Last week I had the good fortune of meeting one-on-one with some friends in various stages of building their own businesses, rearranging their lives and learning to translate dreams into viable reality. As a result of these conversations—not to mention the incessant conversation in my head—I believe I am ready to introduce a new wrinkle into my own quest.
I’ve known from the beginning that a key challenge of blogging is maintaining a focus that’s both relatively narrow and has reasonably broad appeal. When I began Write Learning nearly 17 months (and 140 posts) ago, I saw its purpose as chronicling my quest for a passion-driven life supported by a sustainable income, to live creatively and mindfully while enjoying a comfortable existence.
On a more concrete level, I started this blog with two of my main interests, Sudbury schooling and Zen, as topics, supplementing these with writing samples and accounts of my efforts to develop CASE, my Sudbury support nonprofit, as well as find paid writing/editing work. Sheesh—just surveying all that makes me realize how ambitious and scattered I set myself up to be.
That said, these are all things I remain passionate to explore in writing. And so what I have in mind now is not a narrowing, but rather a branching out. I intend to keep Write Learning, but focus it more squarely on my writing. I’ll still share writing samples, especially
if when I draft new children’s books. I’ll also continue writing about Sudbury and Zen in this space, but with an eye toward developing a book I’ve long had in mind on the echoes and overlaps between these pursuits. After years of gathering notes, outlines and prefaces, the idea of structuring this as a memoir has begun to emerge. I even have a working title: The Apostasy and the Ecstasy: How Setting Aside Conventional Wisdom in Education and Religion Made All the Difference.
As for my freelancing, I’m thinking of spinning that off into a second website and blog. As much as I’d like to work solely on promoting Sudbury schooling, for both practical and idealistic reasons I feel called to supplement that with a broader effort to make money doing good. I first blogged about this nine months ago, in a post entitled Write Livelihood. At the time I envisioned this as a part-time business in which I would specialize in writing, editing, and general consulting for organizations and causes in which I deeply believe.
However, after last week’s conversations, it seems more plausible to set myself up as an intermediary between all sorts of freelancers (including myself) and organizations doing worthy work (including Sudbury schools). Thus, I’m hoping to create a business with a name like Freelancers For Good, in which I’d match up organizations needing help on specific tasks and projects with idealistic freelancers looking for jobs.
Creating a new website and re-purposing my current blog mark, I would say, a minor shift in what I’ve been doing—but I think that’s good. As the title of this post suggests, I see this move as an evolution, not a break, in my trajectory. If I can develop The Apostasy and the Ecstasy into a book, and Freelancers For Good into a going concern, then perhaps my original intent of combining passion with a reasonable degree of material success will have proven viable after all.