On frugality and the writer's life
On frugality The challenge of being frugal is the requirement that you say no to more. You'll have to say no to eating out all the time, to buying new things, to making impulsive purchases—any other answer would lead down a slippery slope of spending. What I'm talking about isn't being cheap, either. An impulsive purchase of food you could've eaten at home is far different than buying a tool or investing in a business. Nonetheless, you have to say no and this is painful if you truly desire the things you deny. It will feel sacrificial and brutal at times. Your solution is not to be iron-willed and develop the ability to say no to any and all temptations. That is far too difficult when you could question your desires themselves. Why do I want to eat out tonight? Why do I want to buy this gadget? Why do I desire these pieces of clothing? You'll often find misplaced priorities. You want new clothing because it makes you look better in the eyes of others rather than it bringing you peace. You want a new gadget because you've been advertised to and told you're behind the times. You want to eat out tonight because you can't stand to tell somebody no. Once you realize these root desires, you will hopefully be able to think of your decisions more in terms of fixing your desires than in fixing the actions that come from them.
On the writer's life You probably barely remember, but a couple months ago you were sitting in a Starbucks and you met a copywriter who worked at a large ad agency. As you spoke to her about what she does and what you're doing, she told you—like many have—to live a little and not work too hard. You can't be a great writer if you haven't lived a life to write about, she said with a striking gaze of youth and wisdom. Though she couldn't have been more than thirty years old, her status and advice demanded attention and respect. This was a woman who had lived the writer's life. You work hard, and I can't say it's a bad thing, but you have to go experience more and do more with your life than just work. It's not about taking a "gap year" to go find yourself in the mountains and figure out what you want to do with your life, it's about living the truth. The truth is that you haven't experienced a damn thing yet, but you can change that in a variety of ways. Give yourself a license to do more and have more fun. Say that it's all in the name of having something to write about.