Paving The Way for Big Changes

by Katy on September 1, 2014 · 54 comments

My name is Katy Wolk-Stanley and I’m 46-years old. I’ve been with my husband since I was 19, in the same job as a labor and delivery nurse since I was 27 and I plug away at projects on my 100-year-old house as I’ve been doing since 1996. I write the same blog that I started in May of 2008. So it’s safe to say that I find something good and stick with it.

I’m the monogamist of life choices.

But lately I’ve felt like it’s time to make changes.

No, I’m not trading my husband in for some hunky young buck, and no I’m not selling my 1914 fixer-upper for a hollow doored tract house in the suburbs. But there’s an unsettling tremor in my bones, communicating a need for change. Like a gopher who digs deep for winter, I know a big shift is in my future. I find myself both focused and unfocused at once, wandering the house, organizing and decluttering entire huge categories of belongings, yet giving no thought to dinner plans until six or seven P.M.

I had a lot of opportunities present themselves after my Today Show appearance in 2012. Opportunities that I set to the side, using one excuse after another to let them lie dormant. Unlike most female frugality bloggers, I have a good job that pays well. Yes, I only work part-time, but I make about the same amount of money as my husband who works full time. I don’t need the blog to be a huge money maker, which gives me the freedom to turn down 99% of the blog opportunities that inundate my inbox.

Plus, it would be extremely hypocritical of me to write a blog called The Non-Consumer Advocate, and then use it as a platform to sell crap to my readers.

But my job is extremely stressfu, and somehow the workplace stuff that normally rolls right off of me is worming its way into my system.

My passions no longer lie with my job.

I have a literary agent who’s patiently waiting for a book proposal from me, which makes me cringe and is apparently a barrier to actually writing the damned thing. The structure for writing a book proposal is so out of my comfort zone that it completely freezes my creative process. I’ve given serious thought to a series of non-consumer ebooks, which I think would be a better fit for someone used to the immediacy and creative freedom of blogging.

Either way, I want to start shifting my efforts over to writing. I truly believe that The Non-Consumer Advocate is unique in a blogsphere crowded with frugality and simple living blogs. I’m enough of a pragmatist to know that a rigid viewpoint only leads to failure. (“I pared down to 100 belongings, why am I still unhappy?”) Also, I work humor into my writing, which I know I appreciate when I’m the reader.

I think The Non-Consumer Advocate has a wider audience. I’m at a point where I actually want to start on the ebooks. I crave the writing, and I find myself piecing together sentences in my mind while doing mindless tasks.

I’ve given myself a deadline of December 31st to get my life figured out. (I know this is ridiculous, but I’m okay with that.) My home needs to be decluttered, household projects require attention; because for some reason a house littered with unfinished tasks keeps me from being able to write at length. So I will motor through these road block projects, and I will give myself permission to write my books.

So today I will line dry the sheets, organize a few piles, plan some frugal meals and maybe even scrub out the bathroom. And tomorrow when the kids are back in school. I might start outlining an ebook or two.

Change is coming, I just need to pave the way.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan September 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Change is scary but recognising you need to make a change is a positive step forward! I know as today, I began doing my Post Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education with a view to do my Masters in Education. Fingers crossed for you, Katy! I’m rooting for you!


rosarugosa September 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Good for you, Katy! I’m always happy to see a new blog post from you, and I think the e-books will be well received!


Sharon H. September 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm

The game is afoot.

I await the outcome with anticipation. 🙂


Rhonda S. September 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm



Karen September 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm

You go, girl! I had been wanting to ask about your longer-length writing, but did not dare to bring up the subject.


Katy September 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Have I been writing more at length? I hadn’t noticed.


Karen September 2, 2014 at 2:00 am

Katy, I remember some time ago that you posted to the group something along the lines of “If I write it, will you buy?” in reference to a book. That is what I consider to be the longer-length writing.
And change is good. I finished my BBA at age 32, after much thought and sound advice taken.


Laura September 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Go for it Katy! Whether it’s in fits and starts or a straight plow-ahead, any movement if progress. If it helps, you are not alone. I am almost 56 and find myself trying to figure out what is calling me. I don’t work outside the home, the kids are in high school or older (all nine of them), and though I have a bazillion household projects I want to tackle, something bigger is speaking to my soul. I also find myself tackling tasks, but completely lose track of dinner. Oops, the kids are home, hubby walks in the door, and there is no dinner. Where did the time go? Actually, where did time go period. I have read many articles about this “mid-life” change and I think women who raise children feel it keenly. I think the e-books are a great idea and they are obviously calling to you. I enjoy your articles, and the Facebook page. Thanks!


Lee Ann September 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I will be 53 in a few months and still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. No really…………I wish I had met someone like you when I was in my 20’s who could be an example. I am not a writer but I sure don’t want to work fulltime until I am 65. I don’t feel called to do that but…………..what do I do about my salary?

Your post on change has me thinking! I hope nothing but the best in whatever change you make as well as myself!


Helene September 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Good for you Katy… But still, I don’t want to lose you from work.


The Frugal Shrink September 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Scary but SO EXCITING!!! I enjoy your blog tremendously and will be anxiously waiting to see how things progress. I also like the “figure out my life” deadline. I’ve done the same when I was in a similar situation and it can be very helpful.


Lesley September 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Katy, let me know if you want help with that book proposal.

Here’s a tip to start: don’t open up a Word doc and sit there watching it blink at you. Use a scrap of paper and just write a few words on it. Once you get enough, THEN start that Word doc and transfer what’s on your scrap of paper to it.

You can do this!


Angela September 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Good for you, Katy! We’re all waiting to read your books! Your blog was my favorite amongst all the frugality blogs, and it’s because of your excellent writing – the insight, the humor, the POV – along with your overall attitude.

I know you can do it!


kim September 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm

OMG — when I saw the title of your post my heart stopped — and it didn’t start back up until I was almost all the way through your post! I thought you were going to quit the blog! I will gladly buy any ebook you write — just keep writing! Look at all the exclamations! LOL.

Change is exciting when it’s self initiated:)



Karen September 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm

When I read the blog title I thought the same thing. I read the post with dread but was so glad that this blog will continue. Good luck Katy, I hope things work out for you.


Laura September 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Co-op. 🙂 I think that sense of unease with the status quo and the need to make a change is part of us now. It may not be every three months anymore, but I think it’ll always be there.


Maryanne September 1, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Yay! This is exciting!!


Tammy Brackett September 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Katy ! I am a freelance writer (among a half dozen other things I do to keep a roof over my head) and am very proud of you for making this decision! Hang in there. You can do it! I cannot wait to read your ebooks!


Kathy M September 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Wishing you all the best in this process. You can count me in on reading whatever you care to share with the world.


Carolyn September 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm

It seems you’re heading in a good direction, Katy. Bravo! You’ve listened to your heart.


nalani September 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm



PoppyEcho September 1, 2014 at 5:24 pm

I prefer to pay for normal books, but I am happy and excited to see whatever you do!
yay exciting changes and the gearing up period!


Maureen September 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

May the force be with you Katy Wolk-Stanley!


Molly Block September 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Go, Katy!


Paula in the UP September 2, 2014 at 3:09 am

I have a similar feeling going on in me but can not put a finger on what it is or what to do about it! You have made a big step just putting it out there and figuring things out to this point. You got this!


Julie September 2, 2014 at 3:24 am

I’ve been reading your blog for around 2 years now, enjoying each new post for the humour, ethics and ingenuity of your non-consumer lifestyle. You can do this, you’re a great communicator with a relevant message – go for it.


Diane September 2, 2014 at 3:54 am

Kudos to you! You might want to check out Rhona Hetzel at http://down—to— She has written a book and more, e books too. Very inspiring.

Keep us posted on your progress.


Diane C September 2, 2014 at 5:10 am

“I have a literary agent…”
Ooh, I’ll bet that felt good to write! I confess, I held my breath for most of this post. So, so glad you’re not giving up the blog. Can’t wait to see what comes next!


Leah Archibald September 2, 2014 at 6:00 am

hi Katy!

I strongly recommend reading the Clockwork Muse:

This was assigned reading for me in grad school, and was super helpful!

Good luck!!



Kandace September 2, 2014 at 6:08 am

Katy, I’ve been reading for a few years now. I’m excited for you and can’t wait to see what you create!


Rebekah Jaunty September 2, 2014 at 6:52 am

*wild applause*


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary September 2, 2014 at 11:43 am

yep. couldn’t agree more. *wild applause* we’re all here to support you in whatever way we can. 😀


sonia September 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

Rooting for you. Yours is the only blog of it’s kind I’m still reading. Maybe because my sister lives in PDX and I like the connection but probably because of what you have to say. I think many of us (I’m also 46) feel the way you do about our paid employment — but it takes courage to make the big changes in life. And inspiration! Keep inspiring us!


Kathy Blume September 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

About time! Good for you! Any kind of support you need, don’t hesitate to ask!


Cindi September 2, 2014 at 7:26 am

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I was a nurse for 14 years in the ED….nursing is HARD, gut wrenching stuff sometimes, especially in a for-profit setting. I’m not surprised you feel the need for a change. Do it! I went in a totally different direction when I left the hospital and I couldn’t be happier….richer maybe, but not happier 🙂


ms.p September 2, 2014 at 7:28 am

Change is good and scary. I quit my job and started homeschool my duaughter today. I feel very overwhelm but I have calmness and peace with it.


Kristen September 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

Hope it goes great for you, Katy.

(I’m the opposite of you…my only time to get things done is when the kids are out of school in the summer. 😉 )

Enjoy your productive time of year!


Sarah September 2, 2014 at 9:46 am

Good for you! Go Katy Wolk-Stanley! You’re an inspiration.


fru"girl" September 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

Good for you Katy!!!! So glad that you are listening to your “inner”self. I think that life is all about evolving. I have made changes in my life tied to work too and was so scared at first but have always been glad when I look back on them. That is how we grow into the person that we need to be…. if we don’t – we tend to stagnate! You – GO GIRL!!!! And Keep using that sense of humor:)


Katie September 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I hardly ever comment on blogs but wanted to say that as a long time lurker and reader I support you! I read quite a few minimalism/non-consumer blogs and I think what draws me to yours is your unique voice and sense of humor. I also like that you are able to provide snippets of your daily life and include your family. Too many bloggers write numbered lists as advice columns without injecting any personality or practical and real-world tips for people living busy lives! Good luck getting started!


Mary September 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

I don’t comment often but I check your blog daily for updates. Thank you for being a frugality blogger who doesn’t bombard her readers with coupons and sales and endless sponsored posts on seemingly unrelated topics. I’m living on a limited budget and I want what money I have to be used wisely, not spent on junk some corporation wants me to buy. And most importantly, you don’t approach it from a position of superiority but more like a friend saying, look what I discovered!


Joanna September 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm

This is some exciting news! Congrats to you for taking the leap into the unknown! We’ll be here waiting for the results!


Chris September 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Best of luck to you!


kathleen September 2, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I was going to cry if you stopped the blog. You write, I’ll buy and read!


emmer September 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm

and while you are writing those ebooks, i hope you will write on the blog sometimes about the process of writing them and the mechanisms by which they appear for sale on line.
good luck.


Julia September 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Go you!!!!! Do it! I know you’ll be a success!!


Becky @ Becky's Place September 3, 2014 at 5:27 am

I had just deleted a couple frugal lifestyle type of blogs right before looking at yours. You mentioned exactly why I did so. Once was chock full of deals ($$spend$$) daily. Another had a few useful articles but, again, telling me I’d save this much if I print this coupon and buy this, etc.

“Plus, it would be extremely hypocritical of me to write a blog called The Non-Consumer Advocate, and then use it as a platform to sell crap to my readers.”

Best wishes for whatever life brings you!


Christy September 3, 2014 at 8:06 am

Good for you! Can’t wait for the results.


Lilypad September 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm

I just have to add this plea: whatever you do, don’t suddenly stop writing the blog some day without notice. Three of my favorite bloggers (Joan Otto from Man vs. Debt, Andrea from Frugally Sustainable {who also had an awesome Etsy store that’s no longer active}) and Eartha Kitsch from Ranch Dressing) have disappeared off the face of the earth and it’s so painful. I couldn’t take it if you did that too, Katy! 😉 Other than that, do what you’ve got to do! And blessings to you.


AnnDenee September 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I’ve been wondering how the book(s) you’ve mentioned before is coming along. Get hopping!! I think when you’ve completed one, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner! 🙂


Angela September 5, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I’m also a 46 year old nurse and feel like I need a change. Unfortunately, I have no other skills to fall back on so I feel trapped right now. Good for you for being brave!


Katy September 5, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Don’t give me credit too soon.


Cheri S December 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Hi Katy!
I’m clearing out my email in box (one of my getting ready for the new year tasks) and came across a blog post from you telling us followers that you were going to start working on a book draft. I love re-reading your posts – keeps me focused on our family’s frugal efforts.
Anyway, this message is to ask how the writing is going? First steps can be the hardest, but it gets easier the more you walk. (Learned that from my hero – my son Justin who has CP and has had to re-learn to walk 3 times in his 27 years.)
Peace and Happy New Year!


Katy December 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

Oh yes . . . the book. Sigh . . .


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