Where were we?
Monday I finally spilled the beans. I launched my vegan lifestyle coaching practice: Go Vegan with JL!
I also promised a second reveal. A little something about a book.
When I started blogging I got caught up in it. Big time. Blogging started out as, and remains, my hobby. It also became my passion. Through blogging I found a creative outlet to share an experience publicly and to get something deeply profound in return. A community. I began sharing recipes as well as the experiences and quandaries I encountered on my vegan journey. I received delightful feedback from readers and many suggested that I write a cookbook. My standard response? “I’m not that kind of cook.” And I meant it. I was not the food blogger with dreams of a cookbook.
I continued on, writing publicly about my experiences as a 40+-year-old vegan. I introduced my exploration of the ethics of veganism here; many of you witnessed my evolution from dietary to ethical vegan. I stopped chasing skinny here (and started a second blog as a result). I became inspired to enhance my content. I enrolled in culinary public education classes to strengthen my recipe development. I took writing courses and attended blogging conferences because I wanted to tighten up my message on the blog. I started writing for This Dish is Veg, Veggie Buntch, One Green Planet, and Elephant Journal. These days I find myself regularly featured on BlogHer.com, DailyBuzz Healthy Living (my Cinnamon Curried Chickpeas are featured in the top 9 today!) and I have landed my own online vegan column with my local paper (with articles occasionally making the print edition). My writing hobby has grown both on the blog, and beyond it, and I am immensely thankful.
Over the winter I got an email from Ginny Messina that would change my writing life forever – subject line: Write a book with me?
Virginia Messina is co-author of the book Vegan for Life and author of the blog The Vegan RD. She described her new project – a vegan diet book (diet as in how one eats, not as in how one reduces calories) – and invited me to join her as a collaborator. Specifically, to develop recipes for the book. She wrote “I love your perspective on vegan issues – because it’s both compassionate and fun – and I like your recipes, too!”
To say this was a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment is an understatement. First I had to make sure she didn’t accidentally type in my email address for a communication intended for someone else.
Ginny confirmed that the email was, indeed, intended for me. She knows that my cooking and recipes reflect her nutritional philosophy. She knows that I don’t make complex recipes, rather I make recipes that are accessible and easy for the most fearful non-cook (because just three years ago it was I who was the fearful non-cook). She also asked me to provide content in a few other areas of the book.
How could I resist?
Since that fateful email many months ago, we now have a publisher, a due date for our manuscript, and, in the summer of 2013, I will officially be a published co-author! Crazy, right?
I share this story of a blog evolution – low aspirations for monetization and high aspirations for providing good content – because I think it’s central to how this amazing opportunity to collaborate with Ginny Messina came about. It’s common to focus our continuing education on our careers, on that for which we make money. It’s less common to seek and invest in continuing education for our passions, our hobbies. My decision to become more skilled and talented in my hobbies has paved the way to retire before I retire. The time and money spent on writing and culinary classes and blogging conferences – all for the sheer joy of it – has turned into an opportunity to radically shift my career and the way I approach the concept of “work.”
I encourage you to think about your own passions. What are you doing to hone them? Is there a way to merge your current professional skills with those passions? I think there can be and, by popular demand, I have added a coaching component to my practice to encourage you on your own path to “early retirement” (details here).
Back to the book. Dear community members, I need you! I need a few, very special, experienced recipe testers. This is not a cookbook so the number of recipes is quite manageable. I will be tweaking some of my current recipes on my blog, and developing new ones, which will include grain-based dishes, lots of beans and legumes, soups, salads, desserts, and more. If you’re a regular reader you know I’m not a low-fat vegan and I’m not a gluten-free vegan so you should expect recipes that include both – but there will be some without, as well!
I will ask you to begin testing as early as August but heavy testing will be in September and October. If you are interested,
please fill out the form below. (EDITED 7/28/12; Thank you! The response to this request was overwhelming and I have plenty of testers!)
So, there you have it. I have revealed my two bits of news that I’ve been holding onto for too long! I want to thank each and every one of you who read this blog. You have inspired me to work harder, to think bigger and to dream without limits. I am grateful.