Discover more from Monday Monday
Hiding my best writing
Where to put our work
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Last week I drew some parallels on my life and the lives of the characters on Sex And The City. I did my best writing yet, about attending my ex husband’s wedding, and I made it for my paid subscribers only. Many people said they cried when they read it, told me it was the best thing I’ve written, and that it changed the way they look at love.
I am always thinking about where to put my work. It is what shapes the way I create offerings, decide when to start things, and have a reason to finish them. Podcasts, radio shows, books, classes, public spaces, zines, performances, newsletters, and workshops have all been a part of my public practice. I consistently bring my ideas and my writing here - which sometimes leaves me to wonder, what is left to put in a book? How and when will a book ever exist again? What essays are for the book and what essays are for this space? How is the book any different? Shall I pull a Carrie Bradshaw and just make a book of these essays?
Why though, would I hide my best writing behind a paywall and not make it for everyone? Substack themselves in one of their “how to” articles says not to do this. To share your best writing for free so all of the people can access it. This is what pulls the people in to your newsletter ecosystem and helps them decide to become paying subscribers. I do believe in this in many ways, but what about when there are enough people in the ecosystem and it is time to write more specifically about something and you want to see people engage in a new and more committed way? It also brings me to the question : How much is enough? How many subscribers is enough? How many paid subscribers is enough? How much money is enough? I learn a lot from Bear Hebert andaround this and love to always be asking the what is enough question.
I don’t know that I agree with the idea to keep your best writing free. Or that I necessarily even mean to save my best writing for behind the paywall as much as I put my most vulnerable writing behind the paywall, which perhaps is a sign that when you shed your skin in front of other people that makes for good writing.
I think that the rise of the “content creator” as a business model bled into the lives of artists and writers in a way that hasn’t suited us on our quest to earn money for our work. If a friend had a show of her paintings she would never pick the best one and say - this one is for free but all the other ones cost money. Of course a painting is a one of a kind piece and not a replicable digital copy of writing so the comparison may be void before it hits this page. But I do see us undervaluing our work when we could be adding value to it. Don’t be afraid to turn on paid subscriptions. Give it a try. Throw some things at the wall and see what sticks.
I have found this serves me in two ways. It encourages free subscribers to upgrade - which is how I pay my mortgage and pay for my car and eat. It is how I buy paintings my friends make in their painting shows and how I redistribute my income and how I take classes that nurture my student self. It makes me a working writer. It creates a job economy that is otherwise hard to come by. It creates an exchange that feels good and exciting to me when someone subscribes and pays to read my writing.
The other thing it does is protect my most precious sentiments from a sometimes harsh public. The digital realm can be a dry one, unforgiving at times, your greatest mistakes and feelings smeared out in front of everyone to see. I am beginning to count this as more of a blessing than a curse, may it be a place for play and trust with readers. Not to agree with everything I say, but to engage in a banter and a questioning that comes from a place of mutual exchange and reverence to the whole : that we may be creating a world of more abundance, peace, and aliveness. This can mean disagreeing, celebrating, or otherwise not even caring what someone else has to say. While many newsletters have no comments or leave the comments open to all subscribers, I have found that the smaller group of paid subscribers engaging with each other leaves a charm I don’t find other places on the internet.
My newsletter has been free since 2012, weekly since 2017, and for now I plan to keep it this way. The more I earn the more I try to have clear goals of abundance. My every day needs are met, I am renegotiating how I view my debt, so what more do I want? I create new goals of abundance, new things to direct my choices around. New ways to embrace the wideness of my wingspan of feeling.
One is a Monday Monday Writer’s Grant. My debt feels a bit too unmanageable to make it happen in this moment, but the question of enoughness is pushed by this. How can I have so much that it flows back in to other writers and their practice? How can I have enough to build a structure on my property to host residents? Are canvas tents on platforms enough? Who in Northern Michigan is selling a camper (really, who is? Are you?)
How can I re-frame income generating as community generating?
What I know is that it can be ever evolving, and my newsletter has always been a place of evolution. It is where I come to sprout new branches and invite you to climb on them. Sometimes flimsy but always next to a sturdier one to leap to when the time is right. To bring my writing here is to bring my whole self, one I am learning to like more and more. Through the act of writing every week I see the parts of me that never change, and instead of greeting that with a frustration, I’ve begun to laugh and say - why yes! This really is just me.
Writing is why I stay awake. It is why I come alive when my alarm goes off. It is where I turn to when it seems there is no rock left unturned. The beaches of Lake Michigan show me there is always another rock, another surprise beneath the waves. Thank you for reading, thank you for creating your own newsletters, thank you for writing, thank you for making your work privately, thank you for sharing it when you’re ready.
It is this gratitude that I extend to you, that I also extend back to myself. It is a miracle to be alive, to take the call of writer. To take the call to be anything, especially when we may be outgrowing generations of smallness.
May you surrender to what is already true
May you risk shedding your skin
May you be tethered to the unknown
May the divine reward you generously
It feels important to talk about the shape of the offering that is QUILT CLASS and why it is so fun and special. A Quilt is Something Human is a non scalable space where no more than 40 students gather together to engage in a month long container of research and questioning - looking at improvisation as a mode of anti perfectionism. Every class is different because I teach whatever it is that is closest to my own heart and awareness in this season.
Together with our shared skill of piece making we find ways to make blankets, which is really a way to unlearn urgency and find peace in mistake making.
This is an art class first and foremost, a space for getting to know strangers, and a classroom to tend to learning more about your own personal textile history.
We will dig in to the complicated and beautiful history of quilts, learn to appliqué shapes, make curves, add quilt blocks to clothes, mutual aid and community quilt projects, and more!
Early bird discount ENDS TOMORROW
Use code EARLYBIRD for 10% off
⭐ → Saturdays 9am PT / 12pm ET: October 7, 14, 21, 28
OR → Tuesdays 7am PT / 10am ET: October 10, 17, 24, 31
ALL YOU NEED TO DO BETWEEN NOW AND THEN IS FIGURE OUT HOW TO THREAD A SEWING MACHINE AND SEW A LINE
More information on why there are nine tuition-free scholarships for BIPOC students on the sales page, three month payment plans for all students means your first payment is only $112 - I am here for any and all questions, feedback, things you want to engage with! Respond to this newsletter and I’ll be in touch :)
Monday Monday is a reader-supported publication. I’d love if you considered becoming a paid subscriber today
I am looking forward to taking the week OFF OF WORK! It’s true, I won’t even bring my computer to the east coast this week. Tomorrow I am guest teaching a dance composition class at Smith College and then I’ll be at the Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation with my dance mentors The Architects. I feel so grateful to be able to step away from my computer, social media, and email to be in a space of movement research with my favorite people on Earth.