The Wilder Coast Was Born out of Discouraging Algebra.
Two years out of college, Melina was living in a basement, in the home of a man who collected floaty pens as a hobby. The studio apartment cost 850.00 a month, about half of the salary she made as the public relations director ("whipping girl") at a failing kayak shop. Like many people before her and many to follow, she woke up one day to the realization that the math was not in her favor.
In two weeks, Melina packed up seven years worth of life in Seattle and flew back to her parent's house in Vermont.On that day, The Wilder Coast was created. Torn between the perimeters of the country, she expected to spend the next few years bouncing back and forth between coasts, deciding which was the wildest and therefore more appealing.
The Longest Coast
Instead, a few months after returning East, she took a job with the New River Academy, an internationally traveling boarding school. (The blog came dangerously close to being re-named 'The Longest Coast', but thankfully she didn't know how to change the title at that point).
Generally typed on confusingly foreign keyboards in the last few seconds of pay-per-minute Internet, Melina documented her first semester as a teacher in the world's most alternative high school in incomprehensible half stories and vague references. As the school's English teacher, photography teacher, and public relations coordinator, she had about four other blogs and websites that needed daily updating. Terrible spelling, incomplete sentences and a refusal to capitalize the letter "I" set the tone for the early posts of The Wilder Coast, which read primarily like this.
The Learning Curve
Fortunately, that time was short lived. Following in a long tradition of work vs. blog hostility, The Wilder Coast became a point of contention almost immediately. A student's parent complained when a prescription medication was mentioned in a post; it was a legal medication prescribed by a doctor, but either way the entire staff had to sign away their right to blog while at work.
Many notable stories that would have made VERY GOOD posts passed during that time, but Melina was unable to record them.
She picked up the blog again that summer of 2009, polishing up the writing and finally learning to spell. During that time, the blog crawled from infancy to childhood and began to appeal to a broader audience- aka, people who were not Melina's direct relatives. With popular posts such as This is Not Our Fault, The Wilder Coast emerged as a source of empathy and amusement for the generation of hopeful young people hitting the wall of a record-scary economy.
With a more cautious (aka 'not so dumb') writing ethic, Melina was able to continue updating the blog throughout her second semester at New River Academy with no issues (that she knows of).
Full Time Poverty Writing
In January 2010, chronic migraines forced her into early retirement from teaching (after one whole year). She moved to North Carolina and continued to write and learn web code. The Web Code went well, but Southern Living did not, and after six months she moved back to Seattle.
A year and a half since its inception, The Wilder Coast has been viewed by over 34,000 people in 80 countries, and continues to grow in readership every day. In January 2010, TWC was accepted by BlogHer, a major online publishing network.
Now a full time writer supporting herself through freelance content writing, coins she finds on the sidewalk, and blog revenue, she lives in what some would call 'squalor', but she calls 'better than the Subaru outback I used to live out of.'
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Connect with me on Instagram @thewildercoast