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Seasonal Stocktake: September
Thoughts on how the month of equinox will shape my work in the coming months
Hi, I’m Monica! I run an online portfolio service for writers that I created off the back of my own writing career. Here I share my personal experiences as a freelance writer, the highs and lows, and how I’m progressing with my myriad side hustles that allow me to make a living as a sole trader. Visit Writer’s Residence to create a writing portfolio of your own, and Subscribe here to keep reading and support my work!
Those of you who follow me on my other threads at Eat Sleep Wild and Weekly Wheel will know that I’m obsessed with the seasons. Pagans have this notion of the “Wheel of the Year”, an annual cycle of seasonal events (solstices, equinoxes, and the halfway points between). There’s no question in my mind that the seasons play an integral role in how I live, work, feel, and thrive. And although I’m not religious, I’ve come to embrace the Wheel as a sciencey-based way to hallmark life by the seasons.
This brings me to September, month of autumn equinox, and numerous harvest festivals celebrated around the world. In the Pagan calendar, autumn equinox is called “Mabon”, a name that comes from the Welsh God who was “son of the Earth Mother Goddess” (I hear she was a sassy lady!). Astronomically speaking, the autumn equinox is the moment when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. The length of day and night are close to be equal (but not quite, that’s the equilux!). This year, autumn equinox falls on September 23, 2023 at 06:50 UT.
Symbolically, equinox is a time of balance (equal-ish light and dark and all) and reflection. Whatever your believes, most of us will have set some intentions at the start of the year. Now’s the time to think about how all those intentions are going. Things I ask myself as I take stock this September:
Have I made any progress? How much? Am I were I want to be?
Are there some projects that haven’t gone to plan? If so, why?
Are some projects and intentions no longer relevant?
What’s getting in my way? Is there life clutter that’s not serving me well?
My writing life seasonal stocktake
The last two years have been a twist and turn of change. From moving to Scotland to moving full time into my small camper van with my awesome partner and wee dog Lucky, it’s a miracle I’ve progressed anything this year! But I keep hustling.
My goals this year in my professional writing life have been to:
Grow my paid subscriber base at by Eat Sleep Wild Substack newsletter, a place where I wrote about (for those unfamiliar, Substack allows you to create a paid subscription newsletter - own your work and cultivate a fan base of supporters - I’m hugely compelled by this concept!)
Develop and grow Writer’s Residence, my online portfolio service for writers. Our USP: “Create a professional writing portfolio website, the easy way.”
Phase myself out of freelance gigs that no longer inspire me and are detracting from (1) and (2).
How has it been going?
Eat Sleep Wild: My paid subscriber based is standing firm at a whopping 7 paid subscribers, most of whom are people I know! Eat Sleep Wild is the work I enjoy the most, but the thing I spend time on the least. What’s stopping me? Consistency mainly, lack of strategy, zero content plan. Mainly driven by time spent on part (3). More on this below…
Writer’s Residence: although progress here has been slower than I’d like, there’s been consistent progress throughout the year, mainly thanks to my small team of helpers and developers who’ve kept me accountable. I’ve been actively reaching out to our users to give them support and garner feedback. We’re about to start marketing actively on Facebook (which turns out to be a real pain), and we’ve just launched an affiliate program which I’m really excited about! Effectively, affiliates earn money by referring users to our site, and we’re kicking off with a generous 40% commission on each referral. Click here to learn more.
Side hustles: Phasing these things out has taken longer than I’d like. Side hustles provide the bulk of my income, and it’s all too tempting to just keep the ball rolling on those for my own personal sense of security. But I think I need to be brave. If I had a couple of extra days per week spare, I’d made rapid progress on (1) and (2), the places where my heart lie!
September is all about restoring balance. There’s no question my balance has been off kilter, with not enough time devoted to (1) and (2), not to mention a lack of routine that’s keeping me from being a productivity machine. Getting there will take time, but here’s two fairly major things in the pipeline that I hope will progress me towards my goals:
I’ve bolded informed my biggest client that I want to phase out of my role. (The conversation went better than expected, and no hard feelings!)
We’ve recognized that van life is not sustainable. For all the fun and freedom, it makes it impossible to have any semblance of routine. For the last several weeks we’ve been doing some serious adulting, viewing properties, and trying to get a mortgage. The properties we’ve looked at all have outbuildings that could support a holiday rental. So who knows, we may have an actual physical Writer’s Residence to invite you to someday! But I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. Scotland is currently experiencing a housing crisis, and the market is tough. I remain philosophical about matters - when it’s meant to be, it will happen!
What’s your seasonal stocktake?
I’d love to hear your seasonal reflections! Do the seasons have an impact on your writing life? How are you feeling as we head into September? Full of gusto or ready to hunker as the days get shorter? Please share in the comments!