I have a side project I dearly love called The Hughsletter. It’s a weekly email newsletter where I share links to five things I thought to be beautiful, a link to a movie or book I really enjoyed, and sometimes, thoughts or reflections I am having then about how to take care of myself is a world filled with chaos.
Some people like it. I have sent out 81 issues, and have a little under a thousand subscribers. My friend Tara said it like this:
Sunday morning we were out in the truck before dawn, and my little guy said quietly from the back seat in an awe-filled voice, “It’s calming to look at the sky.” I looked up. He was right. That’s what The Hughsletter is for me. A calming break from the noise and chaos–a time to appreciate creation, all forms of it. It doesn’t get any better than that. There is hope in my inbox every Monday morning.
I believe that the world is filled with ugliness and chaos – that much is self-evident these days. But I also believe that the world is filled with beauty, but it’s far from being self-evident: It requires intentionality to search for it. And if you know that you will spend time surrounded by the ugliness, perhaps it makes sense to immerse yourself in beauty in order to have a well from which to draw.
About a year ago, I said that what I want more than anything else from my creative work is to create things for people who enjoy them, get pleasure from them and want to support them. I don’t want to create click-bait, I don’t want to be sensational for the sake of sensation, and I don’t want to build my creative life around pageviews, pop culture and deceptive headlines.
I had to leave Facebook to keep my sanity, and social media is a mess. The only way to build a following there is either to be outrageous, or to be outraged, and I don’t want to live like that. Instead, I want to create things that make people think, that help people see the beauty all around them, that fill them with hope, that give them strength to fight their battles.
And that is what The Hughsletter is all about.
It’s free, but some people pay for it.
I publish it for free, and it will always be free. But recently some people have opted to become sustaining members – paying around .92 an issue, or $48 a year – which pays the way for everyone else. Much like NPR, but without the annoying pledge drives.
Right now I am grossing about $7 an hour for every hour I put into The Hughsletter, and that does not count hosting expenses and other costs. But what it does do is tell me that people have invested in my work, and when I hit “send” on that email Monday morning, I know I wrote for people who paid money because they believe in what I had to say.
And that is something I never had on Facebook.
Ask your doctor if The Hughsletter is right for you
If you want to support me and my creative efforts, I encourage you to subscribe and then become a sustaining member of The Hughsletter. You get 5 beautiful things every Monday and no spam. My friend Kelly said this about it:
My inbox and social media feeds are flooded with information that raises my anxiety and stress levels. When The Hughsletter arrives, it opens a window and allows me to stick my head outside and take a deep breath.
I hope to see you over there.