Well, not really.  I’ve been here since day one, but I’m just mostly writing content behind the scenes now.  So, I figured you should get to know me!

I’m Ian.  I have a bachelor’s degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, from Pittsburg State University (and I’ve finally found something to do with it).  Since graduating, I’ve been all sorts of places, some good, some bad, but then I found my way here to Golden Scoop.  I started as a Super Scooper, working behind the counter to serve you our delicious ice cream, baked goods, and coffee!  However, I was hired to write marketing content.  I also helped create and operate much of the “back end” of our website on the side, which were skills I originally did not have and had to learn on the job.  That means I got to log into an administrative account and play around with all of the weird wiggly bits on the other side of our site that you don’t see.  (That’s where I’m writing from right now!)

Turns out that I didn’t really like being the resident website snake-charmer, though, so I transitioned to a purely content-creation role last month.  I am now our first Content Marketing Specialist!  The blog has been silent for, well, quite a long time, because I’ve had a lot going on, but now I’m back in this new, exciting role.  I’ll be handling not only our blog, but also possibly even writing an upcoming subscriber newsletter!  That’s a lot of new responsibilities, and I’m very pleased to finally put my writing skills to the test in a way that grows our little community into hopefully something much bigger.  We’re expanding into a new location soon, after all, so everything is about to get BIG and EXCITING!

I’m also working part-time at Children’s Mercy Hospital, in Kansas City, MO, as a Prospect Researcher for the philanthropy department.  Basically, I use our resources to find wealthy individuals in the community, who we then ask if they would like to donate to our cause.  It’s an important job and one that generates much-needed funding for the hospital; I’m glad to have joined the team.  Previously, I also worked as a Hospitality Assistant in the Resource Center for parents and families of patients.  It was a lot of administrative tasks and cleaning of toys (SO much cleaning!), but my favorite part was helping people find books from our library to read to their hospitalized kids.  That was always something I really enjoyed.

So that’s it for work-related stuff.  On the personal side, however, I’ve been doing a lot of things.  I am currently writing a middle-grade children’s novel about a boy with cerebral palsy named Evan and his wheelchair-bound dog, California, who enter their town’s annual charity dog race as a team.  Together, they face many challenges and even discrimination from people who think Evan is only entering to use his and California’s disabilities to win the race.  It’s a very exciting, thought-provoking story about hardship, friendship, and making tough choices, and I’m loving it.  I’m hoping to have the manuscript done by the end of the year, and then, once it’s edited, it’s time to start shopping for an agent!  I recently attended a writer’s retreat in Pennsylvania with the Highlights Foundation, by way of a scholarship that I won back in April, when I submitted part of my manuscript as part of my application.  I had a wonderful time.  I received a lot of great feedback, as well as inspiration for several new ideas which have enriched my story and made it into something really special, I think.  (No spoilers!)

At the retreat, I also got the idea to create a picture book series for teenagers still struggling to read, for whom the only resources available are materials aimed at much younger kids, for obvious reasons.  Maybe they have a disability themselves, maybe that area of their education was simply severely neglected, but the truth is that some kids enter high school still unable to read chapter books.  I’ve decided that, after my novel, I’m going to write a picture book series which follows an ordinary teenager encountering ordinary teenage situations (having crushes, attending parties, entering into a relationship, and so forth), written in a simple, easy to follow style.  Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but I haven’t heard of anything else like it, so why not write it myself?  I may even make it in the style of a graphic novel, just with simplified, easy to follow text.  Crazy…or genius?  I guess we’ll see!

Finally, I am currently in the process of earning a Digital Marketing certificate from Johnson County Community College, to be completed in December!  It’s been a lot of information, with classes on WordPress, Social Media Marketing, Google Analytics, and more!  I knew nothing about these topics beforehand, so it’s been a great learning experience.  I received a scholarship which covered the certificate, as well as leaving quite a bit for anything else I can think to use it on.  That’s really exciting!  I could use the extra money to explore all sorts of subjects.  Maybe there’s a certificate in cheesemaking?

So, that’s it for now.  You’ll see much more of me (or rather, what I’m writing) from now on, from blog posts to social media and more.  This is the start of an exciting new chapter (haha) for me.  See you there.

Written by Ian Miller, Content Marketing Specialist for Golden Scoop

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