“Why do you blog?” a reporter recently asked me. “What made you want to start a blog about money?”
“I didn’t start writing about money,” I said in response. “I didn’t create a blog to help others seek financial fortune or to document my journey. For the first few months, I didn’t write about money at all. I started this blog during a very dark time in my life.”
“I wasn’t expecting that answer,” the reporter said, “tell me more.”
So, I took a breath and launched into the saga of my medical mystery. I talked about my medical anomaly, dismissive doctors, two trips to the emergency room, multiple hospital stays, clot-busting medications, and countless medical tests.
Deep inside, I knew something was wrong, but doctors couldn’t name it. Instead, a few told me it was “all in my head,” while others signed off on a clean bill of health.
Searching for a diagnosis is exhausting. I was mentally and physically drained. I spent every minute searching for answers, scheduling more appointments and tests.
Why Did I Start a Blog?
While the world kept on spinning for my friends and relatives, my life stopped. I couldn’t think about anything other than finding a cure for a disease my doctors couldn’t diagnose.
Each appointment left me feeling more broken and discouraged. “Maybe you are just nervous,” a doctor once told me. “You could have died, and that’s scary. Take these pills to calm your anxiety.”
But I knew my breathing problems weren’t a result of anxiety. My body was fighting for my survival, and no one else could see it.
My primary doctor couldn’t diagnosis me, but he believed I was sick. He sent me to twenty specialists within six months. At the end of that six months, he sent me to a general surgeon whose words saved my life.
While all of the other doctors rushed my visits, asked a few questions, and sent me on my way, that general surgeon took the time to chat with me. He asked me to tell him everything I could about my body and my ailments.
Within minutes he provided me with a rare diagnosis. I broke down on the examination table as full guttural sobs released from my throat. It wasn’t the name of the disorder that made me cry. It was the fact that I had been given a diagnosis!
Why Do You Blog?
Why do you blog? I have a very unconventional answer to that question. Fifteen years ago, I experienced a medical crisis that would forever change my life. I began blogging eight months after my first trip to the emergency room and three weeks after a surgery that saved my life.
Despite my medical problems, I felt lucky to be alive. My blog’s original name was One Lucky Girl. It was an easy name to choose at the time. If I hadn’t gone to the emergency room when I did, I wouldn’t have survived. If I hadn’t stumbled upon that general surgeon, I wouldn’t be alive today.
I suppose it seems odd to feel ‘lucky’ in these types of circumstances, but that’s precisely how I felt. I also felt broken, defeated, and angry. In that most desperate time, I needed a place to write about my worries. I’ve maintained a journal during the dark periods of my life, but this time I turned to the Internet to tell my story.
In the beginning, I wrote about my medical problems, my misdiagnosis, and the day I nearly died. I wrote to distract myself from my medical worries and fear of chronic pain and illness.
As I began to heal, I ventured into other topics. As I typed the words into my computer, I noticed a theme. I wrote a lot about money.
What Should You Name Your Blog?
Of course, I would write about money. My medical bills were piling up, my pain wasn’t improving, and my short term disability policy only lasted six months.
I’ve always felt stressed and anxious about money. That time in my life was incredibly stressful, so it’s no surprise that I decided to write about it.
I started blogging from my recliner in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. While the rest of the world seemed to be at work, I was at home on short term disability. That time in my life was one of the darkest I’ve yet to face. As I sat there staring at the walls, I began to wonder what my future would hold.
Would I continue to work as a software engineer? Would the pain become too intense for me to continue typing on a computer all day? If I didn’t continue in my current profession, what would I do? My job was less taxing than so many other jobs. What if I couldn’t continue working altogether?
I always wanted children, what if I couldn’t have them? What if my husband, who I’d married six months before, left me? My mind wandered and fretted as my fingers typed for all the world to see.
The more I wrote about work and money, the more I wondered if I should alter my blog’s name.
After a few short months, I changed the name to One Frugal Girl. I spent a total of one second thinking about that name. It’s funny reflecting on it now.
The importance of choosing a domain name didn’t occur to me at that time. The year was 2005, and that sort of thing wasn’t as vital as it is now.
I deleted all my posts related to One Lucky Girl and formed a new online identity.
Finding a Blogging Niche
These days bloggers spend a lot of time choosing their domains and picking out a specific blogging niche. They search for the sweet spot that combines knowledge and passion with the ability to make a profit.
In 2005, profitability wasn’t a reason to blog. I never considered making a fortune from this blog and never dreamed it would make me a millionaire.
I continued to write this blog like a personal journal, but along the way, I gained more than I ever could have imagined.
Meeting New People
A few weeks after writing my first financial post, I received a new comment. That comment led me to another blogger who also wrote about personal finance. Back then, it was easy to stumble onto new blogs. Most bloggers kept a running list of their favorites in their sidebars.
I spent hours following the links from one blog to another, finding new favorites, and adding them to my list.
As I stumbled across those blogs, I ventured into a world where people spoke honestly and openly about money. On the Internet, bloggers felt free to discuss salaries, promotions, and expenses without shame or worry.
Many blogs were nameless and faceless back then. I remained anonymous so that I could share the vivid details of my life without fear of repercussions.
In the real world, I didn’t meet people who talked about money. Everyone kept their secrets to themselves. I had no idea how much people earned or saved, but personal finance bloggers were sharing their numbers all over the Internet.
Inspired by Other Bloggers
I felt inspired by so many bloggers telling their stories. The best part was reading about other women who wanted to talk about money.
I didn’t care if they were single or married, with children or without. I gobbled up every blog I could find. In the real world, my peers rarely discussed the topic.
Those fellow female bloggers inspired me. They acted as a sounding board for so many of my questions and concerns. They also introduced me to other strong women who were taking control of their finances.
Finding Similar Blogs
As time wore on, more blogs came online, and my circle of personal finance bloggers widened. There were more people from different walks of life telling their stories.
Most of us had little in common. We didn’t attend the same schools, have the same degrees, or live in the same geographic areas, but none of that seemed to matter as we shared a love of personal finance.
Is Blogging Worth It?
Fifteen years ago this month, I started writing this blog. The world has changed a lot since then, and the Internet is a different beast than it was in 2005.
These days many people think blogging isn’t worthwhile unless you earn a ton of money from it. I understand that approach to blogging, but blogging is about so much more than money to me.
I suppose that sounds weird coming from a blogger who writes about money, but it’s true.
Blogging brought me hope at a time when I felt hopeless. It helped me find friendships and companionship when I felt isolated and lonely. When I stopped working, it helped me maintain confidence in myself.
I never imagined getting sick in my mid-twenties. This blog gave me a reason to reach out to the world. More importantly, it gave me a reason not to give up on myself.
A Lifelong Blog
This blog has followed much of my story, from a broken twenty-seven-year-old to a forty-three-year-old living her best life.
Along the way, I’ve gotten pregnant and given birth twice. I helped my husband form a company and picked up the pieces after it fell apart. I willingly walked away from my job as a software engineer and embraced the role of a stay-at-home parent.
I’ve also watched my bank accounts grow—ultimately reaching financial independence before I even knew about the term.
Blogging led me towards an intentional life. Without my medical trauma and this blog I would have continued chasing the wind. I wouldn’t have recognized my value beyond money and I would have struggled with a dysfunctional measure of success.
Grateful for this Blog
At times this blog has been a point of contention for my husband and me. Sometimes I spend more time on it than I should, especially since I don’t make a lot of money from blogging.
If money were my goal, I could have made more in other ways, but this blog will always hold a special place in my heart. It helped me dig myself out of a very dismal place.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hold on to the earliest posts I wrote, but I wish I could find that very first comment. The one that told me someone was out there listening to my story.
Without that comment, I would have continued feeling desolate and lonely. That one comment led me to search for other personal finance bloggers, and those blogs took me down the rabbit holes of personal finance.
They led me to meet so many interesting people and to share in their excitement as they achieved their dreams and goals.
Blogging for Money
There is nothing wrong with blogging to earn money, but if you aren’t earning a fortune, don’t give up. The value in blogging isn’t all about dollars and cents. It’s about forming connections and sharing ideas.
It’s about documenting your journey so you can look back at all you accomplished. Once you cross a bridge in life, you are unlikely to cross it again. Life moves on; we age, our passions change, our worldview alters.
This blog allows me to glimpse into my past and to see my future through the eyes of someone fifteen years younger.
I had no idea how much would change in the last fifteen years. I am grateful for everyone who has ever left a comment or a word of encouragement.
You Never Know Who You Will Impact
If you are thinking about starting a blog, I encourage you to pick a domain and get to it.
You never know who needs to hear your story. Lots of people are right behind you in their journey. Whatever that journey might be. In my case, I didn’t become a millionaire overnight.
Find a way to begin your blog, and tell your story. Then find ways to inspire those who may stumble upon it.