Since 2012, I’ve had a public place to write, usually some kind of blog. This is my third, each one serving a purpose before coming to a natural end, and something new taking its place.
The first was allchangeforpaps – my 2012 photo-a-day diary. This was the year I became single for the first time as an adult, and I wanted something to record how it went. I haven’t read any of these back in years. I suspect I’d probably cringe a bit if I did, at both my writing and what I got up to. I remember there were a lot of nights out and probably a lot of hangover or running posts. But I loved writing it; it got me into the habit of writing (and being present) every day and it was extremely cathartic to get my thoughts out during a time of real upheaval. I have no shame in any part of past me, I did my best with what I had at the time.
The second was Rise and Shine, Paps. I set this one up for after allchangeforpaps, because the format didn’t work any more and I wanted to carry on writing. I remember struggling without the focus of a daily picture to wrap my words around, feeling like I was floating around without an anchor and not knowing what to write about. It ended up being my travel journal after I quit my job and went travelling, and once I got back, a place for random thoughts. I did another photo-a-day-in 2016, but by then I had less enthusiasm and it didn’t seem as novel; rather, it felt like a bit of a chore. Once that finished, yet again, I felt like there was no focus or structure, and that the blog had had its day.
I set up The Paps Life, and started by writing about some of my adventures, but deep down I knew I didn’t really want to have a travel blog, or an adventure blog, or write posts on How to do XYZ. Those posts were hard to write and just didn’t sit right with me for a personal blog. I realised what I wanted were writing projects. Fun things with a start and end date, like photo-a-day. Projects where I had a focus, or a topic, but where I could play and get creative.
I’ve done a few of those now over the last few years, and I’ve 100% loved doing them. What surprised (and pleased) me is that other people seem to love them too. I never really expect anyone to read what I write, as it’s a bit cliche but I really do write my blogs for me. These last few writing projects though, have been enjoyed by others, and I’m stoked with some of the feedback I’ve got.
‘I’ve loved reading them, please write more.’ ‘You should write more.’ ‘When’s the next one coming out?’
The challenge is time. I’d LOVE nothing more than to spend more of my time writing, but there’s only so many hours in the day. For me to spend more of my time writing, I need to “work” less (e.g. less of the day job). Work is in inverted commas, because writing is work. It’s just a different type of work to what I do in my day job.
So if I’m working less, I need to replace that income with something. ‘Get paid to write!’ people say. So that’s exactly what I’m going to try and do. My new project is a Substack newsletter.
Substack lets independent writers and podcasters publish directly to their audience and get paid through subscriptions
I’ve recently come across Substack through Coasting, Elise Downing’s newsletter. Something lit a lightbulb for me when she talked about valuing writing and creative time. Previously, I’ve never thought that people would, or should, pay for my writing. But why? We pay for entertainment subscriptions, music, and books, why not publications or writing? So many things are expected for free these days, but if it takes time and skill to create, how else is that person supposed to pay their bills and eat and spend the time creating stuff? After all, you can’t live on exposure. And everyone hates ads, right? If you really value what someone has to offer, then perhaps it’s worth paying for.
Over the last couple of years, through burnout and turning 40, I’ve had a strong case of deja vu. When I turned 30, I realised I was on autopilot through life, like on a conveyor belt. Trundling along going along with what life should look like, making very few actual active decisions. I’ve spent the last ten years being way more active in my life choices, and trying to cultivate the life I want. I feel like I’ve jumped off the belt, fell halfway back on, and right now I feel like I’m hanging off it, one leg trailing along the floor; not quite on, but not quite off.
My Substack newsletter is called Off The Conveyor Belt. I’m quite tired of hanging on the belt still, and reckon now’s the time to take the leap and let go. I’m going to share my stories of what that letting go looks like. It’s not me chatting about my life; I want to make some big, bold, choices in the months to come and write about them.
Some newsletters will be free, but some you’ll only be able to read if you have a paid subscription (around the price of a coffee or two every month). It’s one step towards freeing up that time, one step towards me getting off the conveyor belt and really living the life I want.
I’d love for you to come and join me, and would massively appreciate the support. If you subscribe (free or paid) the newsletter will be sent directly to your inbox.
I’ll still keep the The Paps Life, but for the time being I’ll be focusing on Off The Conveyor Belt, so there won’t be any new content on here for a bit.
Thank you for supporting my work ❤