Good-bye to Trying to Make Money Online: Why I'm Quitting Blogging as Business

Self on 09.13.12
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Photo: Amy Suardi/Frugal Mama

I feel like one of those politicians who bows out of the race to spend more time with family.  Even though there was no sketchy hotel room and this announcement will never make it to the newspapers, I do have something in common with that public figure.  I realized that I'd veered off track and lost touch with myself.

When I started my blog three years ago, I wanted to be a writer.  I wanted to write essays, the kind where you dig deeper into an experience or idea and try to find a lesson.  But everyone wants to write deep thoughts about their lives, and there are only a few magazines (whoops, make that very few magazines) with a spot in the back for personal ramblings.

To get an essay published, I was told you had to already be a published writer, ideally a book author or some other expert. I did know something about raising kids on a tight budget, and yes, I needed to develop my voice. So I started a blog.

Maybe someone would take notice of me, maybe I would make a name for myself, and then it would be much easier to wedge my baby toe into one of those editorial offices on the Avenue of the Americas.  I didn't want a real job -- I was content taking care of three (now four) children and finding creative ways to stretch one income.  But I wanted a hobby that would eventually turn into a career. So that I wouldn't make my kids my career and eventually have to move into their dorm rooms and fund their psychotherapist bills.

Now I'm not sure who will need the psychotherapist.  Eventually things went so well with my blog that I did get noticed.  That's why you may have seen my posts here for the past year and a half.  Maybe you saw the Frugal Mama Makeover series, a webshow spinoff of my blog that aired on TLC.com last year.  I also wrote for Babble, ButtonedUp, Mamapedia.  I was invited to media events, I spoke at luncheons, I was interviewed, I got Twitter followers.  

I began to receive so many emails a day asking me to "share with my readers" newfangled thingamabobs that I missed a few from my friends, from my parents.  I was so busy researching budgeting approaches that I didn't sign up to read in my daughter's clssroom. Because I needed to beef up my Pinterest page, I let photos of the grandkids pile up in a dark digital haystack.

My life got so busy chasing success and pageviews that I began to push aside the values that had gotten me noticed in the first place.  By trying to make a business out of blogging, it was impossible to maintain the sweet, slow life that I loved.  The one about keeping things simple so we have time for what really matters.

This is my last post for Parentables.  I am grateful for this chance to have learned a little more about the craft of writing.  To have been part of community of writers and editors and a respected company that was the first to pay me to write in my pajamas about blueberry pie.

Thank you for believing in me. If I kept on the fast track I was on, I'm afraid no one would believe me anymore, most of all me.  I'm dropping out of the race, so I can spend more time with my family and get back to the reason I thought blogging was a good idea.  Writing something difficult and deep.  Wish me luck; I have a feeling I'm going to need it.

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