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This and That...
and a whole lot of nothing!
When I moved my email marketing over to Substack almost three months ago it felt like a leap in the dark. I had no idea what to expect or whether anyone would join me on a new platform or if it would even last, but I knew that I was tired of sending out a standard newsletter every couple of weeks, constantly promoting and advertising my podcast and courses, and that something had to change. And although I have been writing occasional blog posts via my website over the past two years, I often forgot to do it and when I did there was never much engagement unless I remembered to promote it in my newsletter and then I was back in what felt like a vicious circle. But I enjoy writing and for years had written a successful blog so intuitively Substack felt like the place to be. Part newsletter, part blog it has given me the freedom to write about all sorts of topics that interest me (and hopefully interest you too.)
The Way Home, acrylic and collage on canvas
It has given me a consistent and regular schedule, it is easy and intuitive to use, I feel accountable, and it feels like it has given me ownership of what I write. Open rates are high and there is engagement both on the platform and via email. I am enjoying writing again, so all is good.
Until this week, when I realised, I hadn’t made my usual notes or rough draft and Sunday was looming large. It’s not that I have run out of things to write about… you should see my list! But it has been one of those weeks when life has taken over and I’m completely overwhelmed and depleted, which is a sad state of affairs just three weeks after a holiday. There have been hospital visits and appointments with my elderly Mum that have left me tired and frustrated instead of feeling hopeful that we might access some form of help and support to enable her to continue to live independently. The diagnosis of ‘mild cognitive impairment’ falls a long way short of describing our day to day reality of forgetting things, losing things, angry outbursts and reinventing her own reality. When the psychiatrist asked how long ago my dad had died, Mum’s response was “ages ago but we were separated when he died”. He died eleven years ago, at home with me and Mum there.
Posy, Stitched collage
She is confused by what is happening and so am I, but it feels like we are on our own. We were sent off with the advice that maybe things would improve if I could enable Mum more perhaps by letting her manage her own financial affairs, something I only took over doing because she could no longer manage. I don’t want to do it believe me… it’s hard enough managing my own affairs. Another suggestion was that maybe I should let het write her own weekly shopping list, something that I suggest to her every week and every week she fails to do it because she forgets. The last time she remembered there were just four items on the list for all her weekly meals and needs. Maybe I should let her go hungry too? Would that enable her? I left that meeting feeling like I had been exaggerating and making it all up, full of self-doubt and questioning my own reality. I don’t use the word lightly when I say I felt gaslighted. I felt battered. But apparently if I take her out to socialise more… problem solved! And just like that we were discharged and if the problem gets worse, I have to start the whole process all over again.
Add to that mix appointments for flu jabs, covid jabs, a minor surgical procedure together with broken and lost hearing aids and you start to get the picture. Perhaps not the best week then to also launch and attempt to promote a new course as well as being heavily involved in organising an Art Exhibition that is almost over by the time this has gone out so I have been totally rubbish at promoting it. Writing a Substack newsletter/blogpost has felt way down the list of things I’ve needed to think about this week.
But then I realised that having ownership of this means I can just write and tell you how things are. I’m not complaining, life will go on and I will bounce back and it’s just the way of things, but it has all knocked me back rather over the past few days.
However, there have also been rather wonderful moments like this when it all feels worthwhile and there has been plenty of little people wisdom, hugs and kisses to keep me going.
I suppose I should remind you that I have lots of lovely courses open for enrolment including my brand new one Creative Bookmaking (which I am adding to daily) and if you are in the South Cambs/North Herts area, Royston Arts Society have their annual exhibition and today is the last day so just time to catch it. Open until 5 pm!
And next week hopefully I’ll have enough energy to come back to write about something interesting. Thanks as always for being here.
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