The End of Anonymity

October 20, 2014 Permalink

When I started the first version of this blog in 2010, I decided that I wanted to be anonymous, and I chose the first pen name that popped into my head: Daisy.

My pseudonym choosing process was not a complicated one. I saw a picture of my mom’s Yorkshire Terrier on Facebook that my mom had posted, and took her name for my own blogging identity. There was no other thought that went into the decision to use Daisy as my pen name.

For the record, here is Daisy, my pen-namesake:

daisy

I decided to be anonymous for three reasons:

  • The subject matter (money) is highly personal and back then, I wanted to post real numbers
  • I didn’t know how far my blog would take me
  • The thought of my friends and family members left me feeling highly vulnerable.

I blogged under the pen name “Daisy” for four years until I decided to put Daisy (the pseudonym, not the dog) to rest and start using my real name.

I wasn’t going to write about it, but there have been tweets, emails, and comments from readers and/or fellow bloggers asking about my decision.

Why I No Longer Want to Blog Under a Pen Name

Over the past four years, my blog has evolved and changed, and so has the reason I continue to do it.

I started blogging when I was 21 years old. I was a student, a full-time employee and I’d just moved to the Vancouver area. I thought the blog was something that I’d just do for fun. I didn’t know yet that it would be so instrumental in my growth, or that it would become such a big part of my life.

Over the past year, my blog has grown into something that is ingrained in my identity. When people ask me what I do, my answer always involves my blog. I spend so much time on projects related to blogging, developing habits to make me a better writer, and connecting with readers, bloggers and online entrepreneurs that anonymity made me feel as if I was leading a double life.

Blogging has evolved from something that I did as an outlet, to something that I’m proud of. Something that I don’t want to hide from.

Blogging has connected me with places, ideas, and most importantly, people, which I never would have seen, considered or met had I not sat down and put fingers to keys.

Passion Projects

I am working on two projects right now that light a fire in me. These projects are badges that I want to wear proudly, that I am excited to put my name on.

One of these projects I’ll be working on with Cait (who is my favourite example of a friendship that never would have started if it weren’t for blogging), and the other is something that, if done right, will be my hard-earned ticket to time, location, and mental freedom.

The rockstars in my personal life will most definitely know about these projects, and in fact will be instrumental in supporting me and championing me through the inevitable tough times as I try to create something bigger than myself.

Both of these passion projects will focus in on giving back. Leaving a mark on the world and contributing is something that I want to do, and I’ve realized that anonymity will simply hold me back from meeting the objectives of the projects.

As I mentioned in my previous post, What’s Going on with Add Vodka?, I have been looking at everything that I do in my life and ensuring that it all is true to my values and helps me meet my goal to live my life in the best possible way that I can. Using my real name is part of that.

What’s Going on With Add Vodka?

September 2, 2014 Permalink

If you have been reading over the past month or so, you may have noticed that I’ve been making some changes with Add Vodka. I’ve received a couple of emails from readers asking what is going on with the site, and so as to not leave readers in the dark, here’s an update.

Long-time readers will know that I started Add Vodka back in 2010. The site was born with Blogger, but I moved to a self-hosted WordPress blog as the site grew, and have been at add-vodka.com ever since. If you have been around for a while, you may remember how quickly this little site grew at the beginning.

After a period of rapid growth, I pulled away from the personal finance blogging community, unsure of the direction of the site and my online career in general. My posting frequency dropped substantially, and I engaged with readers less and less. My social media use slowed substantially as I disengaged myself.

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past few months re-arranging my life so that I am living true to my values. Everything that I do, everyone I spend time with, every habit, and even my spending has been going through a test to determine whether they are impacting my life in a positive, negative, or neutral way.

Though I am far from finished, the outcome so far is simply that I’m making an effort to make life happen, instead of letting life happen to me.

All of this to say that my life has changed so much since I started blogging, and mostly for the better. Add Vodka passed the litmus test of life improvement, so it’s here to stay.

You may have noticed recently that I’ve been writing more frequently. The quality of the information has improved substantially. My posts are more thorough and thoughtful.

I’ve also been tweaking the way the site looks by putting myself in your shoes, and thinking about what I would want to see (or not see) when reading a blog. I’ve been trying to make it a better place to read great content.

This website is like my online home. I wouldn’t want my physical house to be cluttered, disjointed, or unfocused; I wouldn’t want my friends and family members to avoid visiting my home because it’s messy or an unpleasant place to be. I feel the same way about Add Vodka.

I’ve changed things up, simplified, and rid the blog of the bright colours and tacky icons. I’ve eliminated Adsense, and anything that might distract you or otherwise get under my reader’s skin. I’ve gone back and have begun to edit some of my previous posts for grammar and spelling issues. I’ve been reformatting older posts to fit in with the new design and to replace broken links and ugly images. I am sure you will find it much easier to navigate and read.

I’ve been spending more time on Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus, because I genuinely enjoy interacting with all of you, instead of just pushing out and promoting my own content. I’ve been seeking great articles around the web and have been trying to share this information with you, both on social media but mostly through my posts.

Everything I do on Add Vodka is going under the magnifying glass to become the best representation of myself and my work as possible. If there is anything that you want to see, don’t like, or just want to chat about, please send me an email.

Otherwise, I hope you subscribe to get posts and updates straight to your email inbox, and enjoy a far simpler, more streamlined and engaging site.

 

Chronic Scatterbrain – Signs, Symptoms, and Remedies

July 23, 2014 Permalink

I am finding it incredibly and increasingly difficult these days to organize my thoughts into enough coherent and jointed sentences to make up a post.

I don’t know if my lack of focus is a direct result of the amount of work wedding planning is, or because my mind is on my new job, but I do know that it’s seeping into all aspects of my life, and manifesting itself in my words, thoughts, movements, and even my decision making.

Case in point: I had dinner with Cait last, and I stopped to get some cheesecake. At the bakery, I was faced with a difficult decision: chocolate or strawberry cheesecake.

scatterI didn’t know whether Cait preferred chocolate or fruit flavoured cheesecake (and I definitely don’t discriminate), so my initial thought was that I would get one piece of strawberry and one piece of chocolate and have her choose.

Unfortunately, they only had single slices of the chocolate, and were out of single strawberry slices. This put me back to dilemma. Without even batting an eye, in response, I got an entire strawberry cheesecake.

I only realized how ridiculous that sequence of brain events was when we were digging into the cheesecake.

My brain is a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but instead of staying on the adventure that I chose, it throws in paragraphs of the alternative adventure as well as bits and pieces of the screenplay for the Curious Case of Benjamin Button just to keep me on my toes.

Here’s the cherry on the (strawberry cheese)cake: to prove just how scatter-brained I really am, before starting this sentence you are currently reading, I got up to get myself a glass of water and open a window. I first poured myself the water, then I set it down to open the window. After opening the window, I’d forgotten where I had set the water and had to search all over for it, only to find it in another room that I don’t even remember entering. 

Shit is going down.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, I’m afraid that it has affected not only the posting frequency on this little old blog, but also the…

SQUIRREL!

..just kidding. My scatterbrain has also had an effect on the type of posts I’ve been able to mash together. If you reach back into the Add Vodka archives from the last couple of months, you’ll notice mostly goal updates and disjointed posts about tire purchases and wanting to live abroad.

While those are things I may have written about previously on my blog, pre-scatterbrain, they would have made a lot more sense.

Or maybe I’ve always been a mess and I’m just figuring this out now.

Regardless, I’m hoping to find a focus and a bit more zen after the wedding is all over next week. I’m starting my new job the week after, so that will be a difficult transition, but this shit show CANNOT continue when I start. How would that be for a first impression?

After reading some articles on chronic scatterbrain, I’m led to believe that much of the issue roots from “multitasking”. There are a billion things going on in my brain right now, from wedding planning, to new job excitement, to seeing family and friends and remembering birthdays and anniversaries and other important dates, that my mind just can’t cope.

Instead of wandering away to text my maid of honour onelastthing half a paragraph through a post, finishing the post (or at least the framework) might be the best way to go.

Many of the articles I’ve read on the matter also recommend minimizing distractions, but unfortunately my brain itself is the distraction 90% of the time and I don’t think I could minimize that any farther.

Scatterbrain (or difficulty focusing as fancy people like to call it) is also highly attributed to stress, of which I have plenty. The stressors in my life are good, exciting stressors, but stressors nonetheless and signs of this are definitely prevalent in my body and apparently mind.

Sometimes, getting things out onto paper a computer screen helps me sort through some things and think clearer, so it would do me some good to start blogging more (especially if we’re talking real, actual, logical blog posts).

To those readers who aren’t completely sick of my shit yet: thank you for sticking around and I hope that I’m able to refocus myself as soon as humanly possible.