One Year of Blogging: The Twisted Logic Behind Savvy History

"The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.” - Lorne Michaels discussing Saturday Night Live

Writing articles and becoming an online musician has appealed to me for several years. I honestly wish I would’ve started sooner. My first year as a working mom and my first year blogging went hand in hand. I was going through a large overhaul of my identity. I was scratching out a space to call my own.

I found it.

Not surprisingly, blogging has helped me feel connected to my past as a singer-songwriter after a long break from creativity. I’m excited to see what creativity will mean to me in the future.

Consistency Over Perfection

I’ve recently been listening to podcasts like Broken Record, Switched on Pop, and Creative Processing while on dog walks. As with writing, listening to people talk about music helps me feel aligned. Whether listening to content or producing it, I feel about the same. I view this as a nice milestone where I equally value in-put and out-put. 

Since starting Savvy History and becoming a parent, I’ve experienced time in a different way. Consistently writing with a weekly deadline provokes a heightened sense of time. 

The act of weekly writing articulates the sanctity of being alone in a way that keeps me in touch with myself. This has little to do with perfection because it has more to do with the moving target of identity. My writing is never perfect because it's always dynamic, moving, and alive. I don't expect it to feel finished. Therefore, I don't expect it to feel perfect.

Drowning In The Idea Factory

Artistic creativity is creating a problem for yourself that you actually want to solve. I want to solve the daily, monthly, and yearly problems Savvy History creates. I’m a hot mess feeling the weight of time as I sort through my mess. But I always remember - I made this mess on purpose.

In the midst of busy days, I love collecting and organizing brief notions for the future. Some notions become blog post ideas while others become songs. I feel lucky (and overwhelmed) to have an endless back catalog of ideas. 

Knowing what to focus on (and how to roll out scaffolded long-form content) will be the key to any meaningful internal and external growth.

I’ve learned I love generating ideas and searching for novel topics. However, elaborating on them and presenting them in a way that is useful is very difficult.

Let’s See How The First Year Went

Highlight Reel For 2019:

  • I wrote one post per week.
  • I collaborated with people from around the world. 
  • I now have a secure website with an SSL certificate (progress compared to the six-month blogging check-in).
  • I’m genuinely flattered and excited every time anyone shares one of my articles on social. THANK YOU. It really does make my day.
  • I was a guest on the What’s Up Next Podcast and the One Million Apples Podcast. Another podcast appearance is in the works. I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes of it!
  • The Financial Diet featured one of my articles. The blog was also featured on Rockstar Finance, Collecting Wisdom, Campfire Finance, Women’s Personal Finance Wednesdays, Women Who Money, and a Plutus Awards Showcase.
  • Several insightful writers online followed me back! In addition, they continue to habitually interact with me on social or on the blog.  
  • I occasionally tag authors I enjoy just to see what happens. I am starstruck to often interact with them.
  • I’ve gained clarity about my interest in writing as a side hustle. The slow grind reminds me a lot of being a musician (only I am able to sit in my house)!
  • All of the above expanded my mind.

Low Points For 2019:

  • I once rushed through my lunch hour to edit an article about slowing down... I kind of felt like a silly contradiction at that moment.
  • I still ruminate like crazy after being a guest on a podcast (or posting on social). I really dwell on my sentences, my exact word choice, and if I communicated a message as well as I could have. (This rumination is better than when I was younger and did music press though. All in all, I think it’s a sign I want to do a good job and have a positive impact on people. I care about the larger vision of Savvy History. Rumination may also be a side-effect of being new at self-promotion again.)
  • I like to read books more than I like to be on the internet. (However, I realize it’s impossible to have a creative online presence without being on the internet.)
  • As much as I wanted to think the niche of personal finance would fit me, it kind of doesn’t. After a year, I realize the personal-finance space shouldn’t be my only home on social media or I won’t feel like myself.
  • Personal finance is more like a boot camp I’ll visit once in a while to encourage artistic responsibility. I’m equally, if not more interested in business, entrepreneurship, creativity, psychology, music, teaching, minimalism, and HISTORY (especially stories in history that have the ability to tie all of these subjects together). In order to self-actualize this blog and move it into its fleshed-out vision, I will need time. Time to research. Time to record songs. Time to go deep. I'm interested in how saving money can buy time.
  • My social media presence is “spur of the moment.” It has zero vision as of yet. When I hear about people planning content, I think, “What planet is that?”  

 

The First Year: Common Themes

  • Frugality and lifestyle design can help a person gain creative freedom and creative confidence, but not without trade-offs.
  • Parenting while trying to prioritize a creative life is difficult.
  • The psychology of being a creator is fascinating and complex.
  • I prefer quirky and off-beat ideas to popular or even efficient ideas.
  • I love living in a small town, keeping it simple, and keeping it local. However, I feel worldly and culturally connected using the internet.
  • I thrive on making connections between seemingly unrelated things.
  • I like making lists, sharing books, sharing podcasts, and finding new books and podcasts when I interact with others online.
  • I like to “like” more than I like to post when it comes to social media. I have to push myself to say something each day. (Instagram stories are appealing to me right now because they can be really off the cuff.)
  • I’m happiest when working on a long-form idea.
  • The battle between screen-time and prioritizing family and friends is real.
  • I admire the power of well-told stories. I’m way more comfortable talking about bibliotherapy and psychology than I am talking about personal finance.

When I Would Call It Quits

As far as Savvy History goes, I named this site with the idea it could morph at any moment in the early stages. Therefore, I shouldn’t need to “officially” quit even if I change. 

Savvy History will function as my music site if/when I start playing live shows again. My first batch of history songs involves inventors. (If I have an online presence as a musician, half my posts are going to be about our frugal shenanigans and business missteps because... that's some easy content to find.

If I want to freelance write on the side, I think this site can double as a portfolio for some articles. Otherwise, this site is an over-priced journal and that’s fine too.

That being said, if something’s not worth doing, it’s certainly not worth doing well. I admire people who know when to quit.

Here’s where I’d draw the line:

  • If I don’t record my 30 songs in the next 3 years.
  • If my musical goals don’t happen... because I don’t have time... as I work on a blog. Womp. Womp.
  • If the website doesn’t break even financially after 3 years.
  • If I take a break from it and find I’m happier without it.

 

I've learned I can't predict a successful Tweet.

First Year (In Numbers)

“Sometimes it’s Monday and we don’t know who the guest is going to be on Thursday.” - Conan O’Brien on finding guests for his show.

Number of Creativity at Work Interviews: 7 (More are in the works. Unlike Conan, I will not hunt people down. Like Conan, I don’t always know who the next guest will be.)

Cost to run the blog: $12 (It was a sign-up deal.) Going forward, I bought a 3-year deal. It will cost around $100 per year for the hosting/domain. Six months from now, I want to have figured out Cloudfare to help the site run faster worldwide. Let me know if you think it’s worth it.

Monetization Method: I’m currently monetizing this blog with digital sales of my music. Broke even this year. (Next year will be harder!) 

Number of brands that reached out: 10 (I acted on none of them. However, the Chinese food delivery company was tempting.)

Number of posts: 60

Pageviews: 10,501

Comments: 396 (Half are me responding to other people.)

Guest posts: 8

Clothes bought for me: 0

Massages: 1

Songs started: 15

Songs finished: 0

Songs waiting to be recorded: 30

Songs that should be chopped and never see the light of day: 5

Number of books read: 15 (500+ if you count little kid books.)

Twitter followers: 1,145

Instagram followers: 570

Accounts sitting dormant that I rarely engage with: 6 (Reddit, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, LinkedIn). 

As you can probably tell, I’m not sure what metrics to use to gauge progress. As long as I wake up each day and carve out one hour for Savvy History, I’m feeling pretty lucky.

Thank you for all the support this first year! Do you have any thoughts for Savvy History? Feel free to tell us about your first of year blogging.

DISCLAIMER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE PLEASE SEEK A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION.

 

 

9 Replies to “One Year of Blogging: The Twisted Logic Behind Savvy History”

  1. Congrats on making it to one year with the blog, Michelle! What a milestone. It sounds like you’ve been very intentional with the blog and balancing it with your life. That’s not easy. 🙁

    I’m so impressed that you accomplished the goal of one post a week. That’s no easy feat, and it’s a goal that’s out of reach for me on most weeks!

    I look forward to another year of Savvy History!

    1. Thank you for stopping by the blog throughout this first year Chrissy. I always enjoy your thoughtful comments and thoughtful approach to living.

      My next goal is to learn how to put one period instead of two in between my sentences. My goals are all over the place (ha, ha, ha).

  2. Congrats Michelle and Happy 1 anniversary to Savvy History. What a great year in review as well. You’re doing fantastic work and I always enjoy reading. Hope the blog continues to grow from strength to strength and you get those songs recorded as well!

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words, Mr. Fate. I’m glad you enjoy reading the material!

      I hope I get to those songs as well! Even a rough demo would be nice:)

  3. i like your blog. did you know when mrs. me saw anais mitchell to consider her for the label she was playing a coffee house in little burlington, vermont? she just won some tony awards on broadway. you never know.

    keep creating.

    1. I plan to keep creating Freddy! Right back at you! Thanks for the encouraging words this year. Cool story about Anais.

      Alain de Botton just followed me back on Twitter so I’m kind of feeling like I already made it:)

      Also, I have no interest in moving or touring, so “making it” will always be in the form of some abstract solo accomplishment on the internet.

      I hope to stare at my screen in surprise many times before going on a dog walk to carry on like normal:)

      1. oh, just as a side note, she won that award for owning the stage production and best score. she made the record and never sold the rights and kept control over the material and made it into a musical. i think keeping control over her original material was key, especially if you don’t want to tour. i think we’ve both seen what can happen when someone else owns your creative stuff as a cautionary tale.

        that’s all i got. rock on.

  4. Congrats on hitting the one-year mark. Sounds like you’ve built in a lot of flexibility for the purpose of the blog which is huge. Mine has been about things all over the map, and it took me a while to learn that that’s okay.

    Here’s to another great year!

    1. Thank you, Abigail, for coming along on the ride this first year! There’s a lot to be said for narrow niches having power, but I think letting yourself be a full human has more staying power.

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