For an audio version of this post, please click on the speaker icon (top left).
At the time of this publication there have been 481 blog posts that have been published on this website which first came into existence April 23, 2018.
Of course some of those posts were authored by guests, but I would say the vast majority are mine (I’m guessing over 400).
Whatever the exact number is, I am shocked and amazed at how many times I have dipped into my creative well and found it not dried up.
If you asked me in the very beginning how many posts I could write without running out of ideas, I honestly would have said in the 50-75 range.
The fear of running out of material was one of the main reasons I actually waited so long to start a blog despite my radiology partner encouraging me to do so for over 2 years.
The other reason I was scared to start a blog was that I felt like an imposter entering a niche that was dominated by physicians with far greater knowledge and talent than I had.
What could one feeble voice add to a chorus that was already going on at full strength?
Fortunately the cost of entrance to the blogging world was not prohibitive and mainly required time (a drastic understatement) over financial obligations.
A little background.
Since grade school I have always been considered quite creative.
I remember in either 3rd or 4th grade the teacher asked us to write a short story on any topic we wanted.
It’s been far too long to remember exactly what I wrote, but the basic premise was solving a crime mystery (I was a big fan of the children storybook series, Encyclopedia Brown, which obviously inspired me to create a story of my own).
My teacher loved it and selected that particular submission to read aloud to the entire class.
The next time the teacher gave this assignment the vast majority of my classmates followed my lead and there were far more mystery short stories submitted.
In junior high school I took a typing class and soon became a very fast typist (we used to have timed passages we had to type, assessed for speed and accuracy, and I typically would be the 2nd fastest (for short passages I could type 80-110 wpm).
My typing prowess made creative writing far easier for me and because of this I became far more prolific in high school and college (where I took a formal creative writing class).
I honestly believe that this blog would never have survived if I had subpar typing skills.
If I had to hunt and peck for keys it would increase the pain factor of creating a blog post by several magnitudes.
The ability to quickly translate thought to virtual ink via typing makes writing these posts far more tolerable.
Being a casual musician (I play the piano and guitar), I also tapped into this area of my brain and became a songwriter.
Unfortunately my vocal talents do not match my songwriting skills.
Despite the vocal limitations, I have performed original songs in front of groups of 50-300 people (various talent shows and open mic nights) and my songs have always been well received (with several audience members later approaching me suggesting that I should make a CD (for my younger audience, a shiny plate like object that was a popular medium for storage back in the day)).
Filling my creative well.
I wish I could say that I always have my creative juices flowing and topics for various blog posts just materializes out of thin air whenever I need them.
Instead I have found out that there are periods of time where a flurry of potential blog post topics flood into my consciousness and then there are intervening dry spells.
When I first started blogging, I thought my memory would be enough to hold all these ideas in place.
However I soon found out, especially as I have gotten older, that if I did not make some sort of permanent record of these creative outbursts I would lose them forever.
I found this out the hard way as sometimes an incredible topic for a post enters my head, I get excited about writing the post, and then, several weeks later, I draw a blank on what had originally inspired me.
I just so happened to have one of the most massive creative spells I ever had when I first bought the domain for this website and before I first put virtual pen to virtual paper.
I probably had one of my worst nights of sleep ever that particular night (as documented on my sleep number bed) as every time I would close my eyes a new idea would pop up and I would have to then write it down.
I ended up writing down 47 potential topics for blog posts that night.
This led to the creation of 27 posts which I used as a reserve of material before my website went live.
My current practice is to jot down all the potential blog post topics that come to me on my smartphone in the Notes section.
Even this method is not completely foolproof because I sometimes struggle to see what I was thinking at the time looking at these notes months or even years later.
What’s in a name?
It might come as a surprise, but my biggest stumbling block to creating a blog post (which are typically 1000-2000 words long) is coming up with the title of said post.
I take pride in trying to come up with a clever title (which is not always the case), particularly when I can use word play to transform a popular phrase or idiom into something relevant to my topic.
Sometimes I have the actual content already played out in my mind and need a catchy title.
My favorite way of creating a blog post, however, is when I take a completely opposite approach, having a great title in hand but then needing to create a blog post that is fitting for that title.
A title first approach usually happens when I happen to come across, either on TV or through reading, a common saying and I devise a way to spin it for use in my blog.
Looking back, it is hard to determine if a particular post was spawned from the title or vice versa.
There are a few examples that come to mind of when a phrase out of the public lexicon got me thinking about how to write a post to capitalize on it:
- “Raise the roof,” a phrase to describe upping up the noise level for a party, led to “Forget About Raising The Roof, Raise The Floor Instead!“
- “Nest Egg,” a common phrase to describe a retirement portfolio, got me thinking along the lines of an actual egg and its components and led to “Construct Your Retirement Nest Egg Like A Real Egg“
I would first type the title of the post, stare at it for a few minutes trying to create a plan of attack and once I have one the rest comes out quite rapidly.
Sources of Material.
One of my favorite ways to inspire a post by just recounting what happens to me in every day life.
These posts are by far the easiest ones to write because I am just documenting a real-life experience.
- My 5 part series that kick started this blog dealt with all the financial mistakes in my life.
- Chronicling how I became debt free was also quite straightforward in my post, “Every Blade of Grass.”
There is still some creativity required on my part to transform something as mundane as mowing the lawn into a post with a financial spin to it.
As my financial journey is never-ending, I fully anticipate future posts delving on issues I encounter at various stages of my life.
Of course another great source of material comes from the current macro environment.
I did not ever expect to write about a pandemic when I started the blog but definitely pivoted in that direction when I found myself mired in one:
- I described the black swan effect that COVID-19 had on my portfolio in, “When All Your Basket’s Break At Once.”
- I shared the issues stay at home orders had on my medical practice that required me to take a furlough.
- I shared my experience of grocery shopping in the midst of a pandemic when all the shelves were wiped clean and the subsequent change in my mindset.
- I even shared the disappointment of having a carefully planned vacation go up in flames and the mental toll it took on me as it contributed to burnout later.
And finally, as a physician, posts that incorporate some element of medicine with finance are especially appealing to me.
Some blog posts can be quite silly, such as my Gross Anatomy post where I postulated what would happen if our internal organs controlled our finances.
Other blog posts stem directly from experiences during a normal workday as a radiologist.
Putting a bow on it.
Although it would be great to just hit “Publish” immediately after I type in the last sentence of a particular blog post (just writing the initial blog post typically takes about 3 hours), there is still a little bit of housecleaning left to do.
When I first started out I used to pepper my posts with images, which I typically obtained for free via Pixaby.
Finding the right images took quite some time if I tried to include one with every section, like I used to.
I have since scaled back and most posts only have 1 or 2 images included.
If there is a 2nd image it typically is a Pinterest pin I have created to help market the post via my Pinterest page.
For those interested, I use Canva to create these pins for free.
I have gotten quite proficient creating these Pinterest pins, which takes less than 10 minutes.
I also try to re-read the blog post after all the bells and whistles are added to catch any spelling or grammatical errors (although I admit some still slip through).
After I am happy with the revisions, I then schedule the post to appear on whatever date is open in my routine blog posting lineup (Tues, Thurs, or Sun).
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.
Once a post is scheduled I typically move on to the next one as it is a never-ending process.
However whenever a blog first goes live there are still issues I have to deal with as I am not quite out of the woods yet.
First I have to actually make sure the post did indeed go live and available for viewing by my readers.
Sometimes, despite every thing scheduled perfectly, there occurs a glitch in the matrix and for some reason the blog post does not go live at the time I indicated.
I then have to try and reschedule it in the morning before my mad rush to go to work.
If the post indeed is published as intended, I then have to create a post on my personal Facebook page to share with friends and family.
I also have to then pin the Pinterest pin onto my Pinterest page, add a description, and then send it out to my followers/communities there.
There are some larger websites that allow self-promotions on certain days (The Plutus Community on Facebook shares posts on Mondays, Reddit allows self-promotion on Wednesdays, Physician on FIRE sometimes allows self-promotion on Thursdays, and White Coat Investor allows you to share a post once a month on Facebook, for example).
So I have to remind myself to take advantage of these avenues whenever I can.
And that’s it.
My blogging world in a nutshell.
Much like when Toto pulled back the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, you are likely to come away a bit disappointed.
There is really nothing magical I do.
And my life on this blog may seem a lot more interesting than it is in reality, much like in the heavily curated world of Facebook or Instagram posts.
But at least now you know.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN