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Writing Wednesday: The Frugalista™ Writer Natalie P. McNeal

19 Oct

One of my summer reads was Natalie P. McNeal’s The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving up the Fabulous Life.  Now, I don’t struggle with debt, but as I just plunked down a too-big-to-say sum of money on next semester’s tuition, I can say this book touches on a sensitive issue we can all relate to: finances.

When the economy took its nosedive, Natalie had been working for years at a newspaper.  That means that not only was she facing the possibility of losing her job, but even if she remained employed at the print publication she could only wonder how long that would last in this age of digital media.

Oh, how her story hit home!  I too was working in print media (in my case, books) when the economy tanked.  And just like Natalie, I had been at my cozy, security-blanket position for years.

What I liked about Natalie’s book, therefore, wasn’t so much the get-out-of-debt plot, but the story of reexamining and refocusing one’s career in the midst of a bad economy.  By telling her own story, Natalie offered some savvy wisdom for writers:::

  • Make yourself relevant to today’s new-media world.
  • Learn video editing, even if you’re a writer, so you can add video to your blog.
  • Make friends with the online community.
  • Socialize!  Go places, meet people.  Connect IRL.
  • Build your own career, instead of just accepting the job you’re given.  (Example: Natalie asked to start a blog for the newspaper, and that blog led to her book!)
  • Connect to larger media outlets.  (Natalie blogged for The Miami Herald.)
  • Make media appearances.  (Natalie served as an expert on frugalasta™ living for larger media outlets.)
  • Write a blog to build your platform for a full-length book.

The Frugalista Files, a money memoir, is a super-quick read.  It’s not so much a how-to book as it is an encouraging and inspiring memoir.