This is my Linkedin profile photo. I’m not sure what I use Linkedin for, to connect with random recruiters who always see I have an accounting degree and think they can fetch a commission by offering me some bullshit analyst role in an industry I have no interest in? To tell people “find me on Linkedin” when I leave a job if I have no desire to keep in touch with them? Maybe no reason at all, or at least nothing so spiteful and bitter.
(Super early interlude: one of my old colleagues saw this photo and messaged me on Linkedin once to say, in her exact words: Hey Alex, hope things are going well with work + your random volunteering activities. Your display picture makes you seem like you’re up to no good, just saying =P. Best wishes. Yes, I took that as a slight. Yes, because of this, I plan on using this photo forever, or until I really need a job and have to conform.)
I choose this photo because the straight-up head shot, preferably in a suit and tie (the kind of template photo you’re expected to have especially for someone with a business background like myself) was just never me. Let’s be straight, recruiters, if you somehow stumble upon this site, I work hard, just only for the things I truly care about.
I mention this photo because it’s the one I’ve used on the pitch site of a new sports writing funding project at Beacon Reader, which you can read all about here. It might just be another photo to you. To me, it’s a subtle reminder to stay being me, to stay being different not for the sake of it, but because that’s how I see myself.
To tell you about a project, and especially to ask you to give your hard earned money to read what I (and other really, really talented writers) have to say about sports, I feel like the only proper way to do so is to be honest with it.
When I was first told about this project, I was excited and thrilled to even be asked to be a part of the team. The writers that I would be working with at “The Sports Desk” were people I read frequently and respected: Brian Blickenstaff, Leigh Cowart, Eva Holland and Jack Moore. That was a huge part of the appeal.
As for the site, Beacon Reader is a website built to fund independent journalists, as the founders recently discussed at the New York Times. This part was a bit tricky to me. As most of you are aware, the debate of paid versus free writing has generated much debate. For me, personally, I’ve always been on the sidelines watching the two sides present the pros and cons, writing was a pursuit outside of my full-time job, the financial aspect of it was never as important as honing my writing, exploring all the interesting ideas that come out of following sports, and connecting with people who share the same thought process as me. So, the concept of asking someone to fund my writing made me uncomfortable.
But I thought about it more, and as I talked to my colleagues and heard directly from Adrian Sanders and Dan Fletcher (two of the founders of the site), I was more convinced, not only in the idea behind the site but this specific idea to create a sports writing collective that would include myself and the aforementioned writers.
My last day at my current job is next Tuesday. On Thursday, I fly to New York to join my wife who has already settled in and started a new job last month. I’m taking a self proclaimed break (any other word but unemployment; George Carlin would be proud of me) from my accounting career to see if I can transition into a writing career. Even starting this brand new process of trying to network with editors, learning how to formulate specific pitches, and applying to jobs that I feel qualified for but probably don’t have the traditional resume to be considered, has been eye-opening. You hold a steady career coming out of university for the better part of an entire decade, and the uncertainty, the very real possibility of failure and people saying no: all of this is new, they’re momentarily thrilling, a constant reality check, but also a challenge that I need to see through to whatever conclusion it brings me to.
The entire pursuit of this change in my career means I have to explore opportunities that will both sustain myself financially, and allow myself to associate with projects that I both believe in and think can be beneficial in improving my writing.
This project at Beacon Reader is one of those opportunities.
Leave no stone unturned.
That’s the cliché I’ve been repeating to myself lately. There are many writing ideas I’ve kept in a Google Docs log that I’ve never pursued, whether for one reason or another (the lack of access, not spending enough time to make them fully-formed ideas, and so on).
In the coming months, I hope to try and get all these ideas out. Some of these ideas I haven’t even thought of yet, but I look forward to finding them in the most random and surprising places.
So, if you’ve enjoyed the things I’ve done here at the blog, or elsewhere, or all the podcast episodes you have (or haven’t listened to), or the book I recently self-published, come join me on this latest venture, check out our pitch and subscribe to us so you have access to all our writing each month, whether you want to commit to one month, three months or a full year, be a part of this experience. And share it with your friends, your family, and anyone else who appreciates good sports writing.
Also, by subscribing, you’ll have access too all of the content on Beacon Reader, which goes beyond just our sports project. Take a look if you have time.
Thank you for reading, and don’t add me on Linkedin.