Year in Review 2023
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2023 Year in Review

I had overly-ambitious ideas for everything I was going to include in this 2023 year-in-review post. And I realized that if I included all the bells and whistles and ideas I wanted to… this post would be ready sometime around June. And I realized, further, that I was basically trying to wedge all the draft ideas and projects-in-progress that I have floating around into a year-in-review post. Which is not the place for them! I’ll be content to let those ideas and projects percolate and grow in coming weeks and month, and share them here on the blog in their own time.

I guess that a year in review post is officially one of my new year’s traditions, since I’ve now done two years in a row (you can see my 2022 year in review post here). I love reading other people’s annual retrospective posts– I find it inspiring to learn about their own favourite experiences, lessons learned, and their celebrations and challenges. So I’ll use a few unaccounted-for hours over the holidays to put together my own contribution on an annual review.

What worked out well in 2023: things I’m grateful I was able to accomplish

Obsidian for Minimalists Course

  • Trying out newsletter ads! 📰
  • Moving from Gumroad to LemonSqueezy. 🍋
    • I’ve been delighted with just how much development LemonSqueezy has received over the course of 2023– they’ve definitely stepped up to the plate after the exodus of creators from Gumroad after Gumroad’s pricing change in 2022.
  • Amalgamating and moving my website to WordPress. 💻
    • After years spent maintaining a separate blog on Ghost and a main website on other webpage builders (first Carrd, then PixieSet), I finally made the move in 2023 to amalgamate my web presence into one single site using a WordPress theme from Heartenmade.
    • I’m glad I made this move overall, but definitely feel like WordPress’ strength is as a content management system. However, it lacks the sleek, minimalist, joy-to-use blogging platform of Ghost. That being said, I appreciate everything else about WordPress as a website builder.
  • Starting a new microblog/writing workshop space/short-form writing studio blog on Ghost. 🎨
    • I’m not entirely sure how to describe the space (I’m still figuring it out), but I’m trying a new approach of writing more casual, shorter pieces on a new mini-blog I’m calling The Studio by Elizabeth Butler.
    • Basically, I felt sorely tempted to start a Substack (since I feel like so many of my favourite online creators are moving in that direction), but Substack itself didn’t feel like quite the right fit for me. Nonetheless, I wanted a space that felt a bit more casual, where I didn’t feel as much (self-imposed) pressure to focus on optimizing every post for SEO, and where I could share a mix of inspiring quotes and snippets of my own ideas and works-in-progress.
    • Since I miss the aesthetic experience of blogging on the Ghost platform, and I didn’t feel like starting a Substack, I decided to build The Studio on Ghost.
    • At present, I think that I’ll likely use The Studio as a place for first-drafts and working through concepts, then will share more polished versions of my writing on this blog. However, I’m still a little murky on how the two blogs will work together… watch this space (and that space!) as I figure things out.
  • Keeping this side project running while being a person with a full (and at times overflowing) life. 🪴
    • When I read other people’s year-in-review posts, sometimes I can feel a bit daunted and suffer from comparison-itis. My small accomplishments seem to pale into comparison to theirs. And there’s a pull, sometimes, to say– why am I bothering to do this?
    • Why spend my small pockets of time on writing course material or drafting a blog post or marketing my business when I can’t do this full time? When my business (which I run in the nooks and crannies of my too-busy week) can’t possibly compare to another online creator who is able to devote their full time and attention to their business? Should I even be investing this time?
    • Then I’ll get a thoughtful, kind email from a student in my course, letting me know that the material has made a difference to them, and it feels like it’s worth it. It makes me feel warm and cozy and relieved and happy to know that all of this means something to someone, and is helpful in some small way.

What I’d hoped to accomplish in 2023 (but wasn’t in the cards)

  • More blog posts about Quiet Productivity (I have a bunch of drafts in progress, but only one blog post up on the topic so far).
  • A more regular rhythm of blog posts, and being more on top of sending email newsletters when I do have updated blog posts. Other options of email newsletters that send automatically from RSS (such as Buttondown) are on my radar, but I do otherwise quite like Flodesk as my email newsletter software.

Creator tools and apps I loved in 2023

My favourite reads of 2023

This is definitely an incomplete list– I’m absolutely sure I’ve left out some gems I enjoyed this year– but here’s an handful of some of my favourite articles that I came across this year:

What I’m hoping to accomplish in 2024

  • Launch a third course (if it happens in 2024, it will most likely be towards the end of the year).
  • Have fun experimenting with a new writing space at The Studio by Elizabeth Butler and finding out how that might change my rhythm of blogging here at my main website.
  • Keep exploring paid advertising with publications from other independent creators.
  • Maintain my motivation to continue creating content– even if imperfectly and at a slower pace than I’d prefer– and accepting my limitations as a part-time creator while also still making a contribution.

New Year’s-related posts from The Studio

If you’re feeling in a mood for reflection, you might appreciate this two-part post series on reflecting on the challenges and successes of the old year from The Studio:

Wishing you a happy end to 2023 and a wonderful 2024 ahead! 🎉

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