One Year

Hey y’all,

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately. More specifically, my writing and what I’m doing with it. Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of when I purchased the domain for my blog Humidity And Hope. As I say in the first link below, over the last year…

“I have published 216 posts containing over 175,000 words. I’m proud of all of them. Not because it’s the best writing I’ve ever done, but because it was all real. There was no agenda behind any of it other than to say, ‘Here I am. This is what I do and how I want to live. You might be interested.’ The last 12 months of publishing here have been the source of the most genuine writing I have ever done.

I feel like I have the rhythm down now – 1-3 posts a week is pretty sustainable for me. But does it need to be more focused? More detailed? And most importantly, what are my goals?

A thing that confuses me a bit is that my readership seems to be both devoted and stagnant. These emails have an extremely high open rate. The number of subscribers also hasn’t grown by any appreciable number in more than 4 months. I seem to have developed a niche as the sort of writer people love to read but apparently have no desire to tell anyone else about.

But before I let that bother me, I have to ask myself why that matters to me, and do I want to figure out how to change it? Every internet publisher knows that outrage and super-cute are the two categories that always get shared. I am unlikely to stoke your outrage in a story about feeling love via a pan of biscuits. And I don’t really want to write feel-good stories that mask the pain that we really feel. I try to acknowledge the realities and show that those realities don’t tell the whole story. I try to write about hope and where we can find it.

Of course, none of this matters if I don’t care who reads my stuff. I can just type and hit publish. But I do care. Not out of vanity or the desire for fame and glory, but because, at the end of the day, I write because I want to be understood. I want people to read my stuff and say, “I feel that way too. I thought I was the only one. I feel less alone in the world now.”

All of this is to say thank you for reading my stuff over the last year. I’m still figuring out what I’m trying to do here. And I’m deeply grateful for all the ways you support my work, from reading it to sharing it, especially to those of you who financially partner with me.

Y’all are the best.

Things I wrote this week

One Year: Yesterday was my 1-year blogaversary!

The Whole Story: More on curation and creepy people

Experience: I used to believe in talent. These days, I’m not sure I do.

Other things:

As I have said before, I’m a sucker for a list of “hacks” or things people learned, collected wisdom, etc. Like this list of 100 Rules To Live By from Dru Riley I just found. I’ve begun collecting them and will be putting them on this page. Sort of a list of lists. How meta!

Also, I’ve been invited to trial a new newsletter publishing platform. To do this, I’m setting up a secret, short-term newsletter to put it through its paces. The project will be around six weeks long, and will probably have 4-6 emails in total. If you want to be part of the trial audience, you can sign up here.

And related to my letter a few weeks ago about how machines are made more complicated than they need be, I lament this article about the death of the stickshift.

Thank you for reading. This website is free and ad-free because of the support of my readers. Or, if you want to say thanks for this post, you can just buy me a cup of coffee.

2 Comments

  1. Sending prayers to Jackson (I lived in Starkville long ago). And contemplating your technology words. It’s a brave new world and I am not keeping up. I turned 70 this year, my memoir of family caregiving is coming out next month, and I have resisted the learning curve of internet outlets I could use to get the word out because I don’t want to learn new stuff, preferring to stick with what I know (i.e. FB and website). Practicing would expand my brain, you are right. I resist, resist, resist. I will reconsider. Maybe. (P.S. I’m a former colleague of your good friend, Brian A.)

    • Hey Gretchen! So good to hear from you. I don’t need to use all the outlets – I just want to understand and be aware of them. Like, my 71-year-old mother can’t send a picture via text message and is afraid to try. I don’t need to understand quantum theory, or microbiology, but if a significant portion of the culture uses a thing, I want to at least understand it.

      Thanks for the prayers, and any friend of Brian’s can’t help but be good people.

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