Wednesday, July 18, 2012


You may have heard about Kickstarter recently.  Kickstarter is a "crowd funding" site.  I stumbled onto it when my sons started telling me about this great site that they had discovered through a fellow blogger.  They both follow the blog of Professor Beej and started exchanging comments on their blogs and connecting on Twitter.  Professor Beej has also written a novel and stories that are available at this site.  Then he began a Kickstarter project to help pay for the cover art for his new trilogy. My sons were very excited about this and encouraged me to look into it.  I did and was fascinated with what I found.

Kickstarter is a place for people to advertise their projects in order to gain financial support.  It is amazing to look at all of the creative efforts that are out there.  I like it because it is a way to support some things that I really believe in.  Anyone can become a "backer" of a project if they make a contribution.  It can be as little as $1.  The project posts how much they need to raise and an end date by which they need to reach that amount.  They also post amounts of pledges with rewards to the backers.  Sometimes it's a thank you, your name in the credits, a copy of a book; higher amounts may include a lunch with the project owner or a signed copy of something.  These are always very interesting to read.

Some of the projects that I have backed are:

Professor Beej's cover art for his book, Birthright.

Whoopi Goldberg's documentary on Mom's Mabley.

A documentary called Bridegroom about the struggles of a surviving gay partner who did not have the right to marriage.

A documentary about Carol Spinney who is Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.

Not all projects succeed.  If you want to read some of the statistics about failure rates, check out the article at VentureBeat.  When you pledge your money, it is not taken from your credit card unless the project reaches its goal and the end date.  This provided some reassurance to me as a backer so I knew that my money wasn't going into an empty hole.

I'm cautious about which projects I want to support.  I choose projects that have the right people with the needed talent to successfully complete the work outlined.  I have not given a lot of money, but I believe that the power is in numbers and that every little bit helps.  I also like being a part of something that I believe in.

Even if I'm not going to contribute, I like to browse the projects that are outlined in Kickstarter.  I am inspired by the creativity, the variety, and the passion of the individuals behind these projects.  I would encourage you to check it out.  You don't have to contribute.  I think that, at the very least, you will find this an interesting concept, and you may be surprised to find something that touches your heart or strikes a chord with your beliefs or just fills you with purpose of a story that needs to be told.  Let me know what you think.

I believe that we will be hearing a lot about Kickstarter as it grows in popularity.  If you are wondering why Kickstarter works, all you have to do is understand how empowering this is for the project hopefuls who entrust their labors of love to this site. It is a very intriguing endeavor, and it is clear that people are using this to showcase their stories, struggles and journeys.  Their joy when they meet their goals is overwhelming and fulfilling.

Have you found your joy today?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Reading Becomes Writing

“Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.”

— Susan Sontag

It is probably no surprise that I have been thinking about the experience of writing lately.  In May, I set a goal of writing for 30 days in June.  I wasn't sure that I would be able to do it but was convinced that I should try.  I am very pleased that I was able to meet my goal, but even more, I am happy that I rediscovered a love of writing and with it my joy of reading.

I have always loved reading and words.  I will read almost anything.  Since I retired a year ago, I have read about 100 books.  I have always had a great appreciation for writers and their ability to create the written word that draws me into their story, and I always wondered how they could be disciplined enough to write every day.  I now understand: just make a commitment to write every day and start writing.  At first, it was difficult to do this.  However, each day was easier than the day before.  I discovered that it was actually fun!

After finishing 30 Days of Joy, I decided that I would write once a week.  While it has been a relief that I didn't have to write every day, I have really missed writing.  However, I have enjoyed having time to do some reading, and they are truly related for me.

I am currently reading 2 different books on my Kindle.  I am reading The Magician by Michael Scott which is the second book from The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.  The books in this series are such that I can pick them up when I am in the mood to read them.  While they aren't the type of  books that I can't put down, they are interesting to read.  I like that they take place in different cities in the world, include forms of magic, and have characters that are relatable.  So, this series is my go-to whenever I am waiting for something new to read.

The other book I am reading was recommended by some friends.  It is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  This is the first book in the series.  It combines romance and historical fiction, with a slice of fantasy because it involves time travel.  This is the book that I keep coming back to whenever I have spare time.  I am really enjoying the blend of history with the development of the characters.  I can't wait to read what happens next!

Reading and writing have such a symbiotic relationship which is probably why I love good writing.  You may want to try reading the books I mentioned, or there are some recent blogs that were wonderfully written that you might enjoy.

  1. Teaching an Old Story New Tricks: Media Influences on BirthrightA guest blogger writes about the major media influences in his new cross-genre novel, Birthright.  It is fascinating to get into his head as he reveals these influences.
  2. Book Review: Voices from Chernobyl - A beautifully written review of a book which tells the human side of what happened during this tragic event.
I also found writing to be an interactive process, and I have missed the contact with those of you who were reading my posts.  I know that several of you didn't leave comments before because you had to have an account.  This is no longer true!  I mentioned it to my son who told me that I could change the settings; so I made the necessary changes.  You should be able to comment directly on the blog.  I would really like to hear from you so please comment below.

Whether it's writing or reading that bring you joy or another activity, I hope that you can find a moment for yourself.

Have you found your joy today?