When you start a new venture, you try to anticipate how people might react. Will they love it or hate it? There never is an in-between emotion, such as disinterest or distraction, when we evaluate our creative projects.
Nothing could have prepared me for the connections that have come from so far from five months of collecting, reporting, and sharing stories from rural and small town America.
Starting Finding Country Magazine has been an exercise in balance, time management, vulnerability, and hope. It isn’t easy to juggle a full-time job, a house build, and establishing a small market garden—in the middle of a global crisis—on top of publishing a 25-plus page digital publication each month.
Throughout my life, I’ve found the most challenging goals usually bring you the most happiness and pure, authentic fulfillment. If you want your glass half full, do something that scares you.
Sharing unedited pieces of my work with others—especially if I haven’t known them for a long time--is downright terrifying. Delegation, however, is part of growth and I couldn’t be more excited to introduce the Finding Country Magazine (FCM) community to W.B. Miley!
Unwilling to ride the corporate trajectory, W.B. set out to find a new path for himself that didn’t require 40 years behind a desk and that might actually help him develop real life skills.
But it wasn’t until a devastating tornado ripped through Mt. Juliet at the beginning of 2020 when his perspective on self-sufficiency changed and he began pursuing the goal with a sense of urgency.
While many mourned the loss of their homes and the objects inside of them, W.B. was surprised by a feeling of relief.
“I just started thinking ‘wow, I didn’t really need all of these possessions,’” he said. “It was almost liberating to lose everything and to get clarity about life.”
Clarity gave way to new thoughts like “is it possible to just get a little bit of land and live and be happy?”
This question, and his pursuit of an answer, led him to Finding Country Magazine and ultimately to working alongside me. In a complimentary email he mentioned his interest in editing in passing, like it was merely a breath. For me it was a sneeze--abrupt and perceptible.
As an independent writer I rarely have the opportunity to work with an editor, and I’ve never been the type to shy away from some good ole constructive criticism. I immediately jumped on his hint of an offer and sent a few articles his way as a test of his abilities.
Edited article after edited article, he impressed me.
W.B. Miley is precise with his revisions--you can almost imagine him dissecting each sentence with a scalpel and pulling apart the words as if they were tendons or ligaments.
As an editor for FCM, he ensures every article is clear, concise, and compelling. He has been a tremendous help to our small-but-mighty organization of two, and Matt and I are thrilled to be growing the team to three with this announcement of W.B. as a FCM editor.
W.B. currently resides in Macon County where he is in the beginning stages of building out his homestead life. His immediate goal is to expand his garden to a place where it provides for a significant portion of his diet. From there he intends to continually reduce his dependence on modern conveniences and supply chains--systems in which he says cracks are beginning to show.
Are you interested in joining the team or submitting a guest post? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!