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- they’re fans of my work, so they get exclusive content, consistently, year-round
- they get beautiful little prints of exclusive stories in their letterboxes every month (if they are on that tier)
- they can see the creative process, from ideation to execution, which changes how they think about projects and making stuff in their own lives
- they get access to me to ask questions about things that I can help them with, from time management to project management, and decision making (and more besides)
- they themselves become inspired to dive in, take their hobbies and loves seriously, start member communities of their own.
Have you seen me talk about Patreon, and wonder WTF it’s all about, because I’ve never really explained it? Well, today’s your lucky day. This post is all about my Patreon community: Why I created it, what the membership program involves, and the kinds of ways in which members get value out of being members.
The background: Why a membership community?
In December 2017, I had a crazy idea: To stop wishing for more time in which to write, and just to do it. The barrier I faced was that I also own and run a company, and that takes up most of my time. During the week I’m on screens all day, which means that night-time writing is not a good idea, and on weekends I just don’t wanna.
So I hit upon a solution. The solution was to take a day out of my week, every week, and dedicate it to creative writing projects. In order for them to be beneficial, they have some rules: They need to be in forms or genres that I don’t normally write, so that they also function as professional development. As a writer, my natural form is the essay, so just about everything else is up for grabs.
Facing down the first day back at work in 2018 – which was a Wednesday – I was at a crossroads. I could go down one road, and go to work. Or, I could take the other road, and do creative work.
I chose the creative work, and haven’t looked back.
The reason why I created a Patreon and a membership community was for accountability purposes. It’s easy to bail on yourself. It’s easy to book meetings on a day that has nothing else booked in. It’s easy to talk yourself into having ‘just one day with clients’.
It’s not easy when you have members who take you at your word, who trust you, and who give you money!
Thus, the Patreon was born. And then all I could think was, What a joke, nobody will sign up.
But then they did.
Who are the members?
The members are digital nomads in Europe, regular folk in regular jobs, creators, authors, intrapreneurs, friends, and contacts. Readers, all of them. Curious, every one.
I love the members so much that I list them all right here on this site, by way of thanks. You can see them here.
What the membership program involves
People like you can become members of the community for the ridiculously low sum of $0.23 per week, which equates to $1 per month or $12 per year. It’s cheaper than a really, really cheap thing.
Like other crowdfunding platforms, you get rewards in exchange for your member dollar(s). The rewards you get depend on how much you kick in. But unlike crowd-funding platforms, Patreon gives you continuous, consistent feedback and interaction; the ability to share your thoughts with me and the community; and the inspiration to maybe do this yourself.
As a #LeticiaWrites member, you get insight into the writing process week to week, whatever that involves. Over the past year, it’s been through discovering new planning and production methods, research, planning, writing, and, uh, agonizing. It’s been celebrations and pitfalls, the emotional rollecoaster of a creator. And it’s been through the development and completion of one screenplay and the first stage of my next book.
At its very basics, for just $1, you get access to all of the written posts every week, and you also get a private podcast, with weekly episodes. And while it’s not just for members, you also get the #LeticiaWrites Telegram channel. In fact, if you want a taster, go join that channel to see the kinds of things that come out every week.
Members also get access to all the locked-down content on this site. Throughout this year it’s been mostly Patreon content, but in 2019 that’s going to change.
The rewards scale up. When I released the Flash Fiction of the Month Club – which I did because I want to do fun things, and also make things – a bunch of members upgraded to take advantage of it. Which is the benefit of membership: You get first access to all the new things that I launch.
As a member, it’s a lot of you getting access to things and not having to do stuff. Though, the feedback that members have provided, by way of comments, suggestions, thoughts, and ideas this year has been absolutely priceless.
How members get value out of the program
This is a tricky thing for me to write, because I am largely guessing. But here are a few ways in which I know that my members gain value:
What I’ve gotten out of Patreon
Running this experiment throughout 2018 has taught me so much. One of the key ones is that it has fundamentally changed how I view what it means to ‘earn a living’.
To get all of them, subscribe to get posts by email so you don’t miss any. Coming up over the next month is a series emerging from what I’ve learned. And a sneaky special offer for Patrons… but details about that soon.
If you want to become a member of the #LeticiaWrites community, here’s what to do
All you have to do is go to Patreon and sign up. You’ll immediately get access to the archive of posts and podcasts, so you can spend some hours reading through and seeing the development of works.
Got questions? Want to know something I’ve left out? Leave a comment below, or send me an email. I reply to every single one. 🙂
The first flush of deactivating my Twitter account was wonderful. As I wrote in the very first post in this series, it was a rush of freedom, of oxygen, of possibility.
The process of extracting oneself from social media appears to be following a common pattern. I noticed it when I left Facebook; and I’m seeing the same thing now that I’m absent from Twitter.
That pattern is:
- Visitations of guilt from others
- Questioning whether you’re actually doing the right thing; find ways to reinforce the New Way
- Discover your own version of the New Way
If you’re an addict, or you live with someone who is coming out of addiction, you might also recognise this pattern. This is the same pattern that I saw in my husband’s behaviour in the first two to three years of not drinking.
Paradoxically, I did share the first piece on this topic on Twitter, using my ‘Leticia Work’ account. Initially, I heard nothing: Quietude.
But now that I’m just barely 3 days in, I’ve started getting tweets and follows in response. Those who have started realising that I have a Work Account have ported themselves across to follow me there.
And then this morning I got this anguished tweet from one of my dearest and most wonderful friends, who, by the way, I met online more than ten years ago:
And you know what? I agreed that it’s ridiculous! What IS that?
You’ll notice this, though, that it’s a visitation of guilt. My own immediate response was also of guilt. It occurred in a rush of feelings about letting people down, abandoning them, wanting to supplicate them.
Usually, my immediate action would be to reactivate. It wasn’t today. Instead I replied, ‘temporarily!’ (which ultimately may prove deceitful, but right now I don’t know which way this is going to fall out). Regardless, right now I’m on a self-care jag, and the truth is that as much as I love these people, we are still connected in meaningful ways.
If I were to jump back in right now, then I’m giving into guilt, which is one of the seven faces of Mulengro. This is something that I’ve made a commitment not to perpetuate.
The second thing that happened was that I noticed the #LeticiaWrites hashtag.
As I write this – Wednesday – it’s a #LeticiaWrites day. What I realised is that I haven’t done the thinking about the elements of which my platform is comprised if Twitter isn’t part of it, how I might use them, and what this all means.
Therefore, one of the first things I’m doing today is working on the New Way. Once this is in place, I’ll be able to settle into the method, and can let it ride for the following few weeks as a test.
How you can follow me for the next little while instead of on Twitter…