Looking past on the the 800+ posts I have written, there is everything needed to get out of a boring job or stop working unless you for some reason really want to. This means, essentially, that the problem of financial independence and early retirement has been solved. Just go and read the backlog.
(If there are any unresolved issues, let me know and I’ll take a crack at them.)
From a solutions perspective, writing more posts does not make much if any sense. It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that whenever I get an “new” idea for a new post, the idea is not really new: I have written a post about the same topic already 1 or 2 times before. Why keep writing new posts then?
The problem is that the blog medium has no permanence. Posts fade into the past and get forgotten. For some reason, I have yet to decipher, new posts command more attention. Therefore, mature blogging seems mainly to be about rehashing the same old in slightly different words.
If we accept this premise there are two reasons to keep writing.
- New readers are not going to go back and read old posts (this is actually false; many do indeed go back and read everything) and therefore I need to repeat myself cyclically.
- Old readers are not yet sufficiently ready to change so therefore I have to keep mentioning “sell or swap your unwatched DVD collection” from time to time while waiting for something to click. The fact is that actively trying to convince someone of something is close to futile. People are not rational that way or they have other obligations they need to work out first. All I can do is to make noise and then when a person is ready, they will know where to go for advice.
This has lead me to the following two conclusions:
If I want to help people (because doing so somehow gives meaning to my life), I can either
- Focus on continuing to write posts to inspire while waiting for “conversion” at some unspecified future date.
- Seek out people who are ready to change yet do not have the solution yet.
Somehow the latter seems more effective. Hence I have been spending more time on promotion and outreach lately.
(Also, I hate intentionally repeating myself and there’s only so much to say about personal finance.)
I am also considering—what I have mentioned before—converting from a blog format into a magazine format. The problem here is the loss of the comments and the community which is really half if not more the value of the blog format. As you can see by the fact that nothing has happened yet, I am still trying to find the solution to THAT problem.
Clarification: I am not looking to shut down ERE. I am looking to grow it to the next stage. Possibly, the next stage is not in the blog format. The primary problem is having to repeat technicalities, which have already been sufficiently covered and which is something I am not interested in doing as it is awfully close to an academic career path, that is, having one or two great ideas early on and then publish small variations on those for the rest of one’s career. If we stick with the academic model, the next stage may very well be some kind of networking/mentoring. Of course, this suggestion indicates that I’m quite formed by my past career in terms of how I believe things usually go.
So to reiterate, what I want to do is to bring ERE to the next stage rather than keep plodding along at its current level. The problem, now at this stage, is that having to generate repetitive content on a regular basis just to make the blog look active and keep people reading sounds awfully much like the busywork of a regular job. What I am trying to figure out are ways to make ERE be less like a job and more like an asset.
Incidentally, thanks for the suggestions. I will use some of them — look out tomorrow!