The Universe's Matching Grant Program
Evelyn Rodriguez on Passionate Work
I just wrote a pretty impassioned post on doing things for the pure love or passion of it aka amateurism on my regular blog, so it was timely that in preparation for my (ahem) amateur journalism project at year-end , I was reading a book on narrative or literary journalism, and came across an interview with yet another amateur and one of my favorite writers, Jon Krakauer, author of best-selling Into Thin Air and Into the Wild.
I became a journalist in the early 1980s when I found myself broke and out of work - I was a carpenter at the time, and the construction industry had plunged into a bad recession. I had just gotten married, and my wife didn't have a paying job, either. I was so f***ing desperate that I contemplated applying to law school - I went so far as to study for the LSAT. I was rescued from that fate by my friend and climbing partner, David Roberts, who had recently left academia to become first editor at Horizon magazine, and then a freelance writer. He argued that journalism was 'a lot more fun than pounding nails.' He told me, 'Magazines pay you to travel to interesting places and talk to interesting people. Just start doing it. You'll figure it out as you go.' - from The New New Journalism by Robert S. Boynton
Jon Krakauer did just that and picked up a book on typing and another book on becoming a magazine writer. And as they say the rest is history.
I'm not kidding you, there won't be red carpets laid out, for instance, I could not apply for a $10,000 grant for tsunami aftermath reporting because the criteria included being a 'credentialed' journalist. But as I ended my post, a well-known documentary film maker who trained herself once told me the universe does have a matching grant program. And if you put in the effort, it'll meet you halfway.