Changes at The Quiet Branches.

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Outside the Life Sciences Center at Dartmouth College. Photo Credit: Ian Street

A New Phase

Two years ago I planted the seed that grew into what this blog has become today.

It’s gone better than I thought and has provided opportunities to write for other blogs, a society magazine, and been an integral part of my growth as a science writer, and re-awoken my love of science and awoken a latent desire to become a science writer and editor, which I have done in all but full time career (and really want to learn even more).

To use a plant analogy, this blog has established itself as a seedling with a root and shoot and now is on to the vegetative growth phase. Time to put out some true leaves and gather nutrients and sugar to grow even more, to flower even.

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Flowering bladderwort. Photo Credit: Ian Street

My postdoc ended last week and I will, at least for the short term, be freelance writing and editing until I land a permanent job (or succeed wildly at being a freelancer– if that is possible), hopefully a starting position in the world of writing, editing, or publishing, or something else science adjacent.

I will be blogging more regularly and relating stories of plant science (see the pitch page if you have a science story you think would make for a good story or resource I can write up).

So don’t worry about the blog going anywhere. It is a passion project, but one I like too much to let go just now.

One of the changes here might be the occasional post outside of plant science, extending the quiet branch metaphor to other under-reported areas of science, to demonstrate that I can cover areas of science beyond plant science. There may also be more interviews and quotes as I seek to become more connected and learn to be more journalistic in approach to writing.

One thing I do know, is that I’ve at least taken a few steps towards ‘not writing like a scientist’ (in complete academese), but can still be even better.

Supporting Myself (& The Blog)

Moving on in my career means a few things I’m going to try, at least for a time.

I am going to introduce Patreon (& possibly Paypal) to the blog and solicit donations and depending on how that goes, will have benefits to donors that I haven’t fully worked out. The first goal is to pay for the domain and WordPress premium for a year. So be on the lookout for those buttons.

Two patron rewards I’m considering are:

  1. For those that donate to support my blog at some threshold, I’ll write stories about topics you want to read or a question you want answered, a hand in steering content.
  2. A credit roll for top donors would appear at the bottom of each post.

If there are other ideas, Feel free to comment.

I may explore getting sponsors as well, though that is likely further down the road.

New Guest Authors Policy

Next, I’ve been honored to have several guest posters on the blog and I would like to continue to do that in some capacity, however, monetizing a blog makes me feel weird about not paying contributors (which I won’t be able to afford to do…maybe ever). So here’s my idea, that I already sort of have as a policy here. If you are someone that wants to try blogging or science writing, you are welcome to pitch me a story you’d like to write. Beyond one story each quarter, however, you should start your own blog or seek other outlets to publish your work and use The Quiet Branches as a start of your popular writing portfolio. I may make exceptions if I co-write something with someone, but on the whole, I don’t want to feel like I’m exploiting people, writing for exposure alone. Starting this blog was a place I’ve learned to write about science and am happy to have it be a space for that for others too.

The Newsletter

Ages ago, I started a newsletter, that I will revive. It will come out once a month for now, but may become more frequent as time allows.

Here’s to The New Quiet Branches

This is a new experiment for me. Tinkering. These changes may well not work or take me anywhere new, but I’m going to try and that has been the biggest lesson for me in blogging: start, iterate, keep trying, and work as hard as possible to produce better content than the post before. Thank you all who read and share my posts. I’ll be eternally grateful for that. Now, it’s time to get to work on adding more quiet branches to this blog.

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Photo credit: Ian Street

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