I started out this quarter saying that I was going to write an essay every Monday, study texts with you on Wednesdays, and write fiction on Fridays. But I’m starting to realize that my writing can’t fit into such clean categories. Right now I have more essays than I can count lined up (so Mondays are full), but I need to complete more book research before I can write the next chapter of my utopian novel (so Fridays are empty). In addition to studying texts, I am also working on podcast episodes, video discussions, and interviews that don’t fit neatly into those categories at all. And I would love to host the occasional discussion, etc.
This is encouraging because it’s cool to see publications pivot in real time, and the people behind them explain why. A cool perk of Substack that I don’t think we often see elsewhere. It’s like news-meets-blogosphere and I love it.
It’s also encouraging because I still haven’t found a rhythm that works, as I try to wrangle longer posts and decide whether to split them up or alternate with shorter ones.
Hooray for experiments! Please do what brings your creative writerly self the most fulfillment. I love your work, always have, and can't wait to read whatever you have in store.
thanks for sharing the ways you're experimenting with your creative process, Elle :) super helpful as I'm mapping out my own experiments – have definitely experienced the rigidity & lack of flow that emerges as a result of sticking to a publishing schedule. excited to see where these experiments take you & The Elysian!
I'm totally mirroring you with all of this. I told my subscribers that I'd send one email a week, toggling back and forth between an original (and well-researched)l long form essay and a shortform (also well-researched) essay on the offweeks -- and when I get too consumed in said research I feel like I am disappointing a bunch of people if my essays are 'late'. I, too, am slowly but surely shaking off this self-imposed structure to my creative life.
Thanks for sharing your thought process on this, Elle. Totally agree! Never put yourself into a box creatively.
I really, really like this idea, Elle. I've found the same challenges with my own newsletter; I may even borrow (steal?) this idea! 😃
Creativity is about flexibility, not rigidity. Best wishes on your journey.
There's no way I can keep up with that pace of content creation from one person unfortunately, once a week would be more than enough for me.
It’s such a tricky balance, creativity and constraint. For what it’s worth, I had assumed that your Wednesday posts would consist primarily of a question you would pose for discussion or a question about a short excerpt of a text.
All of this is to say that as a reader I would personally feel totally satisfied with a single discussion question — and I also recognize I’m just one voice, so take that with a grain of salt! :)
I struggle with this all the time! There are so many things I want to write about - then there are the things I feel I should be writing about - or need to complete for someone else - and when I sit down to work, sometimes I don't/can't work on the thing that I've committed to doing. It's an endless tug-of-war between creativity and productivity!
Well done for letting yourself off the hook!
Thanks for the update. I really enjoy hearing how things work for you and incorporate strategies into my life
I feel you. It’s hard to stay on top of everything you want to write.
Variety is good. Why limit your creativity? Follow the inspiration. 🤓