Back in the Saddle, with a New Mission

Dear Readers,

It’s been two and a half months since our little Luke was born, and I want to thank you for sticking with me during this sort of maternity leave.  I’ve tried to enjoy every gurgle, kick and coo, all the while trying to get settled into our new house, school and neighborhood in Syracuse.  (Here is the little man in his two-month glory.)

We had some pretty awesome guest bloggers, didn’t we? And there are a few more to come, but I’ll intersperse them with my own posts, because I’m eager to get back to writing.

But there are a few things I’d like to change. Up to now, I’ve mainly written in-depth pieces that read more like magazine articles than chatty blog posts.  Yes it’s true that I am driven to create great content for my readers, but I must confess that there is another explanation for my no-stone-left-unturned style.  I am a recovering perfectionist who is terrified of criticism.

While I think creating “pillar posts,” like my series on online shopping or the one on moving, has been essential to building my blog, the problem with this approach is that too many ideas never see the sunlight. It simply takes too long to make them just right.

And then I wonder, perhaps I’m so concerned about presenting professionally organized information that I miss out on chances to connect with my readers. (Allegedly) perfect people are admirable, but are they likable?

So instead of wishing things were different, here is what I am going to do:

Goal: Making work pay off

I launched my blog a year ago, and the site now attracts more than 2,500 visits per month.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and now I’d like to see the site move from a losing enterprise (financially) to one that at least covers its costs.  With my babysitting swap days over in New York City and a fourth child in the mix, we now pay for childcare a few hours a week so my toddler can get to the park and I can get to the keyboard.


Because I feel that ads on my site would be counter-message (and I’m not great at business), I’d like to avoid trying to make money that way.  Blogging is fun work, but I wouldn’t be a frugal mama if I didn’t worry about contributing to our household’s finances.

So my mission is to find the time — and the courage — to work toward making my writing profitable.  This can mean several things including growing my blog so that a book publisher would take notice (advice from a literary agent), and selling articles to other publications.

Since life with four children is busier than ever (and I tend to crumple with rejection — but I’m going to work on that too!), I’ll take baby steps toward these goals.  One thing I can do is ask other bloggers to do a guest post, which would increase my exposure.  I’m intimidated by and infatuated with print media, but a baby step in that direction could be the meeting I have next week with the editor-in-chief of a local parenting magazine.

Goal: Getting more ideas out in the world

Life is charging forward while I belabor articles that end up getting dusty in my drafts folder where they benefit no one. I need to find the courage to publish posts that haven’t been slept on three times to iron out all their possible kinks.


With my time crunched even more, I’ll save the meatier articles for online or print magazines which I’ll hopefully get paid for.  For Frugal Mama, I’ll focus on bite-sized pieces, which are at the same time more conversational and personal.

Since the pregnancy, move and new baby, I have been posting once a week. With the shorter, more from-the-hip pieces, I’m going to aim for publishing a blog post two to three times a week.  I’m afraid this might be too much for my email subscribers, so I am looking into a way to get Frugal Mama content delivered just once a week.

With this more casual approach, I’ll probably say things that some people won’t like, but I guess that’s the part of the territory.   I can’t stop growing for fear of getting cut down.  Like the grass in our new suburban backyard, I’ll grow back!

Is there a goal you’d like to achieve that requires going against your nature or conquering a fear?   I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Next time I’ll talk about how I’ve been recording the priceless moments of life with children, because…babies are not frugal.

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  • Amy October 21, 2010, 8:30 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I remember you! Good old Fairlington. I will remember it as one of my favorite places to live. Thanks so much for writing, and letting me know what works for you. I’m so glad you found me via this blog!

  • Kelly Maguire October 21, 2010, 7:03 am

    I’m an old Fairlington neighborhood (though also no longer in Fairlington). I love your blog, as well as the idea of shorter posts. I usually skim blogs and save the longer reading for the magazines I carry around on the train, so shorter (even less-polished) posts were great for me!

  • Amy October 20, 2010, 9:51 pm

    Thanks so much, Shannon, for your words of encouragement and understanding.

    I’m impressed with how much you accomplish in so little time, and how disciplined you are about publishing regularly. Interesting tactic having your husband publish. That would probably make it easier for me too, if I could actually hand over the reins.

    For a busy mom, time is definitely at a premium, so something has to give. Since I don’t want to cut out time with my family, I guess my perfectionism is the one that has to go!

  • MakingTime October 20, 2010, 6:08 am

    What a beautiful baby! And I can’t wait for more frequent, more conversational posts here! I love to read blogs where the author feels like a real person, and I think that means imperfect posts :)

    I could easily get wrapped up about every post, too, but I have a personal rule that I post every weekday (with rare exceptions) and I find that keeps me writing and posting and doesn’t allow me the luxury of perfecting each sentence. I have about half an hour a day on average to write and sporadic bits after that to edit and add pictures, my husband reads it at the end of the day and presses publish. Maybe it helps that I’m not the one who actually has to hit “publish”? I know when it’s me, I usually dither about it for several useless minutes.

    Anyway, I try hard to keep the perfectionism at bay – FlyLady has brought some semblance of sanity to my life and her “thing” is that perfectionism is the root of all trouble. :)

  • Stephanie October 19, 2010, 9:45 pm

    Welcome back, Amy! Luke is beautiful. I am very excited about the new direction of your blog. I tend to check-in with my favorite blogs daily and I am always a little disappointed when there aren’t new posts to gobble up. I am really looking forward to your increased posting frequency!

  • Beth October 19, 2010, 9:43 pm

    I love how thoughtful your back-to-work post is- it captured the searching- yearning-wondering feeling that so many moms seem to feel. The best part was the punch line- “babies are not frugal”
    so true…..

  • Amy October 19, 2010, 2:33 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much for your comment. You totally get what I’m talking about: covering every aspect and well-crafted writing does make for big projects.

    You’re right that there are all sorts of bloggers, and I could have probably gone on this way, if it weren’t for the fact that doing those kinds of posts takes so much time that I don’t have room for any other writing (specifically paid).

    Thanks for the tip on Demand Studios. Take care and thanks again for sharing your story!

  • Jennifer October 19, 2010, 2:20 pm

    I struggle with perfectionism as well! I made it through architecture school intact, so I guess I can handle a certain amount of criticism from others, but I am my own worst critic. This is part of the reason I blog so sporadically. I feel like I need to explain every aspect about the subject I’m covering, and it has to be crafted well from a writing standpoint. Virtually any idea I have turns into a big project, or at least it seems that way. I overthink things, which impacts my motivation and ability to get things done, whether it’s on my website or even just life in general. It really stinks.

    I have to say, though, that there are all kinds of bloggers. Some are better at the conversational style than others. I appreciate well-written posts even if it means the blog is updated less often.

    Have you ever heard of Demand Studios? They’re a freelance content provider, and I have done some work for them for a little extra money. I wouldn’t consider it a “real” writing job (though others would argue that it is), but it pays pretty well for what it is. I have heard about some of their writers getting picked up by newspapers and magazines. It’s a good way to get some additional writing experience and exposure while making some extra money.

    Good luck!

    (As you can see, even my comments go long! :) )