I used to think I should make time for "self care" the way the experts said it should be done.
You know the sort of thing; wake up and do three A4 pages of unconscious flow writing, followed by yoga, followed by journaling, followed by an avocado enema, fully certified vegan and organic, of course. . . you get the picture.
t's self care, they said. You have to make time for you. It's so important. And if you really want to get it right (because apparently you can get self care wrong....?!) you should subscribe to my mailing list.
I'll give you the insights no one else gets.
I'll write you love letters.
I'll give you the key to unlock your purpose in life. Like, your real purpose. You'll never know the reason you were born unless you subscribe to my mailing list and follow my (downward spiral) processes which start with a generous freebie and end with you giving me the rights to your life story and the soul of your firstborn child in exchange for the only product out there that actually . . . you know . . . works. My product.
Like a (semi*) dedicated Padawan I subscribed.
(*semi-dedicated Padawan because while it all sounded very interesting, finding much that I could be bothered with was a different story. Self care does matter, but swapping a kidney for the "magic formula to doing it right" can go suck a bag of dicks.)
And it started.
The daily emails.
Because after all, I am only the puny brainless Grasshopper and they are The Way, (the only way, no really, you'll never be successful/healthy/a real grown up/ a self-cared-for-zen-as-fuck-guru-juicy-wild-woman unless you buy my services for a mere $5000 start up fee and then a $3000/month follow up subscription which gets you a group video-call from me at some inconvenient hour while I am in my pajamas sitting on the toilet because it's the only room in my house with a lock on it and what you don't know is I have 5 children under 7 and you're going to put them all through university for me.)
Say it with me . . . BLUUUUUUUURRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH.
It didn't take me long to banish them from my inbox . . . or so I thought. The trouble was, part of that downward spiral was signing up to multiple different emails from the same "expert.". You sign up to start with and they give you the link to their free e-book about a subject you find mildly interesting and halfway through reading it there's a pop up that says there's way more content in the actual enewsletter and the ebook was just a taster actually, so you sign up to that. Then you click a link at the end of the ebook that takes you to the website for some free whateverthefuck and you have to sign up again to get that and so on and on.
I unsubscribed from one 4 different times. And the worst part? I'm still sporadically getting emails from them from a fifth list I must have signed up for which only sends emails once every few months. In other words, not enough to be in my face every day, sometimes twice a day, but just enough to remind me that there's something amazing that only they can do for me and just infrequently enough that I can't be bothered filling out the fifteen forms it takes to unsubscribe just right then because I need to take action on my actionable emails so. . .
One of them actually, with out a word of a lie, said in the subject line, "You're Going To Fail."
Get out of my muthafucking inbox.
So I've always held back from creating a mailing list for Figments & Glimpses.
I did have one, a couple of years ago, and I sent out about five emails over a period of about 30 months because it just felt . . . yuck.
Eventually I deleted the list and closed the email automation account.
I relied on Facebook after that.
I'm just going to let the absurdity of that sentence sink in for a minute. The algorithms and the fake news. The limited reach, even though I worked really hard at my end, my special people just weren't seeing my efforts. Like, not seeing my posts, page or promotions. At all. Unless I paid, and even then they didn't show all my people. And meanwhile out in the real world the reputation of Facebook sank lower and lower, with privacy breaches and political hoo-har and gawd knows what.
Until I eventually wondered," What would I do if Facebook wasn't there?"
As a small independent artist trying to make a go of it, the idea of losing my ability to reach anyone at all kicked off a chain reaction of realisation.
Because, that has already happened.
Facebook is limiting me so much that I no longer reach my special people. It just did such a good job of being a placebo that I didn't realise.
And Instagram? It really seems like it's become the same Facebook pig, just in different lipstick.
Quite suddenly, I feel differently about running an email subscription for my special people. Because knowing that there are actual people at the other end, actual breathing, thinking people who are at the very least going to receive my emails really makes me feel that they are worth it. You are worth it. You are worth the effort, because you choose to be there. You choose to sign up, and then you are guaranteed to receive the information, specials, freebies, laughs and triumphs from me. You don't have to open them, that's a choice too. But it's right there in your inbox, not hidden by a perverse algorithm designed to make me pay for your interest, even though by liking my page you offered that interest for free. I'm not sure which one of us is being screwed the hardest by those algorithms. Maybe both of us.
And so, finally, I've opened an account with Mailchimp. I have a sign up button on my Facebook page (if you ever go there) and another pops up on the website homepage when you first arrive. I'll no doubt insert a couple more around the place in the next few weeks. I'd love it if you signed up; that'd make my day. You can't see it, but I do a happy dance every time someone does sign up.
What I really want to achieve with this is to connect my art with my people. It will become my primary platform for all the really good stuff I have to share. Instead of feeling obligated to share daily on social media, to generate multitudes of fluff content (which I can never do and Facebook scolds me regularly because I haven't posted - like it shows my posts to people anyway!), it will mean I can share directly with you, my special and important people, when I have something shareworthy, of the quality you deserve, whether it be news, special offers, freebies, stories, events or all of the above. There will be opportunities to buy things, but that's not the primary reason for the email. There will be invitations to workshops, but that's not the primary reason for the email. There may be times when I am busy doing lots of things and have lots to tell you, show you and invite you to, but frequency is not the primary reason for the email. In fact, sharing sweet, infrequent moments chock-full of awesome value with you via email seems far more attractive. If you don't hear from me for a while, don't worry - I am collecting stories and special shiny things to share with you.
The primary reason for the email is to connect with you. Just to connect.
I've got faith that the right people will find my email subscription. I'm not concerned about the size of the list. I don't need validation from likes or follows. What I want to make sure is that the quality of the content matches the quality of the people on the list. The special people who choose to be there. My special people. I'd love you to be one of them.