• ::  :: Becoming more independent from social media ::  ::

    I’ve had the thought of giving up on this informal newletter course here because my days and my mind feel rather full lately…but instead, I d […]

    • mel replied 2 weeks ago

      I think you’re spot-on when you say that there’s no way to avoid the big corporations when it comes to online sharing – of any kind. Well, unless you’re some sort of multi-talented computer programmer who can build stuff from scratch but then how would anyone find you? 🙂

      I’m slowly coming to the realization that I have finite resources — time, energy etc — and that I need to be very discerning in how I spend those resources. Social media is simply not a good use of my time – both tangibly and intangibly (I get almost zero conversion from IG etc. for my book sales *and* it negatively impacts my mental health). I have my blog and newsletter and feel like that’s going to be it for a while….I’m feeling a strong pull to be retreating to my creative cave for the autumn and winter.

      YouTube is an excellent resource as a search engine and though it’s still governed by an algorithm, if you’re subscribed to a channel you WILL see the videos, unlike other platforms. The algorithm also seems to do a pretty good job of showing similar channels so I’ve found that very helpful…and I imagine helps with visibility and findability. I’ve also watch smaller creators get picked up by the algorithm and absolutely explode with new subscribers….one went from under a thousand to almost 75,000 in the few months I was following her!

      So, to answer your question — I’m still untangling the threads of my weaving but I think that’s the wiser option than trying to create something out of a knotted heap 😉

    • I am still on both FB and IG. A FB I have both my personal account and a business page. I have hugely pared down my “friends” list and businesses I follow, but am a member of a number of very helpful groups there (beekeeping for example), and our island community has several groups/pages where we can get info when the ferries have issues, or there is a road closure or power outage. I’ll remain at FB while it remains useful. I do have about 150 followers on my business page there, but have had some success in nudging them to my newsletter, and I’ll keep nudging until I can close that page, likely early next year.

      Instagram is for me, my magazine substitute, I suppose. I follow those who post the images that please me. I only allow those who might be like-minded folk to follow me, and have no qualms about blocking anyone for any reason. (mostly men or faux men…) I post images of my life, glimpses into what I love…in the main, nature, garden, herbs, crafting. I’ll be gone from there for a week or two or three, and then back when it pleases me to be. It is very rarely used to promote my products, but when I do show a new tea, or soap, or whatever I may be creating, I almost always have visitors to my website/blog.

      None of the social media sites consume the number of hours they once did. Although, I too am looking at YouTube as a way to stay better in touch with customers both old and new. Even after eleven years, so many still miss coming into the shop to see me and visit. I think there is a way for me to bring some of the coziness of my shop back to life as well as share other things and promote whatever I determine to be that which I want to produce, promote, or…. That really is the crux of the issue, I suppose.

      By-the-way, my son started a YouTube channel a little over two years ago, with a very clear vision to build subscribers and then launch an aquarium plant business. He has grown to 8.22k subscribers, started his “grow” business, launched a webshop, and earlier this month gave notice at his county job. He goes full time as a solo-preneur Nov. 2. I’ve been so impressed with his vision and determination. I am very proud of him. (You can see my boy at NWAquahobby and hear him say “What is going on everyone. I am Will and this is Northwest Aquahobby” Never fails to make me giggle.)

      As my post bricks-and-mortar tea business has shrunk, so has my newsletter list! Right now my newsletter is basically my “Shopkeeping” posts from my blog with info on new products, sales, shows, and a bit about what’s happening in my tiny part of the world. Like some of you, I send a pretty photo and a snippet of text with an invitation to click on for more. I like this so much better! Recipients can click through or not, and I am quite fine with that. Next year I plan to start sending nearly all posts out as newsletters. That won’t be a deluge, however, because I don’t see myself posting more than 2 to 4 times a month. There will be fewer if any shopkeeping posts, and more posts about my garden, the seasons, nature, teas and herbs, and making things and more offering of heartfelt words. Goods will ever become less the emphasis, as sharing my love for nature becomes more the focus. And I betcha my subscriber number takes another hit, as customers realize my intention to shrink my business even more. But that is okay, right? Because we want to reach out to our perfect audience.

      It’s all still a bit of a muddle in my mind, but the tangle is loosening. I may go ahead and watch Yarrow’s next video on choosing a newsletter provider, because I wish to leave MailChimp soon. I’ll likely head to MailPoet as it is designed to work so well with WordPress. : )

      • Oh, my goodness… I’m so sorry that is so long!

        • But it was enjoyable! : )

          I can’t believe I didn’t know about Will’s new career…amazing what he’s created and achieved. The watch numbers on some of his videos is stunning. Wonderful what a passion and much hard work can bring.

          I’d like to expand upon something you mentioned, Dori…the using just an excerpt in a newsletter and requiring those who want to read in full to click to the website. I do with with W&S, of course, but haven’t done it with my newsletter because a few people said how much they like receiving the whole thing. These were W&S subscribers so they could compare.

          It’s much better for our businesses to have people on our websites so they might click around there and go further or purchase or….whatever. But I’ve hesitated to require it.

          I’d love to hear everyone’s opinion on that…

          • I did receive a few comments from people wishing to see the whole newsletter. However, the clicks over to my website have greatly increased, and I’ve begun getting comments on my posts. Joy! Not many, but oh, what a pleasant surprise when I do. It does seem, once someone clicks over to read the entire news post, they are so much more inclined to read other posts or take a gander at teas and apothecary goods. And it’s so nice just to write my post there at wp, and copy and paste in just one photo and a smidge of text at mailchimp and send it on it’s way. Feels rather ‘two birds with one stone-ish’. (I don’t like that saying either….) My voice evens feels more authentically me, less sales pitchy.

            Will’s commitment has just been amazing to me. In this case those OCD tendencies have served him well! : ) Yes, those watch numbers are incredible. I was trying to explain some of this to my mother…..!

  • So…I listened to the first video in the Newsletter Magic course and found it pretty straightfoward and familiar in the main, until the very last part…

    Why a newsletter?  What is important about having […]

    • Oh now this is interesting. I’ve wanted to do a newsletter for years but the real address issue always stopped me (PO Boxes are £300 over here!). And now with the RA, typing is one of my pain triggers so what I’ve done is started a verbal newsletter in the form of a podcast. I’m hoping it fills the same space because it’s all I can do. But I haven’t really thought of it as a platform for selling/informing…at least not yet. And from my research, a YouTube channel’s reach can be massive. If i could handle the editing, I’d start one.

      • Are you concerned about the address bit that appears at the bottom of the newsletter, Michelle? I use MailerLite as my provider and have evaded putting in my actual address…..

        Territory of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy <—- true story
        The Borderlands <— we live on the Canada/US border
        Ontario, Canada

        I'm pretty sure you can do that with any of the providers.

        I love the idea of the podcast newsletter….I think that has enormous appeal. xo

        • Thanks, Mel. I suppose I should have thought about not using a real address but all the forms say you have to be able to get mail at it and I’m paranoid. So. But it’s a moot point as typing isn’t getting easier. Podcast it is.

      • As mel said, you can get around the real address easily. There seems to be no checking up on it. I use “lark rise” which is what I would name our home if it didn’t already have a a historical name. And I use a nearby town, not mine.

        But I think a podcast sounds wonderful! And the best fit for your needs.

        I’ve been learning a lot about youtube in the last few days and have some realistic goals now. It won’t, in itself, be a moneymaker for me unless I get really popular, but I still feel it is the best fit for what I am interesting in doing now.

        Oh, and I found a super simple editing program (month long free trial and $9.99 after that) called Adobe Spark that you might look into if little films do appeal to you, michelle.

        • If you get picked up by the algorithm, you can get quite popular quite fast on YouTube, but that’s a headache in itself, I imagine. And thanks for the software recommendation – I have tried iMovie & DaVinci and both were far too confusing. Glad you found something simpler.

    • I don’t love writing newsletters either….I feel like it’s just one more intrusion into people’s lives and so have put this ridiculous amount of pressure on myself to be magnificent. :).

      But, as you say, without social media, one isn’t left with a huge amount of options.

      I think you should follow your distraction, Lesley…there’s a lot of wisdom in going where the joy is because it shows in whatever it is that you’re creating. 😉 xo

      • Oh, I’m definitely following my new crush, mel. : ) And it is the first time in a long while that I’ve felt joy in my creating. That’s how I knew it was a good thing.

        Your newsletters are magnificent, by the way…or at least deeply delightful with gorgeous photos.

        By the way, mel, do receive the personal emails I send? I don’t hear back from you usually and wonder if they are falling through a crack…

        • I just went scouting in the cobwebby places of my email and there you were….relegated to Spam…the horror!!! So I have your latest missive, but none before that…i imagine they were jettisoned into the ether without my ever having seen them. I really should check the spam more often — so sorry!!!!

          I’m thrilled that you’re following your crush…and excited to see the fruits of your labours 🙂 xoxo

    • Silent films on YouTube – this is ringing a little bell inside me. I did make one years ago and had a ball doing it, spent way too long on it but then apparently forgot all about it. I’m going to look into this again.

    • Quickly wanted to add that I’ve also thought longingly about sending newsletters through the snail mail. I used to love and adore writing letters back in the day. I know some people do this with their mailing list for a small joining fee to cover costs but I’m not sure of the logistics of it. I might sign up for some and see how it all works.

      • This is my secret wish too. I love, love, love the idea of real mail newsletters. Sylvia Linsteadt used to send out short stories and gifts she’d found on the land that way and I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever. But I know myself that I would struggle to keep up with doing them so I have never attempted it. Maybe a short season of doing it, like three letters in winter or something…or one every quarter would be doable.

        • mel replied 2 weeks ago

          I had a very short run of sending out short stories by mail, Tonia, lo these many years ago. It was three, I think, over the course of the summer….but even that felt like an immense strain on my resources – ha!. I would love to figure out a way to do it in a more sustainable fashion….a written newsletter would be the very best of all worlds as far as I can tell. 🙂

  • So…shall we do Newsletter Magic together? Slowly, slowly? Those of us who bought the course can watch the videos that go with the prompts and exercises, those who haven’t could do the journaling/thinking […]

    • I’ll follow along. Timing will be perfect for me, too.

    • I will happily follow along with the journaling/prompts portion…..there’s always an opportunity to learn new things. 😉

    • The newsletter course sounds very intriguing. I haven’t had much focus lately and I’m intrigued.

  • michelleswhite replied to the topic M’s Journal in the forum journals 4 weeks ago

    Lesley – slow! It’s taken me all of august and September and I’m still not done.

    Dori – there’s no trick I’ve found, I’m
    Just going through each file on each service and deleting what I don’t need. Nerve wracking but must be done.

  • “Being a beekeeper, I’ll add a thought about flowers attracting with color and scent. Flowers also attract with frequency or vibration. If they are a nectar producing bloom, they emit a different pitch when t […]

    • And in the way of things in recent years…I knew almost immediately after skimming some of Susannah’s prompts that I’ve moved beyond her way of pondering. Too many questions for me! But if there’s much you still need to suss out, you might like it.

      I do rather wonder if Susannah herself actually uses this approach, or if she is creating what she thinks others might want?

      Wondering if what this space would best provide is some accountability? Yarrow (Root Stem Bloom) is having a sale until the 21st and I wanted to support her so bought her newsletter course for only $28. I thought it was generous of her to let us use the RSB videos and she is one of only two women who I find interesting in their approach to business just now.

      And I remember Leanne (I believe?) mentioning wanting to work with her newsletter. I want to, as well, since it is my main source of reaching out these days…yet I still don’t send one out as often as I would like to.

      If a newsletter focus was something many of us would like to give some attention to, perhaps we could do Yarrow’s little course together? Those who can afford to buy it could do so (she explains her reason for the sale so beautifully here //yarrowdigital.com/2021/09/15/67-back-to-school-sale-30-off-everything-i-do/ )

      Those are my Saturday afternoon thoughts…

    • I purchased Yarrow’s newsletter course. She was so generous with us, I’d like to support her in a small way, too. This is actually so timely, since by next year I hope to better use my newsletter for more than just selling tea and herbal things.

      Lesley, you use MailPoet, was it easy to transition to? I want to finally leave MailChimp; they no longer play well with Shopify and were just sold to Intuit, and I can imagine the pressure soon to be levied to purchase additional products.

      • Yes, Dori, the switch was easy…tho’ I haven’t done it entirely for one of my mailing lists because that would mean changing out the breadcrumbs in the Peaceful Homeschooling Pages download that lead to the signup page. It seems too much for my brain right now. : )

        But MailPoet only works with WordPress, as far as I know. Do you use that for your blog/website?

        • dori replied 1 month ago

          Yes! : ) My website and blog are at WordPress now. I paste snippets of code in to bring products over from Shopify onto blog pages basically. A little bit of work on my end, but very doable, and it still allows me to use Shopify’s cart and checkout and tax calculations. I just didn’t feel up to learning woocommerce.

          I will buckle down and switch to MailPoet. Will be nice to send a newsletter direct from WP.

    • I did start Susannah’s free course but only got to day 2 before I was overwhelmed with the questions. The day 1 prompt was lovely though, discovering my business is pearly white and smells like pineapple!
      Anither person whose work has been helpful to me previously is Hannah Marcotti – she had a course called Community Grace and another called Write To Me which were all about connecting with our ideal people. She seems to have gone in another direction recently though.
      I’ve completed all my prompts from our recent workshop so I’ll definitely have a look at Yarrow’s course Lesley, thanks for sharing it.

      • Pearly white and pineapple…that’s evocative. I didn’t even do that prompt because I seem to be over prompts. : ) But I’ve done so many of them over the years, including the ideal client work that you mentioned with Hannah. Now I know none of that is right for me, tho’ when it was fun to explore it all, I certainly did!

        Your mention of Hannah sent me down a little rabbit hole. In the early days of the interwebs I met her often here and there, and signed up for a few of her email courses. She is a deep soul, for sure. It was interesting to look her up and see that she is in an earthy/homesteading season now. I think she might have been at Squam for the first art camp there that I also attended.

        • Oh Squam, I kept hearing about it way back when and wanting to go so badly!
          Hannah’s courses as I remember them weren’t so much about the ideal client but more about connections with the like-minded in general, on reflection a lot like what you’ve created with W&S. I’ll have to see if I can find some of my journaling from those prompts.
          I would really like to do as Mel mentioned and move to a new paradigm away from the focus on reaching a six figure income on the pain points of others.

    • mel replied 1 month ago

      I clearly missed the boat on the Susannah Conway thing…which is just as well as when it first appeared in my email letterbox, I knew it wasn’t for me. I only considered it again on your recommendation and so I’m quietly amused to see that it no longer resonated. I feel like my idea/thoughts/visions for whatever it is I’m doing — and I’m no longer certain that what I want is a ‘business’ in the traditional sense — simply does not jive with most of what exists out there. (Yarrow’s work being an exception.)

      Regarding your wondering about if Susannah operates in the same way that her course outlines, I find it very curious so observe that even those who are operating from a ‘heart-centered business’ philosophy, are still rooted very deeply in traditional, capitalist-driven business practices …. so perhaps she’s tailoring her offering to popular ‘pain-points’. I don’t know. I shouldn’t comment, I’m fairly jaded by the internet these days. Everyone’s a snake oil salesperson in my eyes right now! 😀

      Funds are snug in these parts so I wasn’t able to support Yarrow through her sale….though, again, I’m feeling that what I really need is time for reflection, rather than tangible direction. ;)…and my newsletter seems to something that I do fairly well with.

  • dori replied to the topic Dori's Teatime Journal in the forum journals 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    If I right click on the link and select open in a new window it works, too.

    That photo will likely live right on my desktop for some time to come. Makes me smile every time I look at it.

    Off to walk Luther and do a quick peek at the bees. Then I’ll spend a little more time on Roots|Stems|Blooms.

  • lesley replied to the topic Dori's Teatime Journal in the forum journals 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful! I had to delete everything in front of the www and then it worked.

  • mel's profile was updated 1 month, 3 weeks ago

  • Hello dear friends!

    I listened to this workshop again yesterday (most of it, while I designed our page) and wanted to share my experience of it and how I will be working with it myself. After jotting down […]

    • I love the page, thank you, Lesley!

      I’ll be popping in and out…I’m going to start watching a bit earlier as I have some family stuff to contend with in the middle of the session — will try and catch up with everyone at the co-working portion of the program 🙂

    • I am here, big cup of tea at hand, and am going to start watching. xo

    • I’m here, too…belatedly. It’s a day of pain, but I will stretch out and watch and listen, taking comfort in knowing we are together. Tea at hand, as well. : )

    • I’m here….just finished my tea ;)….so good to know we’re here together

    • I’m here, cats all fed, but I had my first jab yesterday and feeling pretty tired so I might go back to sleep for a little while. I’ll check in a bit later, but I’ll be here!

    • Trying to share a screenshot that can be helpful to refer to. Hopefully it won’t cut it off this time…

    • I managed to grab a few screenshots of her slides – very useful as examples.

    • Now I want apple/cherry crumble even though I haven’t even had breakfast yet!

    • Being a beekeeper, I’ll add a thought about flowers attracting with color and scent. Flowers also attract with frequency or vibration. If they are a nectar producing bloom, they emit a different pitch when their ‘nectaries’ are full. You’ll see bees buzzing here and there before they choose and settle on a blossom? They are listening or shopping, I suppose. A poorly fed and watered plant takes more time to refill blossoms with nectar….. When we are poorly fed (creatively, emotionally, financially….) we take longer to offer our gifts too.

      • I love that Dori, great analogy. How wonderful that you’re a bee keeper. I just added some lavender ti my patio pots and the bees adore it.

        • Goes to figure, that when we work more joyfully, the work we offer probably comes forth with a stronger and more attractive frequency, too. 🙂

          I love my little bees!

          • That is why I pulled all of the paper things out of my shop this summer, because I’ve lost the joy of them. When I do put some back next month, I want it to only be what I feel truly happy and connected with. So there won’t be much…for now.

        • I have planted so much lavender, thinking it would be enjoyed by my honeybees, but it is our native bumblebees who love it most. The blossoms of most lavenders are too deep for the shorter tongued honeybees. The lavender will remain for the natives, and I’ll just continue to plant other things for my ‘kept’ bees.

      • …or don’t feel like offering them at all. This is insightful, Dori.

      • I can’t even tell you how much i love this metaphor, Dori. That was my favourite takeaway from the workshop as well and you’ve just leveled it up even more .:) xo

      • Oh, this is magical. Thank you for sharing, Dori.

    • Ok, so…I feel ready to try to fit my notes and thoughts into the Root Stem Bloom page. A first draft, really. Because this is the sort of thing I’ve been taking first steps with for awhile…and will find more steps to take as I am in the midst of working.

      I can see us having many conversations in the future using the Root Stem Bloom metaphor. For now, my intention after I post this is to grasp as much as I can that is speaking to me through my notes (and that is still only in my head) and get it onto the page…as simply as possible.

      And I’ll create a post early next week, sharing my own insights and giving us all a chance to share anything we might like to. Will let you know when I am done.

    • I seem to have come to a stopping point…or my brain has. : ) My page is nicely filled and I am making small lists on the back with ideas for the still-unanswered bits on the front. I know I will keep this page next to me in my studio so that I can keep adding to it.

      As I said, I will share what has come to me early next week, and I hope you might feel like doing the same. I just reread all that was shared in our first post here and know there is much we can help each other with. It will be focusing in that will be the challenge, but I feel that we might find direction in the jottings we each made today.

      In the meantime, if you haven’t started a journal in our forums, you might like to…or start a conversation in the Writers Room there…or message me if you know what you would like us to focus on next…or simply go and enjoy your day or evening knowing you have some company on this joyous and sometimes tiring and confusing journey of creativity.

      I believe I will go outside with a small glass of organic rose wine and watch the hummingbirds and the hens, the monarchs and the dragonflies and savor the sunny coolness while we have it. So glad we could gather. xoxo

    • I had to leave about halfway through to tend to family things…..but I have a half page of jottings and will finish watching the video tomorrow and expand on what I already have. I must say that i absolutely love Yarrow’s approach to things…she’s definitely an excellent example of the way I wish to move through the online world. xo

      • So glad, mel! You might enjoy her free workbook Our bodies as anti-capitalist business mentors. I’ve only skimmed it, and it deserves the opposite of skimming, so I am saving it for the right moment. Tho’ I have a feeling my body has long been teaching me this…

        Free Workshops

    • I wasn’t able to watch with you all but managed to catch up today. I like some of the info, got overloaded with some of it, and basically need to spend a good long while with those questions and see what comes up. Take care all.

      • Oh yes, I have to let much of it wash over me and just reach out for treasures…what feels like a treasure to me. : ) So much online is like walking along a beach, isn’t it? We are all drawn to pick up different things…

    • I am finding the getting back to work (W&S, communicating with shop customers, beginning the Daybook designing) not meeting my energy for it all very well. Hope to have a followup post this Friday? So we may keep the conversations going…

  • dori replied to the topic Dori's Teatime Journal in the forum journals 1 month, 4 weeks ago

    Earlier this year, I shared with Chris my desire, actually my need, for a garden studio, a cozy and light-filled space, detached from the house…with a view to the woods and the morning sun on one side, and a view to my garden on the other. A low-tech place where I could make messes, plant seeds, make soaps, pour candles, dry herbs, write, set up…[Read more]

  • dori replied to the topic M’s Journal in the forum journals 2 months ago

    Oh, do let us know how you get along with streamlining photo-to-storage and simplifying cloud storage! I didn’t even know I had somehow activated OneDrive until I started receiving “memories”! Now I’m wondering where all I have photos! Don’t over do it. xo

  • Tho’ I am not a writer in the sense of the writers here, I pay some attention to what goes on in the publishing world as it is now…notice the few who are trying to do it differently…and those who luck out (tho’ is it luck?) and get discovered from their blogs and then get a book deal. I have many a book that seems to be published small or in a…[Read more]

  • lesley wrote a new post, next steps?, on the site Rosehip Business 2 months ago

    So…we’ve made a start here, we’ve gathered. Now I wonder in what direction we shall go?

    Honestly, I’m in a lot of pain today and can’t write all that I would like to. But I wanted to put something here, […]

    • dori replied 2 months ago

      Hey, “Anonymous” is me…Dori! I guess I didn’t get myself properly logged in.

      xoxo

      • Oh how I would love a long retreat from the world right now. I hear you Dori about the heartache and the weariness with all that is going on around us. I’ve just deactivated my Facebook account for a week – never done that before because it also removes my business page but I just cannot take in any more right now about Afghanistan and Covid and the hurricane and the ongoing suffering of women, children, animals – as you said, having so little control and all I can do about any of it is pray and hope.
        So I want to hide away and not know for a while, just painting and writing and gardening and reading and playing piano and being with loved ones. I guess that’s what retreat literally means. Not a great business model long term but so needed by the more sensitive among us right now.
        I hope you have a wonderful birthday Dori x

  • lesley replied to the topic M’s Journal in the forum journals 2 months ago

    Just finding this, Michelle, but so glad you are jumping in with both feet. : ) I loved reading about your uncluttering and systems thoughts. I am really looking forward to doing the same some during my break from W&S. How is this work going?

  • Well, in with both feet. I have spent the last year trying to get this autoimmune arthritis under control which sounds a lot more active than I’ve actually been. But the pain has ruled all and I’ve found that all my old systems are unsustainable given my new limitations. So that’s where I am right now: set up/figure out/streamline the new suppo…[Read more]

  • lesley posted an update in the group Conversation 2 months, 2 weeks ago

    And I did want to say that there are still some things not working properly. I never appear as here when I am, the comment excerpts look funky, and we’ve had so many internet problems I haven’t been commenting…but do keep on, dear women, we shall come together in a helpful way soon! xo

  • Leanne changed their profile picture 2 months, 2 weeks ago

  • Leanne's profile was updated 2 months, 2 weeks ago

  • lesley posted an update in the group Conversation 2 months, 3 weeks ago

    This place is what’s new! : )

  • Hello dear women and welcome to these rooms again! I wonder what you are hoping to find here? Honestly, I will tell you I am not exactly sure what I want to provide, but then, I am not exactly sure about much […]

    • Oh Lesley! I’m so glad I happened to be on my computer when your email invitation came through!

      I’m sorry to hear that your interest in stationery has waned…but can absolutely understand. These things ebb and flow and perhaps you’re simply moving into a different iteration of your creative work.

      It’s lovely to be back here again….and, hopefully, with a different perspective and more insights than the last go-around. Interestingly, looking back at my old journals, I see I’m struggling with much the same things — although, I’m happy to report that many of those struggles have found solutions…the struggle being more in the execution of those solutions. 🙂

      I’ve tried — repeatedly — to make friends with instagram and have finally, at long last (and with a scraped and bloody forehead :D), realized that it’s simply not for me and I won’t be participating any longer. I’ve kept my account because I do check in occasionally to visit with friends who I don’t have contact with elsewhere, and I belong to a group that has a bi-weekly ‘coffee chat’…but my days of contributing are over.

      I’m happy to report that I’ve settled into a good rhythm with my writing — I’ve set aside the notion that I could be one of those 6-books-a-year indie authors and have adopted a slow and gentle pace…..one of fluid deadlines and plenty of planned rests. I’ve discovered that my small-but-dedicated readership is quite content to wait for my next release and knowing that I’m serving such a delightful group is what keeps me plodding onwards when I feel like throwing my computer out of the window.

      I’m still shackled to Amazon, however — as without the wide reach of social media/advertising/shameless self-promotion — there’s really nowhere else for organic growth. I have a wonderful relationship with a shopkeeper in a nearby town who stocks my books and is so very supportive of local artists and creators and I hope that once the doom-cloud of The Virus recedes a bit, I can become more involved with that avenue of sales. Ultimately, I’d love to have my books printed locally, with earth-friendly paper etc but having costed that out initially, it’s just beyond my financial grasp at this point. I’ve compromised by having any print copies that I purchase/sell done through Ingram Spark, which isn’t Amazon. 😉

      Right…don’t want to clutter up the comments…there’s so much I could say, so much that I’ve sifted through and let go, especially in the last year or so. I’m definitely transitioning into my rosehip-ness as I find my tolerance for hustle culture/capitalist/consumerist ideas and methods to be reduced to less-than-zero. 🙂

      I look forward to hearing/seeing what everyone is up to. I would definitely love to take part in co-working sessions. etc — I find that sort of thing very motivating. xo

    • I am so happy to be back here, and am truly looking forward to writing in my journal again. There is something about writing down thoughts and goals, and sharing them safely with others, that can keep one a little more accountable. To write goals down is going to require some soul searching on my part, I fear.

      I’m still struggling to transition Joyful Alchemy to a more seasonally focused and earth friendly endeavor. It’s taking longer than I had envisioned, in part because I have a terrible time saying “no” to long-time customers. I’ve got to get over that. I’ve made some progress in decreasing my stocked inventory of teas this year, not only the variety, but also the quantity. I must stay the course, because I’m desperate for more space and peace in my tiny studio. It’s a total jumble!

      There are two things I so want to do next year. I want to write more in my blog. I have this burning desire to share my love for nature and what is around me in my part of the world with others. We desperately need people to fall in love with nature again, don’t you think? So, I want to write about what is growing/happening in my garden, fields and forest. I’d like to write posts about the herbs that I may be harvesting while they are in season, and give simple tips on use. Nothing deep or too scientific, just lovely, easy ways to weave such things into one’s life. There’s just so much beauty, and it is feeling so threatened!

      And next year, I hope to finally fine-tune my teas, herbs, apothecary goods and anything else I may want to play with into small collections loosely based on the Celtic Wheel of the Year and the seasons. I want to follow my heart, do what brings me joy, produce a limited-quantity, make things only available for about an 8 week window. I already do this to some degree, but now I’m going to get quite disciplined about it.

      Oh, I’ve got to put some effort into rebuilding my mailing list, and nudging my FB followers to my blog. I’m really quite peeved with FB. Not quite ready to cut ties with Instagram though.

      • Dori, the blog you describe writing is exactly the kind of thing I like to follow! And your Celtic tea series, that’s just up my alley. An herbalist I have worked with and am friendly with sends out thoughtful seasonal emails and I actually really look forward to reading them and always open them – as well she puts seasonal offerings in her shop and I love the in-the-moment/season spirit of this.

        Going forward I’ll be interested in hearing more about building a mailing list. I’m feeling very allergic to social media lately.

    • My boyfriend and are business partners and run Shoalwater Pottery, a full-time pottery business. We have one half-time employee. We do direct sales at weekend farmer’s markets and craft shows, wholesale through gift shops, and limited online sales through Etsy.

      Hope to Do…kind of a lot right now. That’s why I’m here though. I’m pretty burnt out so a lot of my issues stem around that at the moment. I would like to say though, that I’m really grateful to be doing what I do, I love my lifestyle, and feel that if I make some adjustments I can get a good balance going for us. Thanks ahead of time if you read all this and I totally welcome input. Also I look forward to seeing if any of us have crossover issues because I’d love to hear how you’re dealing with similar things.

      1. Establish some presence for customers that is not fb or ig…is that even possible? It honestly may not be for me. I have literally been ignoring my social media except every couple weeks I force myself to handle whatever messages come in. Yeah, I know, very professional, but I just can’t bring myself to post anything. I’m naturally a very private person and I’ve been trying to play by all the rules to be successful in this day and age, but man, I hate sharing, managing comments, exhausting myself with everyone else’s feeds. Work isn’t so bad privacy-wise, but the thought of posting then having to reply to all the inevitable comments and single order requests…I just can’t even right now. It’s a dependable way for people to easily reach out and certainly folks these days expect it, we get a lot of local love this way. Maybe I should have my employee largely manage the business social medias? I just don’t know how to evaluate their value to know if it’s even worth it.

      2. The other thing I’m struggling with is more personal. I’m struggling with holding my space with my employee. I’m so accustomed to being in my studio zone with Aaron, I’m completely myself. But having a person around…I want to be her friend but as a sensitive person I find myself drowning in her emotional field. We’ve been friendly acquaintances for several years and I give her space after work and sometimes during to listen and advise regarding her journey & issues. I want to be a good friend but it’s becoming exhausting for me and I don’t look forward to being in the studio. Maybe if I just listen and stop trying to advise? Also, I think I try to tone myself way down when I’m around her at work so then I get totally exhausted by my own self-conscious “company/on” behavior which at this point feels like it’s all the time. I just began reading up on hsp and empaths and doing some work around that on my end.

      3. Work Life Balance. 4 days of studio work with employee (plus onsite babysitter plus 4-8 kids depending on the sitter) and 2 days of constant interaction at shows. I’m grateful for our business growth but at this point I’m constantly exhausted. I don’t work out. I don’t meditate. I barely walk the dog, do personal projects, garden, cook, or have time to read, write, or think (read: live). Aaron and I aren’t managing much couple time together. I’m constantly tired. I do eat well and I do go for short walks in nature often. I feel like if I were just more organized with my time I could squeeze in more fulfilling moments but it’s hard when I’m so tired all the time.

      I’m also a Girl Scout leader! I spend way too much side time managing that whole situation, heheh. Right now the whole troop shows up here once a week and I’m running all the curriculum. Which is fine…but hoping my personal load will lessen a little as I move into the school year with two willing assistant-leaders by my side.
      Kandice

    • It’s been so rewarding reading these introductions as I relate to so much of what you’re all expressing. Burnout – tick, wanting more garden, forests and fields – tick, more writing time without the pressure of churning out words to a deadline – tick, struggling to do things differently and then losing interest – tick.
      I operate a part-time psychology and art therapy practice from home – a lovely room with a separate entrance looking out over the front garden. My 20 years ago self would have been thrilled to know this is what I do now, but this current self feels so ungrateful – I no longer have to leave the house to get to work, I no longer have to share an office, I no longer work for someone else, I am in demand, I can take time off when I want – yet I am so burnt out and just over it all.
      So I ventured into online work a while back, running a few courses and then setting up a membership site so we could have forums away from FB. But the time and energy it required of me to consistently respond to everyone felt like so much more burn out.
      From very early in life I knew I was a writer and an artist and that has never changed, but for various reasons I followed the route of amplifying the voices of others at the expense of my own. I realise I’ve spent my life listening and supporting others to the point that my own tank is empty.
      So three years ago I started formally studying art and writing my memoir. I am in the process of navigating the transition from therapist to creative but like Dori, it’s so hard to say no to existing clients. So I am overwhelmed with both the new and the old right now with no clear path through the chaos.
      Instagram seemed like a great place to express my creative self but I have vulnerability hangovers whenever I do and end up reverting to posting photos of my cats and garden instead. I have 13k followers on FB and 1500 on a mailing list, all of whom I mostly ignore.
      I’ve had endless business coaching so it’s not like I don’t know what to do but finding a way that feels authentic yet gentle and safe is a big challenge.
      All this to say I am so happy to be here with you all and know that I am not alone in all this! Thank you Lesley for this space.

    • Hrm. Well, I’m a disabled writer with stories that need to find their audience (and by need I mean soul-level imperative, I can’t describe the push there, it’s intense) who has done the search for literary agents for a few years before hitting a health wall (newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis) and hasn’t done anything since. I have a blog 2 people reliably read and am frustrated to the point of tears with Instagram (because no matter what I do or when I post, it’s the algorithm that determines my reach, and I’m not able to play by its rules… whatever they are). My books are good, every literary agent who gave me feedback confirmed that much, at least. But unless traditional publishing has a radical change of heart (and lets me in), I’m not sure I can or want to do it. And unless I can self publish in a way that makes sense to me (not Amazon, not vanity publishing, not having 500 books sitting in my tiny flat waiting for an audience to show up), that’s not going to work either. But what I DO want is:

      – a way to get my stories out to their audience that doesn’t bleed me dry* in the process (* that includes social media, book tours, stressful deadlines, using Amazon, etc). There has to be a way, even if I have to invent it.

      – a way to build a community around my work. I have been thinking about Patreon, but without an audience, it seems pointlessly preemptive.

      – a way to work that isn’t so hard and driven. I want time to really let these stories form. And I need rest. I only know how to work the societally acceptable way and that way makes me sick. And miserable. And what’s wrong with enjoying life while you do your soul’s deepest work? Storytelling is my calling and I can’t and won’t deny that any more.

      I don’t even think this makes sense and I’m not sure how to do any of that. But just being around people working on this gentler level will help, I’m sure. So thank you Lesley, for letting me in this space.

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