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Considered sharing, writing dynamics, motherhood and more. X
Coming to you (sorta) live from the final weeks of pregnancy. How many weeks? Only God knows.
I’m in a workout leotard because everything else cuts in around my belly and leaves big red marks. I don’t find pregnancy styling easy at all unless it’s summer and I can throw on a linen dress. I’m slowly simplifying our weeks as my energy wanes. My spirit is still strong in wanting to do the most though.
So, writing dynamics. Let’s explore.
I almost turned my paid subs back on this week. Almost.
Listen, when I turn my paid subs back on, it means I am in my saddle again. It means I am again devoted to delivering regular quality entries. When I was in my full flow before this pregnancy, I was publishing once weekly and it took 4 or 5 little afternoon sessions to properly craft each piece.
In a temporary moment of inspiration (and possibly amnesia), yesterday I was sure it was time to flick it back on and hop back on that saddle.
Typical Peta move, wanting to flick it back on just weeks out from having a newborn, homeschooling my kids, travelling around the countryside for activities, preparing to move house/towns.
To add on, bushfire season is early here and I’m preparing for what it would look like to evacuate around the time baby is born.
I wrote a big email to you yesterday, saying ‘woohoo paid subs are back on’ with a very-peta-style over-the-top-explanatory piece on the dynamics and thoughts behind why it felt right to do it now— the dynamics of writing, audience, subscription, containment etc.
It was a good entry mind you. Lots of good insight into not just the writer’s process but also the writer who is tending to this new dynamic of both a paid and free subscription. It’s a new thing and so, I find it helpful to hash it out out-loud.
One of my biggest drivers to wanting to turn it back on is this— I have a mountain of entries sitting in my notes that I just don’t want to publish for the entire world.wide.web. Hard earned wisdom in the online space has taught me that not everything is for everyone and that yes, timing matters. I don’t often write about superficial stuff, except when talking about lattes and cafes and even then, the superficiality is debatable (I kid but also I don’t because that 10am matcha latte, kids playing, chatting with friends… the feeling of a good, hearty cafe… ahh). Alas I tend to write things which go off the deep end and can be quite tender.
I have pieces written about my home birth preparation, answering questions about the birthing industry in general, including why I home birth but do not free birth— this can be very sensitive content to those who aren’t actively choosing to be in that kind of convo.
I have pieces written about the delicate topic of motherhood and how we cannot bring our self indulgence and self importance with us when we become mothers… and how Jesus reminds me of the goodness of ‘dying to myself’, when the entire culture tells us that we should be centering ourselves as faux goddesses (we are not. And that is ok).
I have them sitting there, and also without the more intimate agreement/space/environment that the paid subscription creates, I hold them back. Not at all from a place of ‘these are so valuable, pay me!’, but from a place of, are these really pieces I want to publish as a free for all? Not everyone is invested enough to read them with appropriate discernment, maturity and respect.
This is why I much prefer Substack over Instagram. People are so trigger happy on Instagram. One read of something and within not even 5 seconds of it hitting ‘that tender spot’ inside, a comment is posted. There is no thought, no exploration into context, but more so— no accountability for showing up in another’s space with maturity and discernment. I must admit, my audience is typically discerning, respectful and considered when it comes to interaction (thank you). Still, there are always those who are committed to shallow interpretation, their own self pity and their worldview which is clung to with a strangle.
In my experience, Substack holds a higher standard. People come because they like to read, absorb, understand, and explore— People read lengthy things. They digest it. This is a very different approach to those on Instagram who want to make a full character judgement based on a 3.5 second reel. It lacks depth. On the things I want to write about, it is impossible to engage with trigger happy commenters without a shared depth and commitment to seeing, thinking, understanding. Sure, we try to engage regardless. We try because we want to be diplomatic, kind and respectful. Also, something I have learned from 12 years in the online space— sometimes it’s a waste of time, energy, emotion and mental load. There is nothing wrong with recognising where and when engaging with strangers online like Instagram, who have zero accountability and/or commitment to depth is simply not worth it. Instagram isn’t a place where people go to understand others more deeply. It’s a quick fix spot. Drive through coffee. Give it to me now. It’s where people go to judge, laugh, assume, be entertained, criticise and project in record speed.
Sure, we can say that it just comes with the territory of having a public profile. You’re going to cop backlash etc. Yep. I’ve had my fair share of nauseating weeks, the result of sharing unpopular views and being on the receiving end of all sorts of heat. I’ve been in the online space sharing my life and views publicly since 2011. While I have made mistakes, this has bred a sort of wisdom where I can acknowledge things like:
— Not everything is meant for public consumption.
— Sometimes we speak and write differently depending on the audience. Audience can affect the work.
— New models and ways of sharing our views/lives/convictions are arising because the old in some ways has become a circus.
— It is ok to acknowledge that when receiving a lot of criticism from strangers, it affects your everyday life and other responsibilities. Sure, train your nervous system. Do it when you feel you can. Truth is important to share. ALSO— it’s not always the right time or more importantly…. place.
Right now as I prepare to birth my third baby, my daily energy going to my household, children, husband and immediate community, I am more considerate when it comes to what I am willing to put out there. I have a very primal job to do shortly and that requires a sense of safety in me. Safety is something I feel very blessed to be able to even have, choose and experience considering what is happening around the world.
I have had many seasons of just saying it (cue having a public profile in my explorative 20’s). So many. I’ve had times where I’ve felt obliged to speak even when I didn’t quite have the full picture or an intelligent enough perspective. I have had regret for saying something when I didn’t really want to. I’ve also known the joy of sharing considered, high quality word pieces that have perfectly hit the hearts of those reading. We learn how to be ‘in the public’ with full integrity and sustainability by doing it for years. It is not guaranteed that people will agree with us and often it’s worth sharing anyway. Eg my walk in faith. That was perhaps one of the most scary things I have ever shared. I shared it and continue to do so with the conviction that it is/was not my job to please anyone, only my job to live right by God (and still, it’s been wobbly, as I’ve shared!). When we walk in faith we choose this everyday. I am considered in my sharing because I am still unravelling inside — Where am I wanting to share so I can stay relevant and give the people what they came for, or where am I sharing truly because God has put something on my heart and tongue? It’s a process that I am trying to give myself to fully. Again, it’s not without wobbles.
I have not felt it at all helpful that I speak on what’s happening in Israel/Palestine. I don’t understand it with enough depth to offer anything valuable or helpful to something that is so tender and big. I am praying for the region, for the innocent lives, for all affected, and for goodness to prevail in this spiritual war daily. Not all voices are essential or helpful on this right now and too many of us simply don’t understand it well enough to stand on a soap box and pretend we do. Just because we have a voice, and may have liberated it after a long season of suppressing it, it doesn’t mean we have to use it ad nauseam. It doesn’t mean we have to have a voice on everything, just because we have a profile. We are not so important that we need to address everything as if the world is waiting on us to do so. What is even more important than shallow statements, is heartfelt prayer.
I mean, some people with big followings really need to learn how to zip it. We’ve learned how to liberate our voices, but we must also learn self control and that ‘speaking our mind’ isn’t always the most helpful play. Prayer helps to discern.
Sometimes we speak to puff ourselves up, or to intellectually persuade and it isn’t always rooted in love. 1 Corinthians has taught me so much about the illusion of wisdom and intelligent words when they are without spirit. I have underlined and asterisked and ‘wow’d’ basically the entire book.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13
Sometimes, our writing is for us to hash it out, to process our thoughts, to make sense of big things which are well… really big and more complex than we may first assume.
As one of my favourite thinkers and writers C.S Lewis says— “First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”
We recently had a referendum in Australia, my beloved home country. I have my views on it and yet, I have not found it valuable or necessary to speak on it publicly for many reasons. I am still discovering just how complex it is (not the actual proposal but the spiritual war underpinning it) and just how intentional the division. It is not at all a matter of ‘left v right’, ‘woke v freedom seeker’, ‘racist v non racist’ as media would have us believe. I have entries drafted up, some of them emotionally charged, some of them more considered, my innocent and honest explorations clearly in view. Perhaps my tongue was clamped because I was being matured in my thought, sanctified to be even more loving. Perhaps holding my tongue was the most loving thing. Perhaps me writing my explorations and not sharing them, was simply helping me to process it all myself.
It’s been sad but also not surprising to witness so much superficiality with regards to understanding what we call ‘the other side’.
Regardless of our views of or belief in the democratic process, or politics at all— it’s important for us as adults to be able to empathise and think with a depth that can translate into us being able to explain to our children, “This is what may be on the hearts and minds of those voting this, and this is what may be on the hearts and minds of those voting this.” Otherwise, we are pretending to vote in favour of love and goodness when really we are training our kids to go out into the world, unable to listen, empathise and love those who see the world differently than we do. I have strong convictions. Also, God commands that we love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
God is the judge. We can give that burden of relentlessly judging others goodness, to Him. This is very hard for us at times (seriously!!), and God knows this about us too. He sure doesn’t look at us and expect perfection.
We have lumped ourselves into these camps— Left, right, liberal, conservative, truth seeking, woke. We’ve trained our minds to lump people into these categories too.
“Oh she got the V, she must be a sheep”.
“Oh he follows so and so, he’s a bigot.”
We have to hold ourselves to higher standards of thought, depth, empathy and love. I am not a ‘neutral’ kind of person. The spiritual bypassy fluffiness of ‘we’re all one’ etc as an excuse to fence sit on every thing drives me mad. I believe in faith, conviction, in values and morals. I believe that freedom requires constraint and discipline and that God provides us with that through His word. I also believe that we aren’t each others enemies as we have been told we are. We have a common enemy. And no it’s not the person on your instagram who doesn’t support your particular worldview. IT AIN’T HIM.
Jesus is the perfect example of the most non-religious, strong but firm love there is.
Jesus never abandoned his convictions, but he crossed every cultural boundary when it came to loving others.
Jesus showed us the most counter cultural and hard to fathom love. Love thy enemy? What?! How?! We find that impossible— He didn’t.
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
It is confronting to look to Jesus’ example because of how challenging it is to love like Him. When I pray for those who have hurt me the most, it is often through gritted teeth and a lot of attitude. Yet, that is the love we aim for. It is far more revolutionary than anything any of these ‘leaders’ are spitting.
Ok. Breath out. This was meant to be brief and here I am having Braxton Hicks on my fit ball. Anyway…. I started writing this just to say hello, ya know, give a little update.
I’m not sharing this entry to make any big announcement, more so to share thoughts and process behind something so simple as the timing of ‘switching paid subs back on’.
For me it’s not as simple a thought as just reactivating that income and getting ‘back to work’ in that way. It’s about creating the right dynamic for me to write fully and wholly what I am most called to say— concentrated with no dilution.
Who I have in mind when I am writing affects how I write and where I feel I can go with it. The wider the audience, the more I edit. Edit. Edit. Chop. Chop. Chop. Reword. Delete. Polish. Add disclaimer.
I value the paid subscription model for this reason— it creates an environment of mutual respect, a deeper commitment to understanding. I loved my rhythm of weekly entries and engaging in that private space with many of you. I know personally, this encourages me to go to places in my writing that I wouldn’t when it is just a free for all. I am an over sharer by nature (in real life even more). I love to feel free to overshare, not like I’m hitting ‘publish’ and then opening myself up to just…. anyone.
I do believe in being generous and sharing goodness, Truth and beauty on behalf of God and making it accessible (Substack is generally such an affordable way to do this and there are options to give free subscriptions to those genuinely invested but needing a little financial support). I don’t at all agree with the ‘charge for everything’ culture that’s been created in the coaching world (of which I am not apart). I have felt prepared to keep my paid subs off entirely and just share everything freely if it meant glorifying God. Also I look at the mountain of posts in my notes and the way I hold them back when I don’t have the more intimate place to share them. Perhaps a more intimate space is what I need to be more bold. Perhaps I just need to get over it and share everything I have hoarded. I’ll letcha know.
I suppose what I’m saying is and I have said this before— Sometimes we write just to understand for ourselves. Sometimes it is time to be more considered with our sharing habits. Sometimes, it’s not time for the floodgates. Or for publishing. Or even, gasp, for writing. But seasons always change. We have to trust, without getting swept up in all that unsteadies us-- which sometimes is as simple as sneaky false ideas of self importance.
I have been praying on what my next steps are. I know my most important work is my home, my kids, my family. Also, I feel so immeasurably blessed in every way and want to be a better steward with all I have. Right now my focus is very much on being that steward in my private life and God knows how many opportunities I have had throughout this pregnancy for character refinement— hooly dooly. I have so much to write about because God has been sharpening me up in private.
Writing, whether shared or not, is like dry brushing. It clears the metaphorical lymph.
I am eager and excited to be sharing frequently with you again, in the not too distant future.
Because it has been so full on for me lately, my husband quickly moved his day around today so I could have a couple of hours in the morning to write. He works hard but always puts us at the forefront. I haven’t done this in yonks— not in the morning. I can’t remember the last time. In all honesty I felt totally uncomfortable at being booted out of my morning routine with the kids. Typically when I write, (which has been infrequent lately) it’s in the late afternoons just before I cook dinner when hubs gets home— it isn’t always reliable that I’ll have anything worth writing at that time of the day ;) Despite some dark choc or a light matcha as a sidekick. Gobble-de-gook anyone?
I planned to go to a cafe and write this morning, but my archaic (5 year old) laptop wasn’t plugged in overnight and thus had no battery in the morning. She’s such an old dog that even if I took her to the cafe, she’d last 45 mins without charge. I need to put her down, I know I do. ‘It’s time’, my husband said, as if I were actually doing something comparable to putting a beloved pet to sleep. I have now unboxed the new laptop I’ve had sitting in my cupboard since the beginning of the year. I look at my old one sitting beside it, and she looks like she’s on life support. It’s amazing how sick an old laptop looks only when you put it beside a new sparkly one. She couldn’t even transfer the wifi password onto the new computer, poor old duck. I’m writing on my old one still now, hanging on for dear life. I look at my new one with a little judgey side eye like ‘just because you are new and shiny, doesn’t mean you’re better than her’ *points to old one that is literally missing teeth*.
I ended up writing this at home, sat wide-legged on my fit ball, leant over my bed. My kids are playing outside on the monkey bars with the neighbour who leaves for a caravan trip around Australia tomorrow.
Truth is, I didn’t want to leave the house to go and write. I have found so much peace in ‘putting that aside’ for now and truly resting into this season of devoted motherhood and community. I have had many, many years of motherhood where I constantly wrestled with how much more I should be doing ‘for myself.’ Now I have found so much peace in not needing to do as much for myself as I once believed I needed to. I feel strengthened and energised not by the need to have X amount of self care hours, but by the energy and strength God gives me when I drop the stories of self importance. When I drop the story of ‘I need more. I need this. I should be having more time. It’s unfair’ etc etc, it’s amazing the peace and energy that returns to me. Sure, I am heavily pregnant and I am tired in the afternoons and I love my morning prayer walk (that my kids often come with me on, sat in the wagon, porridge in their laps at 6:30am)…. I will take what I truly need and have a loving and supportive husband so that I can. But it has taken me years to live beyond the constant wrestle within. Stopping the wrestle doesn’t mean I won’t write, workout, rest my body as my huge baby descends further into my pelvis, etc. It means I don’t live with the constant voice inside my head that tells me how important I am, and how much more I should indulge myself (straight from the mouth of modern culture). Life is better without it. God is clear on that. We must care for ourselves yes, but when we know Who is caring for us, we can be far more generous with our time and energy. We aren’t so self preserving when we know we were not designed to be. (I have about 6 pages on this in my notes).
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
I know God has more active work in store for me next year— beyond my home, and immediate community, but kids involved. With people. For people. I have ideas on what it is but I know that post-baby and new town will bring the clarity. For now it is as simple as home, community, writing when the call hits.
Here is a piccie of me driving into town briefly this morning to get a matcha, stop at the chemist, grab some supplies at the health food van and come home to where I am happiest, and write. I haven’t been in a car by myself in so long I felt awkward. SO awkward I took a pic.
I wrote this as a little update. Each little point represents a far bigger conversation I have ready to go when the time is right, once baby is born. Birth story too. You betcha bum it’ll be here on my Subbie.
Side note: I’m in the season of Christmas Carols already. Sol just rehearsed for her Christmas carol performance at the end of the year and I tell ya what— if you want to know what sends me to tears faster than anything else on Earth it’s summed up in these four words— Kids singing Christmas carols. MY HEART. This phenomenon is not limited to pregnancy either. I bawled at last year’s carols and my kids weren’t even performing.
Side but not so side note:
You know something else on the topic of turning paid subs back on. I see writers who have their paid subs on and they are writing maybe twice or three times a quarter. When I witness this, something in me says ‘see, you could turn your paid subs on and still write infrequently— they’ll have your archive anyway!’. But, it doesn’t feel right for me. I have an integrity in me that won’t charge unless I am here with some consistency. It doesn’t need to be scheduled, but when paid subs are on, I want to be present. I will turn them on when I am ready to enter into that writer/reader relationship again with more oomph and presence.
Until then, I’ll be in here like, what is hopefully a pleasant surprise each time.