Posting Less, Writing More
For the next few months, I’m cutting back my posts to every other week. In terms of financial independence we could call this “unpaid leave” or a “working vacation”.
As some of you long-term readers may remember, a couple of years ago I sold the blog. The sale terms included a three-year earnout, and I’ve just completed the milestone for the second year. The blog’s owner will be making another large donation to Wounded Warrior Project, and I’ll continue posting regularly through the third year.
But my personal calendar for the rest of this year is getting crowded. In 3-4 weeks my spouse and I will be on a military Space A flight to the east coast, heading for FinCon15. (We’re looking at Pope AFB, Travis, and JBLM plus any other bases near a commercial airport.) I’m going to be in Charlotte NC no later than 15 September to recover from epic jet lag and to meet the other attendees of the Digital CoLab event starting on the 16th. We’ll wrap up FinCon on the 20th and then scamper back to an airport for the next Space A flight to Spain to visit our daughter. She’s over halfway through her tour on her guided-missile destroyer and she’s ramping up for her third deployment, so this is our last chance of 2015 to spend time with her and roam Andalusia again. We’ll travel about 10 weeks in Rota and head back to Hawaii in early December.
One reason that I’m posting less is because I’ll be busy before, during, and after FinCon. It’s physically and mentally intense with 12-hour days (and that’s just for the parties). By the end of the first day I’m usually overwhelmed with all of the new knowledge and networking– and hoarse as well. I socialize online with my FinCon friends all year, so when we’re doing it in person then I’m not going to be live-tweeting or posting Facebook selfies.
Another reason that I’m posting less during travel is because my iPad is just not up to the task. The WordPress iPad app seriously sucks. (I mean that as a polite assessment.) WordPress on Safari reminds me of using Hotmail on Microsoft IE6 (I’m lookin’ at you, Apple), and WordPress on Chrome is one of the rare ways to crash the iPad’s Chrome app. All of them are abysmally slow and take longer to format the post than it did to write it.
The next half-dozen posts that you’ll read here in the coming weeks were written last month, and they’re already on the blog schedule. I’ll feel lucky to add a FinCon wrapup from a PC in a USO lounge while we’re on the way to Rota. However I’ll also post plenty of Facebook and Twitter links to show you what I’ve learned and what else FinCon is doing.
The final reason that I’m posting less is because, ironically, I’ll be writing more. Much of my blogging time is spent researching reader questions, and I’ll continue to do that during our travel. However along with turning e-mails and comments into blog posts, I’ll be working on my second book: “The Military Guide To Making Good Insurance Decisions”. (That link includes the manuscript’s outline.) I’ll spend the rest of August hashing the outline into Scrivener and filling it with the 15,000 words that I’ve written so far. Then I’ll break the modules into iOS Pages files and add to those during our trip.
By the way, the first thing that second book needs is a better title. I like “The Military Guide To…” brand, but the rest needs help. If you pick the winning title then you get an extra vote in choosing the military charities that will receive all of the book royalties.
The second and third things the book needs is your advice and your personal stories. Your advice will be everything that you wish you’d known when you were in an insurance situation. This is your chance to pay it forward to military servicemembers, veterans, and families. On the other hand, your personal stories are the entertaining sidebars which keep readers turning the pages. What funny insurance incidents have you experienced? What was not so funny? What mistakes did you make, and what did you learn? If you’ve already e-mailed me then I have your words in the manuscript, but I still need another dozen personal stories. You can remain anonymous or you can share your identity, but please share your stories!
By now some of you have noticed that the link to the draft outline is nearly two years old. Let me put that into perspective: my first manuscript was written between 2004-09 and I spent another eight months finding a publisher. Then we spent another year on editing, formatting, and the traditional publishing process. It took over seven years between the time my spouse said “Nords, you have a book in you” until you could download the result.
So by my standards, I’m on schedule. In 2016 I’ll start posting chapters for you beta readers to review and critique. (It takes a village of beta readers to raise a book: flow, grammar, spelling, formatting, and even choosing the covers.) When we’re done, I hope to have an eBook of about 250 pages as well as three shorter eBooks from the individual chapters. Readers will be able to buy the shorter books to answer specific questions, or they’ll be able to buy the whole thing (at a threefer discount) to review all of their insurance needs. I’m planning to self-publish in hardcopy as well as the eBook(s).
I’m pretty sure that published authors are reading the last few paragraphs and thinking “Slacker.” You’re absolutely right. I love writing what I want, when I want, and as much as I want. I also enjoy throwing it all on the “Later!” shelf when the surf is booming. I like not having deadlines, and I especially love not having to make decisions on the basis of how well something will sell. (Let’s just say that I doubt insurance companies will sponsor this book.) I’m simply putting together the most objective analysis I can about the important issues in military personal finance, and along the way I hope to entertain you as well as pique your interest. Financial independence means that I don’t have to pump out a book every 10-12 months to grow the audience or to coordinate with a speaking tour.
That’s the plan for the rest of 2015. In 2016 I’ll probably go back to weekly posts to share more reader questions as well as what I’ve learned from our time in Spain.
For the rest of 2015 I’ll be busier than usual on social media, both with travel updates and with other interesting posts about personal finance. Make sure you’re following me on Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin, and please share your advice and stories with me. You’ll enjoy the photos, and I’ll put up lots of links to military-related posts from other personal-finance bloggers.
Yeah, I know, this empty-nester slow-travel lifestyle really sucks. I can’t wait to plan our trips for 2016!
[Photo at the top of the post: the 11th-century Lion Fountain at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. I’ll be gazing upon them again in a few weeks…]