I haven't been blogging as much as I would like. I couldn’t figure out why the words weren’t coming. There’s plenty to write about, considering the transition that's been happening in my life. I know that being here, in my gorgeous apartment, is great. Great for me, great for Cloe, great for my well-being. 

Everything that Remains

But I also know that I need to find a way to either cut my spending or bring in more money. My finances have looked a little bleak lately. I probably can’t afford this apartment. I know I’ve taken a lot of risks in moving out on my own without any savings. Add to that my monthly car payment and my looming student loans, and I know that I could potentially be in hot water. 

I’ve spent the last month looking for any way possible to cut my spending—I unplug everything I’m not using, I hardly ever turn the heat on, and I downgraded my phone plan. And so far things have been cutting back on some bills, but I’m still not establishing any savings and I haven’t been taking proper care of my student loans.

After researching and checking out a lot of personal finance success stories, I decided to turn to my blog. Nearly every site I read said to start a blog; it’s an easy way to bring in money, you just have to do these few things. Naturally this sounded great because, heck, I already had my own blog. And on top of that, I’m a writer, a pretty damn good one at that. Making money should be a piece of cake, I thought to myself. Just write, add a few pictures and affiliate links, and you’re set. Except of course, it’s never that simple.

When I want to write, the words hardly ever appear. I try to trick myself into writing. Maybe I can do this experiment and write about it. Or maybe I can talk about clothes that I like and throw together a quick gallery of images of things I would buy if I had the money. But still the words never came.

The few posts I have been able to churn out blossomed from a real passion for the topic, like the one about how much I love going to the local dog park or my first outfit post that was so much fun to shoot and the photos made me feel beautiful. Writing about things I cared about was great. But even then I couldn’t get myself to post more than once a week. I wanted to be writing every day. Or at the least maybe 3-5 times a week. But no, just once.

I couldn’t figure it out. I knew I needed the money. I knew that writing was something I was passionate about and enjoyed. So why couldn’t I write a few posts every couple of days? I can’t say that the answer came right away. It actually took a few weeks and what I thought was a light bulb moment was actually just a gradual revelation that had been building from weeks of podcasts, essays, and books.

I didn’t finally put everything together until I was lying on an air mattress on top of my childhood bed at my parents’ house—the mattress was nearly 15 years old and manages to do quite some damage to my back whenever I sleep over. Just that afternoon my copy of Everything That Remains arrived from Amazon and I was feverish to finally have a moment to enjoy Joshua’s rich words.

 As a writer, I have two settings. I either pay no attention to your grammar or style because I’m not expecting a lot out of your words. Or I’m hypercritical of every sentence an author produces because I can feel their mastery of the English language. Joshua’s writing is definitely its own sort of mastery.  I kept waiting for it to feel pretentious or like he was trying too hard. He has a stellar vocabulary—one that often has me searching the dictionary. Which obviously means he’s full of himself and trying too hard, right? But he’s not. He’s just that good and raw and honest. He writes the way I want my words to look.

But Joshua’s exceptional writing in this text wasn’t enough to get me over my writing paralysis—it was more like the wafts of a gourmet meal drawing you into the restaurant, but you’re not yet ready to commit to the reservation. The moment when the fog was wiped away from my writing spectacles was when I read Joshua’s description of when he first saw an interview with Colin Wright from Exile Lifestyle. He talks about how Colin was looking for something to do, something that would support doing something he loved. But putting your finger on these somethings isn’t easy. Finally Colin decided to start a blog because it was a way to facilitate doing something he loved.

And that’s when it clicked. I was no longer blogging because I loved it. I was blogging because I felt the debt collector’s eyes on my back with dollar signs in his eyes. In that moment I knew that I hadn’t been blogging because I loved it too much to defile it with solely monetary value. Instead, I want to start blogging again because it feels good to write. It feels good to spread my authentic, painful journey around so people can relate and hopefully feel a little less alone. I write so I can help people, but I was writing my blog as a way to help myself. I wasn’t using my words for good as I had intended.

Moving forward, I’m still probably going to include an affiliate link here and there. I still want to use ShopStyle Collective when I share outfit posts. And I’m still going to do outfit posts because they’re fun and make me feel good. But the money is now only an afterthought. I want to produce meaningful content and gain your trust as a writer. And hopefully with this trust I’ll eventually be able to start a mentoring service where I can share all that I’ve learned on my journey and be your personal cheerleader.  To be honest, part of me still really, really hopes that this turns into a money making machine, but that’s no longer the point. I want to write to share my journey in ways that will help you, not write to make money.

Feel WellSarah Walsh