Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash
Last Sunday, there was no weekly newsletter. This is the reason why.
At the start of 2020, I was overwhelmed.
I had too much on my plate: teaching, writing, a YouTube show, working as the writer-in-residence—and none of this included me being a husband, a father, a son and brother, and taking care of myself.
So I cut back and focused. I made it to the end of the semester and then to the end of my residency—even successfully managing the transition to teach and work from home.
As these two jobs wrapped up, I had big plans. I would continue helping writers—since it was the closest I had to a paying job—but do it on my own terms. I set-up a website with paid memberships, where I'd offer videos, classes, and one-on-one meetings, all of which would fund my own fiction writing.
But I failed, and only recently have I realized how lost I had become.
For me, teaching has always been personally rewarding, while also help cover some of the bills, but my passion has always been to write fiction.
I had hoped I could find a balance between the two of them, each helping the other, but by trying to do both, it only seemed to make things more frustrating. I was spreading myself too thin across the website, and even worse, I wasn't doing my other writing.
A part of the problem was focus: I didn't know who the website was for. Was it writers looking for help, potential readers, or a bit of both. I tried to do a bit of everything, but only ended up doing very little of anything.
My content has been blurred and unfocussed. I threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall, hoping that all the videos, shared lessons, blog posts, and newsletters that I posted would eventually stick and find an audience—and hopefully lead to paying members—but none of it did.
My subscriber numbers have continued to remain low, I've seen very small engagement with the newsletters, and I don't really want to talk about the paid memberships (but it's not pretty).
The big trouble with doing everything is time: there isn't enough of it. For every new idea I tried, the more time I was taking from the others—especially my own writing.
Sure, I've been working on the fourth book from Counios & Gane, but even that was starting to fail. I was feeling overwhelmed by expectations and story problems, and even though I had a writing partner, I refused the help. It wasn't until a few days ago that I admitted to my writing partner that I was drowning in the book (ego can be a hell of a obstacle).
But this hasn't been the most frustrating for me.
While doing my residency, teaching, and writing for C & G, all I wanted to do was my own writing, to rediscover my voice. Yet, every action I took was moving me further and further away from that goal.
So when it came time to work on the newsletter last Sunday, I just couldn't convince myself to do it. I didn't have the links or the energy, and I used the holidays as my excuse, but I really knew the reason: I was done with it.
I'm going to make some changes around here.
I'm going to focus this website around my own writing, as well as a few other special projects that I've been wanting to do—like interviewing fellow authors and my own digital garden.
I'll keep the memberships. If people want to support these endeavours, I'd be absolutely grateful. You'll get early access to new writing, as well as discounts and other perks.
The newsletter will be cut back to monthly, shifting in tone and focus around personal lessons I've learned, updates, and other stories from my adventures. I still hope to do separate blog posts, but what those might be, I'm not sure.
That's all I know for now. Until now, I didn't really know what the new approach would be, but writing this essay helped. Things will continue to change over the next bit, cut back and focused for those interested in my writing and wishing to support my journey.
Thank you always for being a part of it.