Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blogging about Retirement: 6 Lessons I Learned at the DMV

Note: I use Grammarly to check for plagiarism because bloggers like me need a good editor.

I love to blog but it has been a slow process to figure it all out. But I have learned a lot over the last few years. There are a few things I think YOU need to know. It is all a matter of getting it right in the beginning.

Blogging at the DMV

Yesterday I learned about blogging in the least expected place. I had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to renew my driver's license.

The DMV branch office is like all big government service locations. There are forms and lines with lots of people.

They require information. A man checks you in as you enter the door and explains the rules. (He was very nice. Things had changed since I was last there.) A wordy postcard comes through the mail telling you everything you need to know; do bring a passport or government papers to prove that you are in the United State legally and don't produce a birth certificate laminated card or something from the hospital to prove anything.

If you decide to do it your way, the man explaining the rules doesn't care. You won't get a number. You are going home to come back another day.

The whole thing fascinated me. There are interesting people to watch. Clerks go to lunch as 30 patrons wait for their return. Elderly people walk around in a confused daze. People that know more than you do may take your place in line. Children run unattended up and down the aisles.

When you finish giving the clerk your money, you will be sent to get your picture take for a new license. When the camera clicks, you know that you are going to be stuck with that image on your driver's license for many more years.

What I Learned

I have been retired for 17 years and blogging is a way that I earn money during my retirement. I am self taught and have made many mistakes. I would have earned money sooner if I had taken the time to figure out what I was doing BEFORE I actually hit publish. There is more to it than being a good writer. Maybe I should have gone to the DMV sooner!
  1. If you are writing about retirement like I do, you need to be retired. Don't talk about what you don't understand. Like that Passport, you need to prove your certification. People will decide if they will come back and visit based on how you demonstrate what you know. 
  2. Why use 800 words to say what you could say in 250? The DMV postcard that came in the mail used a lot of words...most of them were unnecessary. I did not read it all and paid the price. But I was not totally to blame. DMV's postcard failed me. Don't fail your audience. 
  3. There are rules. Pay attention to the details and read the rules. If you don't, Adsense or Google can ban you! 
  4. Your driver's license will be valid for several years. Online information on sites like Facebook will last forever. We are very lucky that our DMV picture is temporary. Facebook is NOT! 
  5. Be curious and ask questions. It can save you lots of time. Who wants to be the last person in line. I recommend Money Dummy Blog as a place to learn. 
  6. Pay attention to the people around you and learn from them. In fact the DMV is the perfect example of what you can learn if you pay attention. Make friends in your community of writers and give them feedback. Answer every email or comment. They will do the same for you. 
Life is a very good teacher. But if I had taken the time to do a little more preparation, I would have made money sooner. Do it right the first time. It will pay off...really it will.

I am hitting publish...if I have made mistakes, point them out and forgive me!



  1. I liked your post, Barbara, and the way you liken blogging to the DMV. Airports are much the same...follow the rules or rather than coming back the next day, you miss your flight! That's learning the very hard way.

  2. You were testing if we read this weren't you ...
    a very minor mistake in fourth paragraph:
    "... or something from the hospital to a prove anything."
    The "a" doesn't make sense here.
    (Easy to do I know. I had to delete my last comment because two words ran together and I didn't see it before posting.)

  3. I'm impressed that blogging is the way you earn money in retirement. If I had to eat off the money I made from my blog, I'd be the skinniest guy in town. Maybe I'd better get on over to money dummy blog and take a look. Thx. for the tip!


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