First of all – I say like a parent bracing their child for news of their divorce – I appreciate you all so much.
But I am shutting down Friendmendations, or at least going on an indefinite hiatus.
I started this newsletter when I had a full-time office job that involved hours of downtime. I couldn't be seen on Twitter at work, but browsing the internet for interesting bullshit was fine because it sort of looked like I was working. I was constantly bombarding my friends with the links and fun facts I found, and I often wondered if I was being annoying blowing up their phones all day every day when they had real jobs. I realized I could do something with all the recs that were piling up in my group chats.
And I missed having a creative project. I wasn't acting much, and I'd ended my blog Lizzie McGuire Reviewed years before. I subscribed to some great newsletters and felt jealous of the outlet they had to share their thoughts with an audience, so I decided to start Friendmendations.
Back then, I'd wake up at 5am for my hour-long commute to work the opening shift, which was usually pretty quiet for the first few hours. I drafted ideas in my Notes app on the train, and I worked on the newsletter to kill time on slow days at work. But I haven't had a job like that for a long time, and trying to keep the same format going hasn't made sense. Now I spend hours every week online actively looking for things for the newsletter, which feels a lot more forced, not to mention all the time I spend brainstorming and drafting the essay posts.
To be honest, I also haven't really felt proud of the content I've put out for a while now. A lot of recs posts feel perfunctory and the essays feel half-baked. I don't like putting out posts just because I have to stick to a publishing schedule. I don't feel like this post is particularly well-written, and that's why I need to stop putting out the newsletter. If I can't take the time to make it good, there's no point in forcing myself to keep doing it. I apologize if that sounds self-aggrandizing. Friendmendations is my Fresh Off the Boat, and I'm Constance Wu, throwing a temper tantrum in public because God cursed me with the responsibility of continuing the project I once loved.
Let me address some questions you may have at this point:
Yeah. Sorry. I've been formulating the idea for a while, and my thought was to stick it out until the end of the year and go out more gracefully than this. But I'm really drained creatively right now, and my time would be much, much better spent on a lot of other things, so I'm not going to beat a dead horse for two more months when the horse doesn't need to be beaten at all. Sorry for the unpleasant horse metaphor. You see what I'm talking about, with the being drained creatively?
Is this forever?
Maybe! I dunno. I certainly can see myself wanting to fire off a hot take in the future, or having an idea for an essay that I really want to devote some time to with no self-imposed publishing schedule to stick to. I'll keep all the old posts up on friendmendations.com, for sure, and I might put out a new post sometime in the future. Follow the Friendmendations Instagram to keep up with any updates.
(I'm @TheRealADri on Twitter, if you'd like to keep up with my random observations and takes on a more informal basis.)
What if I'm a paying subscriber?
I've shut off payments permanently, so you won't be billed anymore.
What if my payment just went through right before you sent this?
Email me and I'll refund you! Even if it didn't just go through but you want a refund, please email me and I'll refund you. I don't want anyone to feel ripped off.
Didn't you just take a month off?
I did, yes. Taking September off helped me realize that I'm more creative when I'm not on a weekly publishing schedule, and adjusting again in October was difficult.
What are you gonna do instead?
A great question. I don't have a solid answer right now, but I do have some ideas. I'm trying to break into a new field where I can write creatively for money instead of just as a hobby. Since I devote a lot of hours every week to writing this newsletter for almost no money, that time would be way better spent working towards a real career that uses those same skills.
Will you miss us, your beloved readers?
So much!! I'm so touched that people actually care about my writing and have supported me throughout this project, even over the last year when coming up with topics to write about felt harder and harder. Sometimes it feels like I'm just writing in my journal and throwing the pages out into the void, and then someone will reach out to say that they laughed at one of the lines or enjoyed one of the links I shared. It's a really beautiful feeling, and I'm so grateful to all of you for giving me that feeling.
I feel somewhat guilty shutting this project down, like I'm letting down everyone who supported me because this newsletter was ultimately a failure, but I've also felt guilty a lot this year putting out content that I don't think is all that great. Both of those feelings are probably a bit egocentric, as one person's newsletter is actually not that important. But I do feel a responsibility since there are people who believed in me enough to pay for this newsletter. I no longer feel creative enough to put out the weekly essay posts, much less quality bonus posts that make a subscription feel worth it. I've tried to keep it going as long as I could, but I do think it's time to call it. (Possibly past time.)
I've put out content (almost) every week for over three years now. Thank you so much for making it worth it. Hopefully I'll have a new project to share sometime in the future that will make this decision worth it, too. Until then, please know I appreciate you and am wishing all the best for you. Thank you for everything. ❤️