The future of Pocketmint
If you’re reading this, six months after my last post, I imagine it’s because either you know me personally, or you’re a tenaciously devoted follower of Pocketmint. I know there are a few of the latter out there, and I appreciate it, so I want to offer an explanation and (re)set expectations.
First, the bad news: This pattern where I drop off the face for a few months, and then pop up again randomly? Is not likely to change anytime soon, I’m afraid.
Now the good news: I don’t see myself abandoning Pocketmint altogether. I’ll keep coming back, if sporadically. (If you sign up for the mailing list, you’ll get notified when that happens.)
For a while in 2012 and 2013, this blog was my primary focus. I was making a specific effort to post frequently, in hopes of building an audience big enough to maybe support a small career as a personal finance writer. I tried my hand at professional journalism, started working on a book, and attended a conference, all with an eye toward eventually pulling some kind of income out of this hobby. Not because I particularly wanted to monetize (I hate that word) Pocketmint, but because we don’t yet have nearly enough savings to retire (even in Mexico), which means I need to find a non-soulcrushing way to bring in some money.
I knew that my ‘next life’ should involve writing, because it has always been the thing that I do best. (I say this because I’ve gotten more praise and accolades for my written works, from more people, than for everything else I’ve ever done put together. This has been consistently true since second grade.) And also because after spending fifteen years as a fungible cog in corporate machines, I’m more than ready to be valued for my uniqueness, and I’m hoping there is a little bit of job security in having a distinctive ‘voice’.
So, writing. The specific kind of writing, however, was informed as much by market realities as by my own preferences. There are more outlets and a larger audience for non-fiction writing than for fiction. Fiction writing also tends to be more of a winner-takes-all market; financially either you do shockingly well, or you land somewhere between barely scraping by and starving.
But when Mexico suddenly became an option, four years ahead of schedule, certain economic realities shifted. Jak has, at least for the moment, a job that will support both of us. Our cost-of-living is much lower than in Seattle. We have a little more leeway for risk-taking.
Jak and I discussed the options at some length. His feeling was that, although in the abstract a non-fiction personal finance book had a better chance of bringing in an appreciable income than a fiction novel, in our particular case, the odds were roughly equivalent. In other words, he believes I have a much-better-than-average shot at being one of the ‘winners’ of the fiction market. So he told me I should write whichever thing I wanted most.
I do enjoy a lot of things about personal finance, especially the behavioral economics bits, but there was really no contest. I’ve been yearning to go back to fiction for years now. I have specific projects in mind, chiefly the series that Jak and I first started planning back in 2005.
The last six months have been mostly consumed with the logistics of moving to another country — before, during, and after. Now that I have time (and spoons) enough to write, my first priority is the fiction.
I will still write to Pocketmint, when I feel like I have something important to say that belongs here. (In the very near future, I will be answering reader questions about the financial aspects of living in Mexico — if that interests you, stay tuned.) But I’m not going to force a post just because a certain amount of time has elapsed, and I’m not going to worry about how many people are reading whatever I do write here. Also, you’ll probably notice a scarcity of photos in this and most future posts; although I think they improve appearance and readability, it takes a lot of time for me to search for Creative Commons images that fit my subject matter, and get them properly placed. I’m going to use that time to come up with more words, instead. :)
If in a couple years it becomes clear that I’m failing to achieve Fiction Writing Success, I may come back to the non-fiction option; until then, Pocketmint is once again just a hobby. To those of you who’ve stuck with me through the swerves and the silences, thank you. I hope you’ll stay to see the next incarnation.