After nearly a decade, I’ve decided to turn Living the Mess into a free Substack newsletter. This will allow me to pitch ‘posts’ as articles to mindfulness magazines and, ideally, to build a larger readership so that I can eventually write an LTM book (or five). If you already subscribe to LTM, you don’t need to do anything; you’ll begin receiving the newsletter automatically.
Since 2010, I’ve been accumulating notes for Living the Mess, and it’s been a WordPress blog for almost a decade. Several people have asked whether Living the Mess will become a book. The answer is: I hope so, and that’s my intention. In the publishing world, nonfiction writers are required to have a “platform,” that is, a built-in readership before a publisher agrees to invest in a given book and author.
Coming back into the world after the solitary ‘forest years’
When I began this blog, I had nothing but time to create deep dive posts (and I really enjoy writing those). I was able to go deep and be vulnerable because there was nothing else on my plate. As you can guess, though, it’s kind of hard to survive in a capitalist culture without work that generates income.
At the end of 2020, I gave myself two years to stabilize my income and recover from launching my first book. Today, my work as an editor is picking up, and while I love that, it also takes up a lot of time and mental energy. My work as a nonfiction editor, though, is also part of my practice: Supporting clients, seeing the potential in their work and giving both my fullest attention.
In early 2022, my agent told me to go ahead and build a platform for LTM. For a month or so, I went back to my old, ambitious ways—I know how to make things happen. Then I realized I was doing exactly what I used to do in the Before Days. More subtly, perhaps, but ego-driven nonetheless. LTM is all about letting life lead and learning how to do that. I couldn’t use old techniques that completely contradict a) the content on my site, and b) what I need for well-being and inner peace
The core messages of Living the Mess are already on this site—they have been since 2014—and this blog will remain standing so I can link to those posts. However, I won’t be adding new posts, at least not many.
Building a platform through newsletters and articles
I’ve decided that instead of writing deep-dive blog posts, which a few hundred people might see, it’s a better strategy to pitch those ‘posts’ as articles to outlets with their own audiences, ideally those who would benefit from the topics I write about. Nonfiction authors, take note: This is one of the big drawbacks of using a blog to build a platform: How will people find you (or me)?
Therefore, starting in 2023 (and possibly earlier), Living the Mess will become a free Substack newsletter, rather than a WordPress blog. I find Substack so much easier than either WordPress or MailChimp. I anticipate being able to write more conversationally—and more importantly, with greater frequency (!)—which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll also be able to answer reader questions, offer practices and insights that might not warrant a full blog post/article, and keep you posted on podcasts, etc.
Questions for you
Which brings me to some questions:
- What national outlets do you read? (Online or print, any country)
- What podcasts do you listen to?
- If you have editorial/booking contacts at any podcast or media outlet that might welcome me, would you be willing to recommend me?
If you are already subscribed to Living the Mess, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll automatically begin receiving LTM newsletters via Substack. If you don’t want to receive the newsletters, you’re welcome to unsubscribe.
Building a platform relies heavily on readers sharing posts or newsletters on social media. If you know anyone who would like Living the Mess, please share the newsletter with them—or even better, with your social media communities.
Every day is a new chapter
Thos of you who have been readers for several years know that I’ve gone through a slew of “new chapters” for LTM. Each time, I feel good about the shift, and each time, Life has thrown a curve ball (LOL). So we’ll see what happens. I have set my intentions; I have TONS of material (350K words of notes in Scrivener), and, well, we shall see.
All this change is a good metaphor. We tend to think that whoever we are now is who we’ll always be. We’re constantly changing, though—even moment to moment. And often, Life has other plans for us. Ultimately, Living the Mess is about letting life lead, so really, it’s up to Life to show me how this will unfold. That said, I—and you, and all of us—are an inextricable part of Life. It can’t work through us without us taking action.
I’m very excited about this newest chapter, and I hope you will be, too.
If you have any requests, questions or recommendations for podcast/media outlets, please share in the comments.
Photo Credit: Erda Estramera via Unsplash
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