How I Got My Groove Back

20 November 2015 · 3 comments

It’s been an interesting week here in Savannah.

After Kim and I settled here six weeks ago, I slipped into a sort of routine. I’d get up in the morning, answer email, do a bit of work, go for a five-mile walk, come back and do more work, and then call it a day. Much of the time, I struggled to get my writing done. It felt like everything was rusty, like I was trying to remember how to make things move again.

That’s changed now, and in a big way.

For the past four-and-a-half days (it’s almost noon on Friday), I have been a writing machine. I haven’t been able to tear myself away from the computer.

I get up in the morning and sit down at my desk. I sit there, clacking away at the keyboard until dinnertime (with only a brief break for lunch). I’m not going for walks, I’m not answering email, and I’m not getting anything else done that needs to get done.

This will be a problem if it continues indefinitely, but for now I’m just riding the wave. It feels so good to have my groove back. This is what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi means when he describes the psychology of flow. I’m doing meaningful work that challenges me, and it makes me feel terrific.

Note: As you might expect, 95% of what I’m writing is for Money Boss, my new personal-finance blog. The site went live this week, and I’ve been backfilling the archives with bits and pieces I wrote this summer. Plus, I continue to write long essays as part of the “financial freedom crash course” I’m sending people when they sign up for the email list.

What was it that helped me find flow once more? It was a combination of a few things.

  • First, I’ve begun reading about money again. After I left Get Rich Slowly, I stopped reading personal-finance books. It was as if I took five years away from immersing myself in the subject. Now, though, I’m re-reading classics (like The Millionaire Next Door), finding new favorites (like the Warren Buffet biography The Snowball), and searching for other books about wealth. The stuff I read is constantly triggering new ideas for articles. I love that!
  • Second, I’ve been talking about money with readers and colleagues. I’ve always been piss-poor at answering emails, but when I started Money Boss I made a vow to reply to as many messages as possible. (This is something Chris Guillebeau does that makes a big impression on his audience.) So, I’ve been reading the email people send me, answering their financial questions, and sharing stories and ideas. This too has given me lots of ideas for articles.
  • Lastly, I’ve been freewriting. One of the sucky things about being a writer is that the stuff you produce when you’re “cold” usually isn’t very good. In fact, it’s often terrible. But novice writers — or experienced writers who have forgotten — don’t realize that it’s this shitty early stuff that sets the stage for the better stuff later on. You’ve got to push through it. You’ve got to produce a lot of words that will never see the light of day before you get to the gold. I’m finally getting to the gold.

The bottom line: I’m churning out articles at a terrific rate, and it feels awesome.

Meanwhile, Kim is experiencing a similar resurgence in her own world.

When we arrived in Savannah, she started the long process of getting her dental hygiene license in Georgia. She’s been working on starting a side business (selling stuff online), but that’s not really her passion. In fact, she kind of hates the internet. But she loves people (and people love her). Working with patients puts her into a flow state of her own.

On Monday, Kim’s hygiene license finally came through. On Tuesday, she hit the streets, going door to door across Savannah, dropping off her résumé and chatting with doctors. On Wednesday, she worked her first fill-in shift — and she’s already scheduled for several more. She even has an interview for a temporary full-time position!

When Kim came home after her first day on the job, she was glowing. “I missed that,” she said. “I missed talking with people and doing something that I’m good at.”

I know what she means.

1 constance November 21, 2015 at 10:12

I’m so glad to hear that you’ve started another money blog. I miss your candid, money writing style. Get Rich Slowly had such a powerful impact on my life.

I also need a new money blog to whip me back into shape, I decided to take my life into a new direction roughly two years ago, and as a result, I’ve been lax on tracking my money. My debt payments are on autopilot, so that is looking good.
But if I continue on this route of mindless spending, It will impact my debt pay off plan.

Anyways, I’m glad your back to blogging about money. I look forward to reading future articles.

2 HJ November 21, 2015 at 18:16

I’m so glad life is good for you and Kim now that you have your mojo back. Feeling good about what you are doing makes it more interesting to keep doing it. I have been retired for 11 years (it has passed so quickly). I volunteer at the local senior center and make greeting cards for family and friends…both of which give me purpose and makes me happy. It sounds as though both of you have a new purpose and direction which is inspiring you in new ways. Way to go!

3 Chad Carson November 25, 2015 at 20:05

Great to hear you’re back in the groove, JD. I signed up over at MoneyBoss.com and I’m loving what you’re writing so far. Keep churning it out!

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