Changes

Even though I’ve been working quite a bit “behind the scenes,” my official online break ended last Friday. This means, logically, that I’m back online.

But I gotta tell you… things will officially be different online for me. I think this will be true after every summer, but this time, it’s actually true.

This has been the first summer work break (I take 4-6 weeks off from the internet every summer) that gave me both unquantifiable clarity and just enough chutzpah to call a spade a spade and own up to what I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

I’m gonna stop blogging for awhile.

Because here’s the thing: it’s been hard for me to write here on the blog for quite awhile. Because I no longer love this place? No. Not at all. Simply because I feel like I’ve said what I’ve needed to say.

There are upwards of 2,000 posts here in the archives, written over the past decade. (That’s a lot of posts.) 99% of them are evergreen—meaning, they’re about timeless topics that remain as relevant today as the day they were written. I still agree with about 72% of them.

The lightbulb dimly flickered on when I was talking on the phone with a friend not long after At Home’s initial launch quieted down. “I don’t feel like I have much to say on the blog,” I said.

“You don’t have to write on the blog, you know,” she said. “Your people don’t need another blog post in their lives. You’ve given them plenty, and the internet is already full of clutter from people writing because they think they’re supposed to be constantly publishing.”

lightbulb

The lightbulb’s glow then brightened a bit more when, instead of filling my usual posting days with guest posts like I usually do on my summer breaks, I simply shared older posts of mine from the archives. And not only did you guys not care, but I’d wager most of you didn’t notice.

Great conversations still happened in our Facebook group, analytics showed that traffic to AoS even went up a bit, and I had more creative energy to work behind the scenes on bigger projects (I’ll show you soon) without having to make sure something new was being published here every Monday.

(Side note: If you’re curious… Aside from 4-6 weeks every summer and 1-2 weeks during the holidays, I’ve written on this site at least weekly since early 2008. Religiously. In the beginning, I personally published 3-4 times a week. After a few years, I published my own writing twice and one contributing writer’s piece weekly. When we switched the podcast to weekly, we did what felt like a huge risk at the time, and went down to me writing just one post a week (gasp! the horror!), producing one podcast episode a week, and a contributor continued to publish once a week.)

The lightbulb finally lit up to full incandescence when the podcast hit record-breaking download numbers this summer, consistently.

Summer is usually a slump for podcasts. But you guys seemed to like what we were doing there.

Here’s what’ll happen

Things are changing. They may not seem too monumental on the receiving end, but on my end, the producing end, it’s all pretty huge.

microphone

I’m gonna podcast more. I absolutely love podcasting, and want to devote more energy and focus to making it better. (I also have ideas for a second podcast.) Podcasting has helped me connect to you all in ways I hadn’t imagined. It reminds me of the early days of blogging, in many ways.

I’ll also more deeply focus on book writing. I’m more of a writer than ever before, which is why, yes, it’s a bit ironic I’m quieting the blog a bit. But releasing me from the burden of a tight pub schedule on AoS will free me creatively for more longform pieces.

My writing in At Home? Is what I love to do. I want to dive into more of that, as well as some fiction. I can’t do that well, and constantly publish blog posts, and podcast, and and and.

I’m also devoting more energy to teaching online, both because I love it, and because, quite frankly, it’s a better ROI of my time than publishing blog posts. In full transparency, there are things I’m happy to talk about …if I’m reasonably compensated for it.

This is for two reasons: one, because it’s fair to my family to spend time on things that help keep the lights on at home. And two, because those who want my stuff will benefit, too. My teaching will be tighter, a better use of time, action-oriented, and higher-quality.

Those who know me well know that I’m passionate about creators being fairly paid what they’re worth. I’ve realized for a year now that I haven’t fairly done that for myself. No one benefits from that.

smart girls gathering

So, these changes come from a mindshift in response to the industry, my own personal wiring, and a love for you all… the community around AoS, The Simple Show, and all the other ways that have brought you here, reading this.

I’m a 4 on the Enneagram, which means authenticity is one of my highest values. I care about honesty and transparency above just about anything else, as well as creative integrity.

Vulnerability is also hard for me, ironically, which is why I think this post is such a long time coming. All this has been on my heart and mind for a year now. But I haven’t had the cahones to do it …till now.

We all benefit when we’re willing to be real with each other. And though I haven’t written anything fake here, per se, it hasn’t been giving me life for awhile. And that’s not fair to you, reader.

(p.s. – Several of you have asked me when I’ll write another State of the Blog Union, since the last one I wrote was a few years ago. Well, if you’d like to dive deeper into the industry side of all this… here you go.)

Here’s how it’ll look

Honestly, this isn’t earth-shattering, hold-the-phone news. There’s a chance you’re reading this and thinking, “Yeah? …So?”

I get it. This shift might show up 90% internally, and except for that whole need to be vulnerable, I second-guessed even publishing my thoughts about all this.

What this means behind the scenes is that we’re hard at work redesigning the site to make it much easier to find older posts. We’ve got a wealth of archives full of great stuff written by lots of people, and it deserves to be read. You deserve to find it easier.

I’ve got a new mini-course—affordably-priced—that’ll break down into 7 projects what I think are the most helpful, foundational tasks for curbing overwhelm. This way, when you come to AoS looking for a life preserver because you feel like you’re drowning in chaos, I can point you to a clear, easy-to-complete, short resource that’s practical (yet still infused with my personality—important for that whole authenticity thing). Enrollment closes Monday, August 7, and there’s room for you!

I’ve re-written and overhauled my flagship course, Upstream Field Guide, and it’s gonna be amaaaaazing. Seriously, you guys—it’s so good, and I’m so thrilled to show it to you. It’ll be ready in September. New name, new content, pretty much new everything. This is the course that’ll help you finally figure out what you’re about, and then how to point your life in that direction. It’s life coaching, only cheaper and you get to keep it forever.

The Simple Show will still publish weekly episodes (new season starts next week!), but with each show notes post, I’ll infuse a bit more of my writing. We’re tweaking the show’s focus ever-so-slightly, and it’s gonna be fantastic. (Plus, new co-host!)

In October, I hope to start writing my next book. Early, early, infantile stages, people.

I’ll still send out both weekly emails (in its newish format!) and monthly personal email letters. In fact, these will be the best ways to still get regular doses of my writing.

Since I apparently can’t leave well enough alone, I’m also in the early stages of planning a new potential venture with a dear friend, and if it works out, boy howdy will it be good.

I’ll still be publishing weekly posts here from my contributing writer friends. There are still life-giving things to say, of course.

coffee and writing

And? I’ll still be publishing posts here when I have something to say. What a concept, waiting to publish when there’s things to say. Seems so silly, I know, but when regular publishing has been your bread-and-butter for so long, it really is a mental shift.

The thought of posting when I feel like it feels like being awarded a major award, I tell you.

I’m still a writer and a podcaster. But now, it’ll mostly look like writing of the book variety while still podcasting of the weekly variety (with a possible second show, if I don’t explode).

This place isn’t going anywhere. It’ll just look a little different.

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38 Comments

  1. Melissa

    LOVE this! I’ve been enjoying YouTube etc lately and running myself ragged to come up with blog content. This smacked me in the face – if I’m struggling with what to write maybe I don’t have anything to say right now!

  2. Aimee

    Sounds great, Tsh! Big respect to you for your vulnerability & authenticity. That took courage. The Art of Simple has been such a great community for me these past few years and I know it will continue to be so regardless of your blog writing schedule 😉 Your content is inspiring whatever the format!

  3. Laura

    So excited that you are doing what is right for you and not what someone else thinks is right! So far I have loved all the changes you have made to your online presence and see no reason why this change should be any different. Love what you have to say and what you contribute to the online world. 🙂 Hope we can meet in person one day!

  4. Rose

    Will your episodes be accessible to people like me who are Deaf? I am not able to listen to podcasts for obvious reasons, so will miss reading new material here!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I will do my absolute best to provide transcripts of the podcast, not only for people with hearing disabilities, but also for people who just prefer to read (I know you’re out there). I’ll be honest – it won’t be right away (there’s lots to do at the moment!). But I hear you, and I’ll move it up a notch or two on my priority list.

      Thank you for reading!

      • Lucy

        Thank you! I was about to inquire on this issue as well — so many bloggers are shifting to podcasts which are then inaccessible to those of us who are d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing. It’s been a source of growing frustration as so many bloggers I used to follow now just post podcasts and provide all-too-brief show notes.

        May I add an additional request with regards to accessibility — could your online courses have closed captions or subtitles of some sort as well? I had wanted to do your Upstream course, when it was first offered, but couldn’t follow it (per the teaser video which had no captions).

        I’m entirely aware that there is both monetary and time costs in making this happen. I wonder if there were a way for several bloggers to pool together to hire someone to manage the technical aspects of providing captioning, transcripts, or whatever? Auto-generated captions such as on YouTube can be downright maddening (and laughable).

        Absolute best of luck with this transition and new direction! So exciting and very pleased that this decision is sitting well with you.

      • Linda Sand

        I’m one of those who prefer to read (I’m noise sensitive) so I’m thrilled you will be including transcripts!

  5. Andrea

    Yes! Ditto to the above comments. Your willingness to take this step and be open and vulnerable with your community is inspiring to me. I’m excited to hear more about the podcast changes!

  6. Oluseye

    Just when I stumbled on your site today.. People like me would definitely need to take a walk through your archives and learn new tips. This place is wonderful — you’ve covered virtually every topic I guess.

  7. Greg

    There are three things that I can count on from you:
    1. You speak and write from your heart.
    2. Your content/format evolves.
    3. Your perspective is different than mine.
    Based on your post, none of these three things are changing. Yea! Looking forward to see what is coming.

  8. Laura

    I applaud your courage! I think this will be amazing.

    More importantly, it sounds like you were creeping slowly towards burnout, and this sounds like it will nourish you. I’m so excited to hear about a woman who heard the little voice inside and cared for it until it was loud enough to hear and then acted on it.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      You’ve described exactly what’s going on, Laura. Thanks for understanding and for your support!

  9. Alysa

    Yes to all of this! I always look to you, Tsh when I am trying to figure out how to “balance” all of these things. I’m thankful you took the time to write it all out and give us permission to focus on what fills us up (and dial back on what doesn’t).

  10. Erin Odom @ The Humbled Homemaker

    This post is like reading the inside of my head! Blogging burnout is real, and we must do what we can to put safeguards around us to protect ourselves, our families, our art! Looking forward to seeing how the new direction unfolds!

  11. Jlynn

    I’m very happy for you that you’ve become clear on what you want to do and what brings you energy and joy. Best of luck to you.

    I don’t do podcasts and online courses because my phone is my only source of connection to the web and such. I don’t have a large enough data plan for such things and will not be pro providing my cell phone provider with more money to do so

    I will eagerly look forward to whatever is provided here on the blog.

  12. Veggie Mama

    This is awesome! Things change and it’s good to recognize when we need to change too. Good for you.

    Ps I know what you mean about podcasting feeling like the early days of blogging. Those days were fun. It’s nice to feel a wisp of it again!

  13. Joanna

    Good luck. I will miss the blog articles but I’m sure it will be good for you. Its funny to me that bloggers feel pushed for so much content and regular postings. I think it is best when people post when they have something to say rather than bc it’s ‘ Monday’. Every post is like a little gift in my inbox. Thanks for all your insights. I just finished In Home and thought it was a great read. I love the message in it and so relate to it

    • Keneisha

      Personally I love podcasts and happy to hear your not stopping on that end! Looking forward to all the new adventures I store for you!!

  14. Theresa

    Looking forward to your new format and creations! Continued success always from a long time follower.

  15. Leah

    I love these changes and the heart behind them, Tsh! So exciting.

  16. Lina

    Wow! To be honest I’m a little sad but I get it. I’ve followed you from over 7 years. (And done it all with you- blog, podcasts, books, etc) And I’m gonna keep following you as you evolve. I appreciate you being authentic to yourself. Which is why you’re a breath of fresh air in this space. Excited to see what’s next. I’m with you, girl.

  17. Kathy Ericksen

    Great idea! Love the fact that you are doing what brings you life. Nothing is more important! I love your podcasts too.

  18. Kimberly

    Wonderful news for me….I LOVE your podcast! 🙂 🙂

  19. Rebecca

    All the best to you! I found your blog at just the right time in life. Your wisdom and practicality have been incredibly helpful in shaping our family culture. Thank you. Excited for your next endeavor. (Hopefully someone will post Christmas gift guides and calming holiday messages?! ?)

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      We’ll still be doing those! 🙂

  20. Shelley

    I love this too. Glad you are doing what you want to do. Spend time on what makes your heart sing!! I love your podcast, and am glad to get your message and content there!

  21. Susan

    What a wonderful transition for you! Doing what resonates internally will always allow you the give more authentically. The end result is better for everyone. 🙂
    Blessings for this new direction on your journey.

  22. Emily Brown

    I also applaud you and the steps you are taking! I recently closed all of my social media accounts, and I struggle a bit with how that has cut me off from people (getting off of FB a year or so ago made me realize how many of my “friends” were not truly friends…I still haven’t recovered from it). You mentioned how many posts are available on this site – wow! I’m planning to make a point of going back through old posts. 🙂

  23. Elizabeth H. Cottrell

    Oh, Tsh, I’m so happy for you — and those of us who have been following you regularly will know how to stay in touch — you can run but you can’t hide! :-). Seriously, in this very big change to your business, you are modeling something critical for us all: that to make room for better things, we have to be willing to let go of older things. Thank you for that. I know I am one of thousands who want only the best for you.

  24. Lindsey Brackett

    So much, yes, Tsh. My debut novel launches next month and in the course of all that and writing in other venues, I’ve had to let blogging go–and I decided despite what the industry is saying, that’s okay. I’m recycling older posts and making them fresh, and I’m finding that community is all over, in all sorts of little niches, and I’m much happier in some of those. I felt like you–I had nothing else to say because what I want to say is landing elsewhere. Thanks for leading the way and as always, being willing to be the inspiration.

    –and is that Anne Bogel hanging out in the pic? So fun!

  25. Eila

    Amen! I know, first hand, how difficult it can be to let go of something good to make room for new opportunities.

    Ironically, I found that while I craved time and space to take better care of myself and my family, and pursue other projects, it was *months* before I actually allowed myself to do so. Like, ok, let’s be honest– maybe a year. Achem, maybe a little more. My blog had become so much a part of my identity and something that I felt was my way of adding value to friends’ and reader’s lives that just walking away at a high point was something that I knew was the right thing to do… but took courage, confidence and creativity. It has taken me almost a year and a half to find my new direction, and to settle in. Ironic.

    I adore your content and look forward to seeing where this new path leads you.

  26. Heather

    It’s so wise to take time away to reflect (as you have recently done) on your life. It’s a good reminder that, ironically, change often begins from a point of stillness. I admire your transparency and willingness to change course when needed. I used to blog as part of an online business I owned. Once I sold that business I took a year off and when I started up my new blog I chose a similar path with my writing schedule (write when I am inspired to write). It has been a good fit for me and I believe it will be for you as well.

  27. Angela

    Bravo for following your heart! And I’m soooooooooo tickled that you are going to podcast more! That totally made my day! I love your blog, but I just don’t get to read it much, but I’ve listened to EVER podcast in the last 1.5 years, at least. So yay yay yay!

  28. Nicole

    Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing this, it’s so refreshing to read the real life struggles we all face and bravo to you for following your heart!

  29. Kate

    I read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist a few months back and am recalling where she wrote about talking with her hairdresser (think it was the hairdresser) about a decision she was needing to make and how what others would think was impacting her decision. Her hairdresser told her that people really don’t think about what you are doing as much as you think they do. ah-ha! Detailed explanations on the front end can get in the way when you are making a change and figuring it out as you go. Do what you know is best for you and let your work speak for itself.

  30. Angie

    Good for you! I look forward to all the changes and know that you’ll still be providing all the great content we’ve come to trust from you, no matter the format. Love what you do!

  31. Jennifer

    Congratulations, Tsh. It takes a lot of guts to listen to what you’re heart is telling you,and then to actually follow it. I’m trying my darndest to the same.
    I bought/signed up for your first version of the Upstream Field Guide. Should I sign up for the newest version in September, or do alumni have some sort of access to the new stuff? Thank you for your work.

  32. Angela

    Good luck! We wish you the best and thank you for sharing your intentions on the front end.

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