By Leslie A. Cook, a lifelong student, writer, researcher, cook, and organic vegetable gardener.
The day I hauled another 300 pounds of groceries into my award-winning vegetarian cafe then crashed the deep freezer lid on my eye socket as I was putting things away was the day I decided to sell.
I loved my cafe. It made me happy to cook and serve up healthy, delicious food to people who were so appreciative…but I’m nearing 70, and I decided it was time to spend more time on food philosophy than food prep for crowds of thousands.
But what to do next? I have a varied background. Some would call it checkerboard. It all fit together in my mind, though, the organic farm 45 years ago, my early commitment to healthy eating and sustainability, my progress through six degree programs, five of them in Bible, religion and Jewish studies, my careers in academics and technology and finally, food service, first from a truck, then from a tiny brick-and-mortar spot still graced with my name.
My son started a 3D printing business and suggested I blog for him. I knew nothing at all about 3D printing, couldn’t even imagine how it worked, but I decided to give it a try. I had a great time, learned a lot and remembered that I love research and writing.
I wanted to do more, maybe in areas where I knew something. I figured NO ONE would be interested in religion and the bible these days, so I guessed I had better find a way to write about food and wellness. To get underway, I started my blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account directed toward food and sustainability. Oh, and religion and the bible, just because. I wasn’t making any money, but the work was great.
I did a bit of research (the last time I tried to find online work when I lost a job during the Great Recession, there was little available that was real). I found BlogMutt. Thank goodness.
From the outset, BlogMutt seemed like a reputable operation with great potential. Still, I dragged my feet. And that brings me to reason #1 that I love writing for BlogMutt:
1. BlogMutt showed a personal interest in me. A month after BlogMutt accepted me as a writer, I still hadn’t written. I got an email, I’m sure standardized, asking why? I decided to pretend it wasn’t standardized and sent a note back explaining my hesitation. I quickly got back a personal note, light and slightly humorous but encouraging. It wasn’t pressure. It was challenging. And a personal connection. I was in and started writing that day.
2. BlogMutt gives me an opportunity to expand myself. My interests are very focused. I used to say, if it happened after the third century, I don’t know anything about it. Now I’ve researched and written about food, nutrition, wellness, sustainability, 3PL (had no idea what that was), entrepreneurism, preventing water damage, quality management systems, moisture wraps on buildings, gifted and talented testing programs, bankruptcy, toilets (yes, really!), real estate, standing desks, social goodness, globes, organized storage, camping accessories, immigration law, car safety for dogs, electric cars and tiny homes, to mention just a few topics. The client base grows so quickly at BlogMutt that there are new topics all the time. You wouldn’t believe how many times a conversation comes up, and I can say, “Oh, I just wrote about that!”
3. BlogMutt gives me an opportunity to research. Still love it. I get lost in it. That means it takes me longer to write a post, but that’s ok. I’m having such a good time, and it’s nice being part of the 21st century.
4. BlogMutt gets me writing. Still love that too, and I’m getting better at it. Have you ever noticed how even good writers use passive voice on a regular basis? Once upon a time, we learned to speak and write that way. The grammar check and self-correction tool is great for pointing out your bad habits.
5. BlogMutt gives me time to think. I like to think, and writing helps me do it! Sometimes I can choose topics that are more about a thought process, like “10 reasons to…” I journal about those posts, and my own ideas excite me. Guess my clients like them too. Better yet.
6. I can leave the driving to BlogMutt. I get to do what I like to do. I don’t have to market myself and find people who “get” blogging and decide to invest in it. I don’t have to figure out keywords (I used to say the hardest part about cooking every day is figuring out what to make). I just pick what appeals to me to research and write about on any day of the week and go to work.
7. BlogMutt satisfies the OCD part of me. I love databases. I love lists and charts and different ways of looking at my accomplishments! I didn’t notice that until I started to accumulate a fair number of posts, but then one day I went browsing. What fun! I can look at the variety of businesses, organizations and people for whom I’ve written, the status of posts, the number of posts and my success rate. I know my financial history and all the data I need to project income. If I wanted to go that direction, I’d have all the metrics I need to become very businesslike about this project.
8. BlogMutt feedback is the best. Love those five-star reviews! BlogMutt clients often give them, and wow, is that motivating! Not every client rates posts, but many do. Of course I can write without them just because I love to write and love the feeling of fulfillment I get when I complete a good piece of writing. But there are those times when a hug is nice. When they come, I can always choose one of my clients who does rate, knowing I can look forward to that hug.
9. BlogMutt lets me write on my favorite topic. For pay! Remember me saying NO ONE would be interested in religion and the bible these days? Wrong! One day I went browsing for something new to write about, and I found someone looking for posts on various aspects of Judaism. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Choirs of angels sang. I heard them! So now, in addition to all the other things I love about BlogMutt, I can write on my favorite topic. And I don’t even have to come up with the keyords.
10. I didn’t mention the money yet. It’s there. I know I can count on a certain average each month. I can push that up if I don’t allow myself the pleasure of detours while I research. I could be very businesslike about this, work my metrics, and make decisions that would land me a fine income to make social security livable. At the moment, though, I’m having too much fun and too much satisfaction. I can’t wait to see what I can learn about each day, so I just set a minimum goal for now.
Another thing I didn’t mention because I haven’t taken advantage of it yet is the community. There are some very good writers on BlogMutt, people who have a lot to share.
So I’m about as happy as a (kosher) clam with BlogMutt. I philosophize about food, wellness, sustainability and the universe, learn about all the things that go on in the world post-299 CE, and I don’t get black eyes from dropped freezer lids. Not even writer’s cramp since I switch between sitting and standing to work, as I learned to do through a BlogMutt post.