Yes, after all of my complaints about Kickstarter and all of the various crowdfunding projects, I have jumped on board the bandwagon at last. I am planning on making a travel blog, called Canyon Run, and I am currently seeking your help to put a (hopefully very humble) amount of funding together for it. If you are the kind of person who wants to give me money to support an idea of mine, you can head over to Indiegogo right now, and contribute towards the total.

Pretty much everything about the project is explained right over there (including what I’m doing and even a little bit about why), but I figured I should also post something about it here, just for posterity’s sake. First things first, I thought it was worth saying that this whole thing a) almost didn’t happen at all, and b) has been cooking in my head for a while.

I’ll cover b) first. I’ve been thinking about crowdfunding and Kickstarter and Indiegogo for a long time now — I think the idea is great, but the practice is very often flawed. I don’t think it works well for games, as I’ve posted before, and I’ve seen a lot of projects that ask for ludicrous sums of money to do something that I think would probably sell through normal channels anyway. But I am fascinated by how these sites build communities, and how a good project idea can earn not just money, but a lot of goodwill and support through these sites. So I tried to think of what I might be able to do, and what might benefit from having a built-in community around it from the get-go.

I definitely wanted to do something temporary and small, and considering how much people liked my blog posts from Europe, I eventually landed on the idea of a travel blog for a short road trip, partially funded by its readers. I have other ideas for crowdfunding (though none of them are games — they’re all finite projects with clear costs, and I don’t think a video game matches either of those descriptions), but this seemed simplest and easiest, a nice test balloon for me to send out there. Who knows — if everyone thinks it’s stupid and it doesn’t get funded, I’ll still make the trip, though I probably won’t write about it much (and I definitely won’t send out any of the perks, obviously).

Now back to a), and how this project almost didn’t happen. First of all, I did originally submit this to Kickstarter, and over there, it got denied. Kickstarter has a pretty strict policy as to what goes on the site (you have to be selling an actual product with a clear end date), and given that they believed this project was simply funding my travel costs, they politely declined to post it. I thought about resubmitting over there, trying to make it clear to them that I was trying to fund this blog as a product rather than just a trip, but I figured it wasn’t worth nitpicking, and took it to Indiegogo, where they’re welcome any greedy lunatic with open arms.

Second, and more importantly, I almost didn’t have the guts to post this at all. I don’t want to be seen as greedy or needy; I’m not here to beg money from other people, or rip anybody off, or somehow convince people to pay for me to have fun. Like I said, even if this doesn’t get funded, I’ll still do the traveling. This isn’t about taking a bunch of money, it’s about making an idea real.

I haven’t really shared this anywhere else online (and I don’t really plan to), but lately I’ve been thinking about my personal value — what I’m worth and what I deserve. In the past, I would have said that this was a nutty project — that no one wanted to pay money for some of my silly thoughts on Dinosaur National Park or my account of a swim in the salt lake. I would have dismissed this project without another thought, so certain was I that my personal insight was worth nothing to other people.

But lately, I’ve been more and more convinced that line of thinking undervalues who I am and what I can do. I’m a clear, interesting writer with strong insights and opinions. I’ve got tons of experience, I’m dependable, and I work hard. I’ve got a good sense of humor, and I can deliver entertainment when needed, no matter what. I’ve been doing exactly that for a long time. Even now, as I write those words, there’s a part of me that says that sounds arrogant, and that I shouldn’t really think that. That part of me, however, is wrong. We’re all good at something, and this is what I’m good at.

So that’s why, even after being denied by Kickstarter, I went to put this project together. Like I said, who knows? Perhaps no one will fund it, and that will be fine, and I’ll still go on this trip, and we’ll all move on with our lives without issue. But the good news, for me anyway, is that I do believe it’s worth it to pay $2 and get two weeks of exclusive, interesting blog posts direct from me. I do believe I have people who will step out and support me when I have a good idea that could use a few extra bucks. Whether this experiment is funded or not, I do believe my work and my ideas are worth something. And though this may be personal to admit here, I’m believing more and more that I am worth something, too.

Seriously, though, you should donate at the souvenir level. I can’t wait to pick out an awesome Native American wolf painting or a few trucker CDs and send them around the world to all of you as gifts. 12 days to hit $1000 (plus a few extra bucks for fees)! Let’s do this!

Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 11:11 pm. Filed under general.
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