This is one of the most difficult blog posts that I’ve ever had to write.
Many people have commented to me about how amazing it is that I am able to find time to do this blog. These people often assume that I have either a permanent position at a university, or at least some kind of ongoing work teaching. The reality is that I haven’t been employed for the past year.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the current realities of the job market for Canadian historians, but suffice to say it’s terrible. History enrolments are declining, as are department budgets, and there are always new people graduating with history PhDs. While in years past there have been regular positions for sessionals in the area where I live, these have basically dried up.
When I originally started this blog, my goal was to find something meaningful that I could do with my training while I figured out what I was going to do. But as you know, this blog took on a life of its own, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
But is also a very time-consuming one. To give you a sense of how much time, you should know that it takes two fully days of work to create each roundup. The time it takes to write regular blog posts vary; sometimes I can do them in about a day, but the more involved ones like What’s in My Bag and my resource guides can take upwards of a week.
However — and it’s a big however — I have no current source of income. While my husband has been supporting me over the past year, we can’t continue in this kind of pattern indefinitely. So I was faced with two options: stop the blog and go into the regular job market, or find some kind of way to support myself with the blog. Because I honestly can’t do both, have a full-time job while also writing the blog. Not to mention that taking a full-time job would effectively mean the end of my career as a professor.
In the end, I have decided to find a way to support myself with the blog, at least for now. This is going to be an experiment to see if this is a viable career path, supplemented by part-time work. Because the fact is that I absolutely love writing this blog, and I have a list of more than 100 blog topics that I am planning to write.
Which means that Unwritten Histories needs your help!
So what can you do to help? There are two ways you can do this:
First, If you can, please consider supporting Unwritten Histories financially through one of the following methods:
1) Patreon: I have signed up for a Patreon account. For those of you who have never heard of this before, Patreon acts just like those PBS pledge drives. Individuals can pledge a small amount each month, through their credit cards or PayPal accounts, and in exchange they will receive certain rewards. There are five different levels: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50. Even if you can only spare $1, that would tremendously. Rewards depend upon your pledge level, and will include things like sneak-peeks of upcoming blog posts, the ability to request blog posts, and your name on the “Sponsors” list up at the top. You can find out more information about Patreon and the rewards available by clicking on the link above.
2) Donations: If you would rather simply make a donation, this option is also available. You can use the yellow button on the top right-hand side of this blog that says “Donate.” Use this button to make a donation of any amount via your credit card or your PayPal account. Donors who give $20 and above will be included on the list of “Sponsors” I mentioned in the previous section (unless you prefer otherwise, in which case, let me know in the message section!)
3) Limited Advertising: While I do not want to start advertising on the blog, I have decided to compromise. In exchange for a monthly donation, I will be offering two advertising spots on my website that can be purchased by educational institutions, historical organizations or societies, conference organizers, publishers, and academic journals.* I will also, again in a limited capacity, allow the same educational institutions, historical organizations or societies, conference organizers, publishers, and academic journals to sponsor individual blog posts on the topic of their choice. Sponsored blog posts are no different from regular blog posts, except that I will have received financial compensation for writing them; the same amount of effort goes into them. These blog posts will be noted as “Sponsored” at the top.
*If you would like to find out about my policies and rates, please email me at unwrittenhistories [at] gmail [dot] com.
Spreading the Word
No one understands better than I that sometimes you want to help, but aren’t in a financial position to do so. That’s totally fine! You can still help out Unwritten Histories by sharing my blog posts on your social media accounts, letting others know about the blog, and of course, keep reading and commenting!
What Your Patronage Will Pay For
Webhosting+: Unwritten Histories is a WordPress blog. Since I don’t have my own server, I host the site through Bluehost. This costs money, as does maintaining the rights to the domain name of unwrittenhistories.com. I also have to pay in order to use certain tools, Hootsuite, Buffer, and IFTT, that help me to create the roundup each week.
Labour: At the moment, Unwritten Histories is a labour of love; I do all of the writing, editing, content curating, social media posting, and web design myself. But I don’t get paid for any of the work that I do! In order to keep the content free and advertising to a minimum, I need to have a reliable source of income.
Expansion: While Unwritten Histories is limited to a blog that posts twice per week at the moment, I do have plans to expand! I would like to add an additional original blog post per week to begin with. I am also working on developing a database of scholarly Canadian history content as well as a database of Canadian archives. I would also love to start a podcast where I explore “unwritten” aspects of Canada’s history!
While obviously this is not an ideal situation, this is the best plan that I can think of that will allow me to keep all of my content freely available, especially for undergraduate students, graduate students, and early-career academics, while still being able to support myself. And regardless of what happens, none of this would have been possible without your support and encouragement, and I will be forever grateful for it.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post. On Sunday we’ll be back with a brand new roundup as usual, and next Tuesday will be my monthly series on my favourite new articles. See you then!
Bonus: Though I don’t have a new post this week, I have spent time updating several older ones, including my Guide to Online Resources for Teaching WW1, my Guide to Peer-Reviewed Journals in Canadian History, and the Canadian Historian’s Guide to Twitter. Enjoy!