Good Writing versus Good Writer: Top Family Finance Posts #7


Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three years of blogging (most of it secretly as a political blogger) and there is no doubt that I’ve written a lot. I’ve published over 200 on Smart Family Finance alone. No doubt, I’ve written thousands of posts on my political blogs and a few hundred more on other online publications. Certainly all this writing has made me much better at writing.

At least, that’s my wife’s assessment. Sure she’s biased, but I also frequently make her edit my work when sending to bigger publications. Poor writing means more work for her.

Despite all the writing and improvement of my technical abilities, I’m not satisfied. I don’t just want to write or have better constructed sentences. I’ve always wanted to be a good writer and impact readers, not just throw words at them. That means something much more than writing. Sure, personal finance blogging adds to my abilities to be a good writer. However, I feel that if I’m going to tip my toe into deeper waters, I need a new project.

Erin Shanendoah is always talking about her fictional writing goals and she’s inspired me to dust off an old novel I started three years ago and see if I can get it completed and published. My goal is to invest four hours a week to the project without interruption to regularly scheduled blogging. I plan on giving regular updates with my weekly roundup so keep an eye out.

Where is My Novel Today?

I did say “dust of an old novel I started” and if you are looking for a translation, the best explanation is “it’s complicated.” Sheer lengthwise, aka word count and plot, the story was probably about 2/3 of the way to completion. However, the novel was light-years away from completion.

When I started, I only really had a grasp on my main character and idea for a plot. My thinking was, get what was on my mind on paper and sort everything out later. It led me to write a book that was 60,000 to 70,000 words long and all but my main character was lacking development. The worst part was that I found a flaw in my main character’s persona that didn’t click with theme/flow of the book. My writing was a little too focused on plot and didn’t realize the inconsistency until I’d started writing a section of the book that is a turning point for the character.

By all means, much of my material is still very useful, but the problem was paralyzing. I didn’t want to pour through large volumes of pages to make changes, yet I knew continuing forward would just mean even more changes later, so everything came to a halt. Blogging, with 500 to 750 word lengths were like a safe-haven. That’s where I’ve been ever since.

Why I’m already Excited/Discouraged

I’m a mix of emotions. The idea of reworking my old book is exciting and discouraging.

  • I have a fresh prospective and have an opportunity to improve plotlines and content
  • I’m a better writer and should be more capable of connecting with readers
  • I, personally, have much more life experience to pull inspiration from
  • I have my own children and that might, one day, enjoy my writing
  • There have been a lot of books to come out since I started, some of them close enough to my plot that I feel the need to distinguish the book more
  •  I have to rewrite a lot of my book

I don’t know how or even if my dreams of completing a book are possible, but at least for now, I’m excited to give it a try.

Top Family Finance Posts

  1. You are at the party, a glass of Zinfandel in hand and then the question comes. “Oh, you own a home? What kind?”  I’ve never known how to answer that question until Simple Finance explained the difference.
  2. Thanks to the birth of my latest tax deduction, I actually received a tax return this year (I usually try and slightly owe). While I try and figure out what to do with the money, I’m minding One Smart Dollar’s advice on what not to spend it on.
  3. Frugal Portland knows exactly when to know you are rich. I’ll know that I’m rich when I buy a smart phone and have no qualms with the data plan.
  4. As I’ve pointed out, sometimes the size of student loan debt requires you to seek alternative methods for paying back loans. My Money Counselor taking income based loan repayment.
  5. Food fraud is on the rise. I’ve been to more than a few street vendors who I think could qualify. Select street vendors and Spam.
  6. …And I thought I was the only one nerdy enough to write about financial lessons in classical literature. Maria talks about Dickens and how debtor’s prison has changed her outlook on debt.
  7. The Happy Homeowner has all the symptoms of a spending problem. You know you have a spending problem when you have a database to keep tabs on all your credit cards.
  8. True or False: banks earn more money from late payments on credits cards than bank fees. Answer: False. As I pointed out on iGrad, most non-interest bank revenue is from people who struggle with their check register. Finance Yoga has the tips you need to avoid bank fees.
  9. Formula of the week? Where else but Don’t Quit Your Day Job? Go read, then come back and tell me what type of Kelly you are.
  10. Sometimes what you want today is not what you want tomorrow. Overcoming financial obstacles is all about changing your perspective.
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