On Sunday we drove almost 2 hours each way to basically exist somewhere else for 2 or 3 hours.
And I don’t regret it.
In fact, I look forward to more of it.
Let me explain:
We bought a fixer upper fishing camp in Louisiana.
I even launched a newsletter about it (yes, using Curated).
The plan is to fix it up, enjoy it a bit, rent it, then eventually sell it.
But, one month in, we still haven’t stayed the night.
The first time we tried the power hadn’t officially been turned on (fun surprise), so we made it a day trip and pushed some of the furniture left by the previous owners around until we had a new layout.
I pretended to be the star of an HGTV show.
That’s been a little dream of mine ever since I visited the set of Trading Spaces when Laurie Smith was on it. She gave a great interview and I learned “toile” is not spelled “twall”… after the article was published.
We’ve been oversheduled the past few weekends and haven’t had an opportunity to stay there since. One simply does not ask children to trade in trick-or-treating in their new neighborhood for an overnight at Camp Lagniappe—yes, I named it.
Our neighborhood held trick-or-treating on Saturday, so that left Sunday open for a day trip to check in on things, turn the heat on, and prepare for my next HGTV session. Closet that should be a master bathroom, I’m coming for YOU.
I packed a few board games to keep there and we picked up some discounted pumpkins to carve. It was the one Halloween tradition we hadn’t managed to wedge into the previous week.
An almost 2-hour drive later, the girls were carving pumpkins on the back deck while Sal and I measured things and removed some large hanging racks in the kitchen. Just call us Chip and Joanna.
I also played my 9-year-old in a fierce game of Scrabble Junior and she beat me fair and square.
There’s no cable or wifi, so I intentionally planned to have some boredom relief options. Pumpkins and Scrabble Junior were part of that.
The cell reception is pretty lousy, too.
And, here’s the thing: after spending a few hours cut off from good connectivity, I’m not sure if we’re going to “improve” any of that.
What if this is a place we can go and literally cannot get sucked into the Internet?
It was unsettlingly peaceful.
The creativity that started sparking.
The fact that I held onto all the good letters until the end of our game and then couldn’t play any without giving away a wordscore to my delighted opponent.
I’m thinking that we—and anyone we rent to—could use the digital detox.
The newsletter lesson in this?
Can your newsletter create a space readers think of as an escape?
A reason to slow down?
Can you make it slightly unsettling in a good way?
A chance to pause and choose to ignore all the other noise?
Challenge: Create a newsletter your readers think of as a good habit. It should feel like a getaway they want to repeat.
Now, let’s learn from some people who create these types of experiences.
How Much Do You Care About What Your Subscribers Care About?
What really matters to subscribers? This week’s publishing insights examine cancelations, habits, engagement, and even morality. Take a look.
- Nieman Lab wanted to know “why do people cancel news subscriptions?” Here’s what they found.
- What makes readers willing to pay? Stephanie Kulke reports that Medill Local News Initiative found it’s regular habit, not page views.
- That’s not all Medill is up to, Mark Jacob writes that they are launching a subscriber engagement tool, too.
- Ever wondered what revenue strategies other publishers are trying? Aisha Majid with the Press Gazette found out.
- And, we’ll wrap it up with a moral question: Should publishers allow journalists to launch personal newsletters? Simon Owens dives in.