|See? We're right where we've always been, and not even buried under the usual summer weeds!|
You see, when I started this blog four and a half years ago, I had three major goals in mind:
1) Keep my mom and other up-north relatives posted on the cool stuff happening in my garden
2) Keep my writing skills sharp after losing my job in communications during The Great Recession
3) Create a portfolio of nature-based writing I could use as I started a job search with new goals in mind
After many years working for a bank, first doing training delivery, then instructional design, and finally internal communications, I had decided it was time for a change. Like many folks, I decided to turn my job loss into an "opportunity" and pursue work that really interested me. I knew I wanted to write, and I knew I was done with corporate 9-5 jobs (especially in finance) that involved cubicles and phrases like "Interest-may-be-tax-deductible-consult-your-tax-advisor".
|Isn't this much nicer than a cubicle, or even an office with a window? |
Who needs windows when you can sit on the back porch and write about what you see?
|The BioWorks Flight Encounter at MOSI, where I spend much time with sweat in my eyes and hands full of caterpillars.|
After endless prodding from friends, I decided to join Facebook a few years ago, and it turns out that it was one of the greatest things I ever did. (And I don't even play Farmville!) One of the magazines I was following, Birds & Blooms, put out a request for "regional reporters" to turn in bi-monthly updates to be featured in the magazine. Eventually, this expanded into the opportunity to blog for them several times a week, and I recently had my first by-line in the magazine. (Look for "Diary of a Monarch" by Jill Staake, in the September issue of Birds & Blooms Extra! Coming soon to a news stand near you!) I've taken on some other responsibilities for them too, especially in social media, and now spend a good chunk of my time writing about birds, blooms, and butterflies - for pay!
|Hey, that's my name! Check out the blog by clicking here.|
I'm extremely proud of the career I've managed to create for myself over the last few years. The pay isn't the best, but the work is something I feel passionate about. I'm allowed to be creative, to dig in the dirt, to photograph butterflies and birds, and to share my knowledge with others. I've had the chance to travel for Birds & Blooms, and to make interesting contacts around the Tampa area and beyond.
Of course, this is all keeping me very busy. And when too much is happening at once, something's gotta give. In my case, it was My Florida Backyard. It's been harder and harder to find time to write posts for it, when other writing jobs (the kind with paychecks attached) are awaiting my attention. So days slipped into weeks, which slipped into months, which brings us to now.
I thought about calling it quits on this blog, and just leaving it up as a resource for others. After all, I send my mom pictures from my phone all the time, and my Birds & Blooms blog posts are frequently about things going on in my yard. Why not just let this particular blog's activity come to an end?
But I find I'm not quite ready to do that. I think that occasionally, I'll find topics that are very specific to Florida backyards, ones that I really want to write about but that only a very few people might care to read about. I love writing for B&B, but their audience isn't always the right fit for more technical posts, or for those about very specific regional species. And in those cases, for the right special people, I want My Florida Backyard to remain active.
|How else can I justify posting yet more photos of white peacocks?|
So you may not see a lot of new posts from this site going forward. But I hope you'll join me in several other places around the web, to see what's going on here and what I'm up to in general. And I hope you'll continue to subscribe, or leave me in your RSS feed, or just check back every once in awhile, because plenty of amazing things still happen in My Florida Backyard, and from time to time, I'll be sure to let you in on some of them.
Find Me on the Web (look for the posts by Jill):