I launched the New Deal on July 1st. Since then, I've appreciated and enjoyed several things about it. Firstly, I'm not really sure what I'm doing just yet, but the friendly folks I've talked about about ideas have been very receptive and downright encouraging. I'm deliberately trying not to plan too much, but am focussing on lots of note-taking and doodling, meeting with advisors and talking about what's going on, and research, research, research.
I'm deeply encouraged by how the cultural heritage sector has transformed even in the few short years since I was much more closely involved. There's a completely different tone now, of openness and fun and reflection that I don't remember seeing before.
I've found the people I've reached out to to be genuinely receptive and constructive with me, which is an absolute thrill and a treat. I've already made so many new connections it's almost overwhelming!
I've been spending my days:
- Traveling to various organizations and institutions as part of my research
- Writing emails with lawyers and accountants and other lawyers
- Figuring out what a contract should be like to work with me
- Winning clients! (More on that soon.)
- Buying software, upgrading phones and laptops, and thinking about how tricky it is to actually archive work properly
- Being outside and about and in the city (which I only now realize is very fun and good for you and something that's so easy to forget about when you're working 9 to 5)
- Working out all the interesting folks on Twitter who I should listen to
- Catching up on the theory about all this cultural stuff these days
- Fantasizing about my own, very small company archive, and how to describe it
- Talking at Digital Preservation 2014, and reconnecting with folks I knew before but haven't seen for years
- Trying to chip away at the already long list of blog posts I want to write
- Offering pro bono services and implications of that (positive, overwhelmingly, just have to be careful and declarative with scope)
- Working out what a fundraising plan is, or could be
- Researching potential funding sources for the museum idea
- Making appointments for meetings with interesting people (and lawyers and accountants!), and
- Creating a living trust and will.
That final point might be a bit odd to hear, but, if you have more than $10k in the bank, you should do it too. It's a way to make sure that your family (or friends or heirs or charities) are the ones who end up inheriting what you want them to have.
I'm enjoying formative thinking and work again. It's a place I'm very happy, actually. I'm at my most constructive and creative when I'm designing how something could be, and working out what all the moving parts probably are and how they interconnect. It's also going to be useful to do the fundraising thing, I suspect, because that will force me to consolidate all the tendrils and ideas I have flying around today.
And, I get to sit in my dressing gown with a cat by my side in the morning. Can't beat that.