I've spent some time this past month contemplating how I might use this space better. (This space—and every other space I inhabit online.) And not just because I'm reading Digital Minimalism; that book just came my way a couple of days ago. I've spent all of February evaluating the ways I use various blog & social media platforms. I've scaled waaay back on some of them (Facebook, Twitter) and have plans to increase my activity on others (here, Bonny Glen). Still figuring out my plan for Instagram. The key is—and this conviction has indeed been strongly reinforced by Digital Minimalism—to have a plan. Not a posting schedule but a plan for intentional activity instead of accidental or passive.
But I digress. What I came here to say tonight is that I'm going to be changing the subscriber perk for the $3+ tier. I've been inconsistent about delivering the monthly live chats, and the reason is because it turned out to be difficult to plan them when I didn't know whether anyone would show up. If no one dropped in to chat, I had to vamp for 45 minutes, and although I kept a running list of possible topics, I often felt at a loss for words.
So I'm going to try something new, and I think this is a better plan! Instead of a recorded live chat, I'm going to have a sort of open house—something similar to the "office hours" Cal Newport describes in Digital Minimalism. I'll set a set time each week (more on this in a moment) during which I'll be in a Google Hangout to which you are all welcome to drop in and join me for a chat.
How is that different from before? Two ways:
1) I won't be recording these hangouts for later viewing (I suspect that was part of why few of you dropped into the hangouts before); and
2) If no one stops by to chat, instead of filling the time with a monologue, I'll just be at my desk puttering around, working, reading, sketching, who knows. Since I won't be broadcasting or recording the sessions, I don't have to feel self-conscious about people watching me sit and read; and if someone drops into the room to chat, lovely! We'll have ourselves a nice little conversation.
Think of it as a kind of open coffee hour or neighborly drop-in. I'll be here, happy to see you and ready to gab; and if it's raining out and no one can make it, no worries, I have plenty to keep me busy here at home. Why, it's downright Jane Austen-like, now that I think about it!
Each week I'll post the Hangout invitation link here on Patreon (you'll receive it by email unless you've adjusted your settings otherwise). You'll be able to click through and enter the Hangout, and there I'll be, as delighted to see you as if you knocked on my door.
Now the trick is to set a time that's convenient for potential visitors, and that I can attend consistently. Early afternoons (Pacific time) are generally good time slots for me, with occasional doctor-appointment disruptions. Or I could consider an early-evening (Pacific time) slot if that's more convenient for the majority of folks interested in dropping in. Whatever I choose, I'd like it to be the same time each week, so that you don't have to keep track of a changing schedule.
Now, realistically, I know there will be weeks I can't avoid having some other commitment intrude on whatever time slot I pick. But my thinking here is that up until now, my $3-tier perk was one monthly live chat. Now I'm offering a weekly (unrecorded) gab fest. Even if I have to cancel my "at-home" (to be all Regency-era about it; or my office hours if you prefer Cal Newport's term) once a month due to family stuff or other engagements, you'll still have three times more opportunity to catch me for a chat. Make sense?
At present I'm considering Friday afternoons from 1-2pm Pacific or 2-3pm Pacific. That's because right now I only have one conflicting appointment during that time slot during the next three months. (March 29th, which still leaves four Fridays in March for the fun—counting tomorrow, of course!)
If Friday afternoons prove to be a terribly inconvenient time for everybody else, I could try an evening time slot (say, 7-8 Pacific) on Wednesdays or Thursdays, but I know that's getting to be late in the day for some of you. I'll try the Friday 1pm slot to start with for tomorrow (since tomorrow is practically upon us already!), with the caveat that I may shift it next week after you've had a chance to let me know your preferences.
As for what we'll chat about, that's the easy part. Whatever you like! Books, kids, homeschooling, writing, art, games, Flylady, Portland, spring, social media—really, anything goes.
I'm excited! Please don't be shy. Come say hi!
Expect another post tomorrow, March 1st, at 1pm Pacific time, with a link to the Hangout. Make yourself a cup of tea and join me for a nice little chat. :)