Monday, July 16, 2012
BlogMutt, Rwanda, and the power of embracing opportunities
For instance, I certainly never would have imagined that writing blog posts for assorted small businesses would lead to an adventure in Rwanda. It all began with a startup called BlogMutt, which utilizes a team of writers to provide blog content for small businesses. I was looking for a way to get a writing career off the ground while homeschooling my kids, so I thought BlogMutt might be a good fit. It was. After the first week I was hooked, neglecting high priority tasks like laundry and bill-paying in order to write blog posts. But it wasn't just chore evasion--I also found myself choosing blog writing over reading or watching TV. It was fun and rewarding, the schedule was completely flexible, and I got the chance to learn about a bunch of interesting topics.
After writing in my own blog for years and never making a dime, it was refreshing and validating to actually get paid for my work. But with limited time to devote to writing, I realized this wasn't going to be especially lucrative. That's when I decided to give whatever I made to Water For People, an incredible organization that works to bring clean water and improved sanitation to communities around the world in a smart and sustainable way.
I wanted to wait until I had enough for a substantial donation, so I let my earnings accumulate in my BlogMutt account. As the months went by I became a better and faster writer, and my confidence soared. Slowly but steadily the money added up, too. Just as I approached the $1,000 mark, I heard about an upcoming Water For People Connection Tour to Rwanda. The deposit for the trip was $1,000.
Every year Water For People organizes these tours, giving donors a chance to see the process up close and personal, meet the in-country staff and partners who help make it happen, and interact with people who benefit from the work. For years I've wanted to go on a Connection Tour, and I thought that if I could write about my experience, that might be a contribution of a different sort. The only thing standing in my way was the fear that my writing wasn't good enough.
Writing for BlogMutt eradicated that fear. Finally I had the confidence to believe in myself and call myself a writer. I had an amazing time in Rwanda, blogging along the way, and there are still so many more stories to tell, articles and blog posts to write, and maybe even a book in there somewhere.
And that's how a company named after a mixed breed dog helped get me to a small, landlocked African country. I don't guess any of this would have made it into a five-year plan, but none of it would have happened if I hadn't embraced life's opportunities when they came along. Now I just can't wait to see what's next.