[Might Could Essays] ➡️ I Might Could Do That!
How this newsletter is changing 15,000 subscribers later.
Welcome to my rejuvenated email newsletter, now called I Might Could Do That!
Before I jump into telling you what's new, I want to first thank all of you who have subscribed to my newsletter over the years. Somehow, this list has gone from basically just me, my mom, and my sister to a mind-boggling 15,000 people. I am so grateful for each and every one of you, and especially for those of you I’ve personally connected to and chatted with through your sincere replies to my emails. This honest back-and-forth sharing of artistic struggles has had a huge impact on me, my work, and my mental health. Thank you for reading my essays, sharing your experiences, and supporting my work.
So… what's different now?
The most obvious change to this newsletter is that I’ve switched email platforms. I started this newsletter 5 years ago, and have experimented with many platforms to get this content out into the ether—WordPress, Patreon, Instagram, Mailchimp, Mighty Networks, and most recently, ConvertKit.
This newsletter is now hosted on Substack.
Why do you care what platform I use? Well, I made this switch for two reasons:
Cost: ConvertKit was costing me ~$175/month for an email list of this size. Substack is... free.
Focus on writing: ConvertKit positions itself as a marketing tool for creators. So they push a lot of marketing features like evergreen content, funnels, tagging, tracking, etc. I've tried those things, but to be honest, I’m tired of it. I don't want my essays to be a marketing tool. I want them to be the product itself. And that's how Substack positions itself: a way for writers to write what they want to write and get paid for it. No SEO, email segments, tagging, or funnels required. Just quality writing.
In order to do that, there are now two versions of this newsletter: Free and Paid. More on that in a minute.
Why the changes?
As you may know, in July 2021 I burnt out/entered a depressive state/hit career-rock-bottom, whatever you want to call it, and I took a two-month break away from everything. During that time I did A LOT of thinking and reflecting and searching.
One thing I realized is that, in the name of growth, I had turned many of the projects I loved most into mere marketing tools. Projects including my creativity essays. And that shift made me think about them differently, approach them differently, and create them differently. It made me dread making the things I used to love making. It made me think in terms of outcome, rather than process. In the words of Billie Eilish, "Things I once enjoyed / Just keep me employed now / Things I'm longing for / Someday, I'll be bored of / It's so weird / That we care so much until we don't."
It wasn’t working. And stepping back allowed me to gain key insights into how I work best. For me, creating a product (whether it be a drawing, an essay, a book, or a class) is enjoyable and fulfilling, while creating marketing materials is... not. There's nothing inherently wrong with marketing itself, but over the course of 2020–2021, I had turned my favorite projects into marketing tools, which caused them to become things that "just keep me employed now", rather than things that filled my creative well. Plus, a focus on numbers, data, and outcomes does not lead to the most original and creative work.
I've done my time wallowing and beating myself up and blaming others for my own failures. I’m now at peace with the mistakes I've made. Instead of quitting (as I seriously considered many times), I am rebuilding and making changes. I will not allow a series of missteps to kill the career I love. Instead, I will use these failures as an opportunity to learn and evolve.
I am forever grateful now that I crashed and burned in August and was forced to sit in the mud and take an honest look around. And now from this more clear-eyed perspective, I am restructuring my career to realign with where I can give and receive the most value: writing essays, teaching classes, and creating books. For 2022 I will be focusing all my time and energy on only those three things.
And this newsletter will be the home base for it all.
What's Paid vs. Free?
Don't want to pay for my email newsletter? No worries. You are already subscribed to the Free edition and can stay on as a free subscriber, just like before. But if you want, you can upgrade to get a lil’ bit more and support my work further.
Free subscribers get:
1 essay per month
Paid subscribers get:
4 essays per month (1/week)
As before, I’ll be sending out new essays on my experiences and theories about creativity and artmaking on Tuesdays. Free members get them monthly, Paid members get them weekly.
If you're wondering, I will still be teaching classes, but they will now be exclusively on Skillshare. Subscribers (paid and free) will be alerted quietly alongside an essay when a new class is released. (To that note, my newest class, Learn, Steal, and Play: Copying Art To Create Your Own was just released last week and deals with drawing Miyazaki, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and other artworks, if you’re interested!)
In the future, I am considering adding a Sketchbook Drop and potentially serializing classes and books, but for now, I am focusing solely on my essays. Subscribers will help me decide where to go in the future.
I Might Could Do That!
I’m still feeling a bit bruised and vulnerable from the bumps and cliffs of 2021. My instinct is to run away and hide and stay in bed all day. But I am choosing to be brave and choosing not to give up on my art, on you, and on this career that has given my life so much meaning and purpose and joy. I’m choosing to keep trying. I'm choosing to say to myself again and again: I might could do that!
Perhaps this too will fail. I don’t know, but I’m going to try my best and give it a go. More than anything, I'm just glad to have back my capacity for hope.
Thank you for reading and considering supporting my essays by becoming a paid subscriber to I Might Could Do That!