Hello friends! I hope 2017 has been good to you. This year I’ve survived two tropical storms (an unnamed one when we were vacationing in Florida in June, and then the remnants of Hurricane Irma when it blew through Atlanta a few weeks ago), did some nifty traveling (check out the pictures from our trip to the United Kingdom in July), finished writing one book, and started another.
In the midst of all this, I’ve also been praying and reflecting on my blog — and the role it plays in my overall ministry. I’ve been blogging, in one form or another, for over a decade now, and I remain convinced that this is an essential part of my work as a writer and practitioner of Christian contemplative spirituality.
For most of 2017 I’ve been posting my new blog entries exclusively at Patheos (www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman). I like Patheos, but as the year comes to a close I’ve decided that I want to return to blogging in a setting where I have more creative control.
So in 2018 I will continue to post some new content at Patheos, but I plan on posting again here, at least once a week. My plan is to write general interest Catholic posts for Patheos, while here at my personal website I’ll focus on writing about the Christian mystics and contemplatives. So this site will be my “specialty site” while my blog at Patheos will be my “general interest” site.
What does that mean for you? Here are some thoughts…
I know that most people can’t follow a blog every day — but if I post new content on a daily (or almost-daily) basis, I’ll reach more people. Since the purpose of this blog is to help people connect with the wisdom of the Christian mystics and contemplatives, naturally I want to reach as many readers as possible.
Here are the topics I hope to explore here in 2018 (and beyond):
- Reflections on the scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday — looking at the lessons through a contemplative eye, of course;
- Reviews of books, movies, or music that is relevant to contemplatives;
- Brief meditations on a topic or passage found in the writings of the great mystics;
- Reflections on a current event or issue of contemporary concern — once again, as seen through a contemplative eye;
- Meaningful quotations from the mystics;
- Brief inspirational meditations to support you in your ongoing prayer practice.
Do these topics appeal to you? I hope so — it’s an exciting vision for me. I probably won’t be able to do all this every week right away, but I hope to gradually increase my writing frequency (currently I post once or twice a week, I hope in 2018 to increase that to three or more times each week, between this blog and Patheos).
I am also developing a podcast with two colleagues. I’ll post more information about that as soon as we launch (hopefully soon!) — but the plan is for it to be a weekly podcast devoted to silence — contemplative silence of course, but also silence as it relates to art, literature, psychology, and health. We’re calling it Encountering Silence.
Now this leads to my question for you. In order to create content like this on an ongoing basis, I’ll need to increase my time commitment to the blog. And in order to do that, I need for the blog to generate some revenue. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount — just enough to cover the fact that I’ll be devoting 10 or more hours a week, week after week, to creating new posts on the mystics and the contemplative life.
For the time commitment I want to give to the blog, I need for the blog to make money. I wish I had the means to just blog without any thought of my income, but alas, that is not the case. In the past, frankly, my blog has often had to take backseat to other commitments, simply because they generated revenue.
I’m not looking for a full-time salary. I just need the blog to “pull its weight” in terms of the time I devote to it.
I’ve talked to some marketing consultants about the best way to generate financial support for a blog. I’d like to avoid cluttering the blog with ads if at all possible. I already do affiliate marketing and that helps some, but it’s not a huge stream.
One consultant really felt that I needed to convert my blog into a membership site. I thought, “Yucch!” I don’t want to charge admission. And I don’t want to kind of high-pressure sales tactics that I see accompanying other membership sites.
Someone along the way pointed out another tool for supporting creative output online: it’s called Patreon, a site designed to help people fund the writers, musicians, podcasters, or other creatives whose work they enjoy.
Patreon takes the best elements of crowdfunding, membership sites, and old-fashioned fundraising, and blends it together to create an easy and effective way to support online creativity. I’ve decided to give it a try.
So this is my question for you, dear reader. Would you be willing to make a small pledge to support this website? Even a donation of only $1 a month would be a huge help.
Patreon allows me to offer “rewards” to patrons, based on the size of the monthly gift. Such rewards include a monthly newsletter for patrons only, autographed copies of new books (for U.S. patrons), and even a quarterly livestream where we can get together and discuss matters related to the contemplative life.
My commitment is to keep the blog itself free and accessible to readers. So if you can’t afford to donate, or simply would rather not, you will still have access to my contemplative writing as it gets published on the blog.
But please know that if you do choose to become a patron, your support makes it possible for me to keep blogging, and to expand my blog as outlined above.
To visit my Patreon site and to make your monthly pledge (starting at just $1/month), click here: www.patreon.com/carlmccolman
Thank you. And please, stay tuned: look for more new contemplative writing in the weeks to come, and especially in the new year!