and anything that I can think of in life.
Being able to put those thoughts in paper helps me look more closely at my own mindset and personality to write something that’s logical and actually makes sense to the reader. And in that process, I can clear my thoughts and get feedback from others to better shape my perspective on a certain topic.
2. I can run on less sleep than I thought.
Prior to Frugal Asian Finance, I would go to bed at 10:30 PM and get up at 6:30 AM. I would try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every day.
If for some reason I can’t fall asleep before 11 PM or before 6:30 AM, I would feel tired and didn’t feel like my normal self anymore. Sometimes I even dozed off on the train during my commute, so that’s an additional 5-10 minutes of sleep here and there.
After launching my blog, I ran on 5-6 hours of sleep every day for months. In July and August when I was trying to figure out Pinterest and make pinnable images for my old and new posts, I would go to bed at 2 AM and get up at 6:15 AM on a regular basis.
My body was screaming “Tired!” and “Sleep!” but my body said no. I felt like I was running against time to keep my traffic up. Every day that went by without me understanding Pinterest felt like me losing hundreds of pageviews.
No one was there to push me or monitor my success. But the thought of a traffic slump scared me and motivated me to fight against my sleep deprivation. My mood got worse. I was cranky and irritable with Mr. FAF.
He was clueless as to why I would get annoyed out of the blue. I felt bad for him. He might or might not have known it was because I was busy blogging.
In my 7th month of blogging, I got burned out. At one point, I just couldn’t write anymore after writing content nonstop to stay 4 months ahead of my own schedule. I decided to slow down and assess my work-life balance.
I no longer stay up past midnight to blog, mostly because I have gotten my Pinterest set up. But now I know that I can run on 6 hours of sleep and not feel too tired instead of relying on 8 hours of sleep to function like before.
3. I can sound funny in writing.
I don’t have a good sense of humor and usually don’t try to be funny. It’s just awkward when I do because my jokes just fall flat and get embarrassing.
However, a couple of readers have pointed out that some of my posts are funny. It came as a total shock to me. I never tried to be funny when I blogged. I don’t want people to think that I try too hard. And frankly, I just know I’m not funny.
I got one of the biggest pleasant surprises of my life when I published the post about how Mr. FAF bought me a $300 dress. Some readers commented that they found the content entertaining and funny.
I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I never meant for the story to be funny in any way. I just typed up whatever was on my mind and vented about the expensive dress a little bit.
I turned to my unwilling reader, Mr. FAF, to see if he found the post funny. And he did! Mr. FAF said: “No wonder people read your blog.” Mr. FAF rarely says something flattering to please me, so I took his comment seriously.
But I still wasn’t sure, so I asked him at least 5 times more if he thought if the post was funny. He got annoyed at one point, so I stopped.
As I poured my thoughts out onto my blog, I have gotten similar comments how some of my posts are entertaining. Every time I see such feedback, I still can’t believe it. This must be one of the biggest shockers of my life! My thought is always “What? Someone said I’m funny. What?!”
You can see some of those posts below:
4. I think about almost everything in my life through the personal finance lens.
It’s no secret that I like saving money and think about money on a daily basis. That fact wasn’t obvious to me until I started blogging. I don’t know if it’s because I need to make my content relevant to personal finance or not, but everything topic that I want to cover seems to have a finance component to it.
When I argue with Mr. FAF and see the loss in my productivity, I wonder how much those fights actually cost me in monetary value. I balk at the idea of us seeing a marriage counselor because I don’t want to drop almost $200 on an hour of marriage discussion.
Every action that I take can be seen as a frugal fail or a frugal win to blog about. My life revolves around frugality. However, what’s surprising is that I write a lot about money without letting it dominate my life.
I don’t want money to buy luxurious items such fancy phones, rings or watches. I think about money often because it forces me to think hard about what kind of future I want to have and what I want to be doing for my family in the long run.
Do I want to work for money when I’m 60 or do I want to have the option of working on fun projects when I’m financially free? Do I want to invest in our children’s education fund or buy rental property to generate passive income for their education? What am I passionate about and can I generate more wealth for my family by doing what I love?
I think about those questions often. Sometimes it can feel like I don’t live in the moment and just constantly think about the future. But the fact that we don’t have to worry about what to ear the next day or whether we have enough money to cover a leaked roof tomorrow is a bliss at the present in and of itself.
Having the luxury of planning for the future and not having to worry about the present is happiness to me.
5. I’m very social online.
I am generally a shy person and indeed an introvert. I can literally just sit at home and find different projects to entertain myself on the weekends.
Sometimes I just walk outside to see what the weather is like on the weekends and then come home. Sometimes I do feel bored at home and want to go for a walk or hang out with friends. But I am very good at finding joy at my own home.
There have been times when I stayed at home during the holiday for 3-4 days straight and just went outside to take out the trash. People are always surprised when I tell them that. But to me, it’s just normal like me eating rice every day.
However, thanks to my blog, I am super social on the internet, exploring different social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit.
I like scrolling down the Twitter feeds to share content that I find interesting, just leave comments on other bloggers’ tweets, and just chat about random blog-related topics with other bloggers.
I find it so much fun that I think I have Twitter friends I hang out with virtually. I am also getting more active on Reddit to answer other Redditors’ questions and just to share what I know about blogging.
Some bloggers have commented that they see me be very active on social media and asked how I find time to do that. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m not so social in real life, so I have more time to be social online.
As I’m exploring blogging, frugality, and investment, I’ve discovered some interest facts about myself that wasn’t well aware of. Some of them are pleasant (i.e. sounding funny in writing). Some sound obsessive (i.e. thinking about personal finance all the time). And some are refreshing (being social online).
And I believe that over time my blog will continue to grow with me and reflect the struggles, challenges, and success that Mr. FAF and I have in our lives. Frugal Asian Finance is like a mirror I will look at every time I feel lost and need direction.
The blog helps me reflect on who I am as a person, who I am today, and who I want to be in 5,10, or 40 years down the road.