It’s been an eventful year writing wise, here on the blog, out on the inter-webs and even approaching real paper-bound book pages (read to the end for that)!
Each successive year at this writing-about-birding hustle I gain a little more credibility and name recognition, earn a little more money, and grow in confidence and ambition for what comes next. Despite this tiny niche, there is rich opportunity to explore, and each year I persist, the writing ideas increase.
I can’t stop writing down ideas!
Ideas for you—my reader—to take away, to start birding if you haven’t tried it, to know it’s for you, to start learning in ways that are fun. Here are some ideas from 2018’s output to think about:
Anyone can be a birder! The community of birders is expanding to new audiences, thanks to people like David Lindo—The Urban Birder—writing, speaking and advocating. Lindo brings birding to the cities of the world, long recognizing that cities are where most people live. I interviewed him about his new book How to Be an Urban Birder (National Audubon).
I love Millennials! Millennial women are popularizing birding in new ways to new audiences, as community organizers outside the usual birding organizations. Go girls!
I write about the community of people who are already birders, but there is content in here that appeals to anyone who likes these other activities: Birders who are runners (in National Audubon), birders who bike and birders who like beer and trivia (Seattle Audubon Blog).
Occasionally I address some of the wonkier topics within this world, such as the strong opinions about the use of play backs in the field (Medium).
Then there is my experience of being a birder and a parent, and my challenge to honor my practice and somehow include my kiddos (and heck, maybe turn them into birders!). I talked about this on the ABA podcast in July, and my article about “instant gratification birding spots for kids” was included in the new book 52 Seattle Adventures for Kids, from ParentMap books.
I featured women on my blog from Brazil to Uganda to Turkey advocating for wild birds through their work or volunteering— via bird banding, consulting architects on bird safe construction or guiding birding trips, these women work for bird conservation on the ground every day where they live.
Through it all—pitching zany ideas to magazines, taking assignments from generous editors, interviewing obliging sources, asking increasingly more intelligible questions, optimistically following my curiosity and blithely creating content, I’ve met amazing new friends and gotten encouragement and support from corners of the birding world I never knew about. I love this community.
Professionals out of the blue came my way to suggest opportunity. Well, they came my way once. Which leads me to the book I was working on.
A kind and big-picture-thinking (man) editor from a well respected small press approached me about turning the content of my blog into a book; a feminist take on the world of birding and a woman’s past, present and future place in it. A book for women birders and the women who might want to be birders.
Well, YES!! With stars in my eyes and dreams of a photo-filled, dishy take on the topic, I put together an ambitious proposal and two sample chapters, spending 6 months getting the materials together, planning for an advance by the end of the year and a publication date 12 months hence…
AAAAaand here I am today with that same proposal and two sample chapters, no further along in the process.
As you can guess, I am no longer with that publisher. These things happen but happily, I am the opposite of discouraged. I am indebted to that kind editor for starting me on the road to becoming a published author, and while I am not yet on the road (on the sidewalk is more like it), I now have a set of materials I can shop to an agent.
Like how I circled back to conclude with the alliteration? Finally, getting around to the title of this post—the year ahead! There is nothing quite like working on the book project to accelerate what I have been trying to do all along—engage women in the birding community, whether they are new to it or long standing members already. The reception I have encountered is generous and encouraging, and I can only think of this hiccup in the book’s trajectory as more time to build the platform for what I offer the birding world. Maybe a message from the universe that I need to feather my nest a bit more! That the content readers need NOW must develop on this site instead of years down the road in a book.
So in the year to come, here’s what I will do for YOU:
Produce more actionable, more frequent content for new (and already landed) birder readers, on the blog and for publications (examples):
Suggest consumer choices that benefit (or reduce harm to) wild birds, from food to coffee and wine to cosmetics
Recommend tangible resources like books, meet ups or local organizations for first-hand or experiential learning about birds and birding
Write more features about dynamic women working for wild bird conservation
Suggest tips for attracting birds to where you live, especially if you live in a city
Develop a local-to-Seattle in-person platform leading small group bird walks, back yard birding primers and bird feeder crafting classes (Seattle-area peeps, let’s talk!)
Thank you for reading, and I am excited to see birds with you in the new year.
And Head’s Up: This post contains affiliate links to IndieBound for the books mentioned. I will receive a portion of any sale generated from your linking to those books and deciding to purchase, and I thank you in advance!