my Sunday Life column comes to an end…to make way for…

Posted on December 12th, 2011

…Well, a few things.

Straight up, I’ll be filing my final Sunday Life column this week.

Almost 130 experiments in how to make life better…you’d hope I’d have found an answer, hey?? I kinda have, but that’s for another time.

A publisher once said to me, “Never do a column for more than two years. The first year you find your feet, the second you find your voice and after that you repeat what you said in the first two years.” I tend to agree.

And as many of you who read this blog know, I’m not one to hang on to things. I like to move where my voice keeps fresh.

Photo by Elizaveta Porodina

So, from the New Year, I’ll be working on a bunch of new projects (TV and print), as well as ebooks.

Yes, ebooks.

I’ve been really rather thrilled with how rewarding ebook publishing is.

[For those new here, my ebook I Quit Sugar ebook went on sale about 8 weeks ago and has been hitting good spots around traps.]

Ebooks are a direct conversation. They help directly. They share authentically. They deliver what I want to share straight to where I want to connect.

Ebooks are new – according to Darren at Problogger, who is something of an international expert in this kind of thing, there are only about 20 or so bloggers making a living from ebooks here. So no one really knows where it will wind up. I’m the first “traditional” journalist to enter into it…I’ve been told.

Some general thoughts:

Media – and life in general – is moving faster than ever. Everything is speeding up. Flux is our permanent state now. I find this exciting.

They call my generation the bridging generation. We Gen Xers…we’ve had to bend and straddle and dance back and forth as we adjust from the ways of yore to, well, this new multifaceted, layered, messy, instant, constant, technology-based way.

I hand wrote my law essays at uni, but was the Tech Head in my office when the internet arrived while I was doing my newspaper cadetship at News Ltd. Throughout my career, as it has been for so many Gen Xers, I’ve been there, grappling, straddling, bending, learning, adapting – in the fray of it all – as media, and life in general, has gone through impossible-to-pin-down, technology-driven changes  over the past 15 years or so. We didn’t study this stuff at uni. We had to learn on the job, faking it to our Boomer bosses ’till we made it.

I was editing Cosmopolitan as the internet came and savaged advertising revenue and readership. I was a TV host when Twitter was finding its feet and experienced firsthand how snark unleashed works. (Prior to that I was in the US, before Twitter hit Australia, and wrote a feature for Good Weekend on these new online hustlers; I thought it was a brief fad.)

Now, after 15 years in journalism and 12 years writing columns in various newspapers and magazines, I’m here again, ensconced in the fray witnessing what’s happening to print media – mags, newspapers etc. I don’t use words like “collapse” or “death of”. Good reporting, conversations, research and opinion will always be important. We’ll just consume and interact with (this being the more future-oriented term) them differently.

And just as an aside…good journalism and writing is becoming MORE coveted during this time of flux. Populism is becoming more…heartening.

Watch how we “unfollow” people on Twitter or blogs who don’t share well researched, considered stuff. And journalists like Annabel Crabb, Mark Colvin and Leigh Sales have huge “fan” bases.

But how we interact has shifted. And it’s all, to my mind, about opportunity.

If you have something to say, you can do so more authentically, more helpfully than ever before.

There is room and appreciation of all kinds of voices. So long as they’re real and authentic. We don’t have to worry about frauds or the “death of” information. Faccid journalism and pretenders are sniffed out – and torn down – immediately in this online arena. Aren’t they?

Finally, I say above we’re in a time of flux, as though the balls in the air will one day land, nicely, solidly. No they won’t!!! This is it. Communication is a 100% flux-y thing now. We just move with it…taking our content, knowledge and care with us.

Which is a mild meandering.

Regardless. For me, ebooks and blogging have become opportunities to do and be what I want and to connect in a way that thrills me.

There’s a nice timing to this end of a chapter. A lot of changes are going to play out in the lifestyle media arena in the next few months…more sections and magazines closing, new ventures starting, new media operators appearing. We’ve seen Wendy Harmer’s The Hoopla take hold. And Mamamia has been striding forth, making lots of waves and is rumoured to be undergoing some big, bold, exciting shifts. Hoorah to that (and the chick factor going on here!).

THIS IS WHAT IS EXCITING: those with something worth sharing will win out.

The way media and technology works now, chaff is sorted, naturally.

People who don’t have “big names” can rise to the top. Nastiness and vapidity and ignorance doesn’t last. We share. We share things for free. We’re more open.

For some extra background reading:

As of May this year, Amazon now sells more ebooks than print books and has just started publishing books as well – cutting out not just the bookshops, but the publisher and agent, too. As one Amazon exec in the feature said,

“The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader.”

What do you think of this?

Amazon has started giving its authors direct access to highly coveted Nielsen BookScan sales data. Authors, then, can steer things, work out where they need to go for book “signings” and so on. More contact, more open, more sharing.

Seth Godin is the trailblazer in this field and is all about offerings direct to readers or fans. His interview here is interesting…his thoughts on giving your “art” generously have possibly been the most influential in my time writing 130-odd columns.

Mumbrella has also posted an announcement on his industry site.

Here’s to 2012 and fresh voices!

 

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  • Kate

    Hi Sarah, I have loved reading your column every Sunday, but change is always good and we need to stay fresh, no matter what our occupation.

    Good luck with your ebooking!

    [Reply]

  • Mia Freedman

    I’ll miss your column.
    M xx

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    Mia..please don’t stop your column either. I love it.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Thanks Mia! What a year, hey!

    [Reply]

  • http://facebook.com/thinkbeautifulthoughts Karly

    Good on you Sarah! I often hang on to things a little longer than I should. Need to take a leaf out of your (e)book.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.bridgetsflame.com Caitlin

    LOVE the quit sugar ebook, PLEASE do a paleo one!! :-)

    [Reply]

    Jessica Rabbit Reply:

    Yes Caitlin i would love that too :)

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Me too! Very new to sugar free and paleo but would love another reference.
    Love your work Sarah – can’t wait to see what you are up to in the new year.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.illuminateyoga.com.au Amanda Vella

    Exciting stuff for you, your fans, and readers and writers everywhere. Love your stuff Sarah but have to say: I think I’ve overdone the haloumi. ; )

    [Reply]

    deesal Reply:

    Me too! I actually went out and bought a sandwich press just so I could snack on grilled haloumi! Things we do in the name of ‘experiments’…! Luv it:)

    [Reply]

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  • Ian

    Congratulations Sarah on a great run in Sunday Life.

    Looking forward to your next creation(s).

    [Reply]

  • http://www.problogger.net Darren Rowse

    congrats Sarah – great to see another Aussie blogger doing so well! Really exciting news!

    [Reply]

  • Mia Bluegirl

    Congratulations Sarah! Good luck with your new direction & knowing when it is time to move on. I have no doubt you will go on to greater and grander things. xx

    [Reply]

  • Ross H

    All the best with whatever you decide to do next.

    [Reply]

  • picardie.girl

    “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader.”

    Obviously they don’t care about properly presented content – editors and proofreaders are already sadly undervalued and will be even more so if this kind of view is carried on.

    That’s to say nothing of designers (poor buggers).

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I disagree….writers will simply commission the subs and designers direct.

    [Reply]

    picardie.girl Reply:

    Well, as long as the writers are still getting it done! But that is not what the statement says. Regardless of who is paying whom, they would still be people involved in the ‘publishing process’.

    [Reply]

  • james m

    long time admirer/follower… you’ve opened a lot of doors, looking forward to what’s to come!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Thanks James…very kind feedback.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.sharnanigans.com sharni montgomery

    Congratulations on the end of a wonderful chapter Sarah, I am very inspired by your direction and look forward to following you where the next chapter leads!

    [Reply]

  • Lucy

    Will you still continue with your blog Sarah?

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    hell yeah!

    [Reply]

    Kat Reply:

    Woo hoo! :)

    [Reply]

  • Mat

    Sarah,
    Thank you for everything you’ve written. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your stuff.

    [Reply]

  • Lola

    perhaps a time to plan big steps. gotta love the new years approach for this very reason. love your blog & love the sugar free ebook – will be keeping a close eye on what you do next!

    [Reply]

  • Ivy

    How exciting Sarah! Thanks to you, well, a comment on your blog actually, I totally changed my life and health around 6.5 months ago. :)

    It’s been interesting that you have taken a similar path towards eating and health as I’ve done this year, first quitting sugar, then going paleo. My next step is quitting dairy… I think it’s my last issue to overcome to reach optimal-ness. :)

    Love your work, glad you’re still hanging around in the blogosphere at least!

    [Reply]

  • Trace

    Good for you Sarah, a very intelligent decision in your life. And another good article (I especially liked your interview with Nicolas Sparks). You have certainly given me an inside look at (coming in as a new writer) to the direction of our times.

    [Reply]

  • Helen McCabe

    Sarah
    You & Mia are trailblazers. But what will I do now on Sunday mornings when I need to know how to live a better/sweeter life?
    I guess I will just have to call you a lot more often. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
    Well done. I know whatever you do, you will succeed.
    Helen

    [Reply]

  • miss jodi

    hey sarah

    all the very best of luck with whatever direction you are headed. you seem to be ahead of your time and observe whats going on around you in keeping pace with trends and forging fresh pathways. good on you. its hard to navigate stuff with so much going on in the ‘netosphere’ and you have really stayed true to your principles while maintaining flexibility. there seems to be much positive change around and its refreshing that you are also moving forward with new directions.

    thank you for such interesting reading, have enjoyed your sunday life column these past few years and happy that we still get to share in your journey through this blog.

    stay buoyant

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I will. Thank you, Miss Jodi!

    [Reply]

  • Celia

    Thanks for such thought-provoking material Sarah. You’re right, it is a thrilling time in the world of communication, and I’m sure you will make the most of it.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.ordinarycourage.org Donna M

    Dear Sarah,
    I and my partner will miss you very much on Sundays mornings…I’m even a bit teary now!
    you are a beautiful shining light pointing to ways to live a more meaningful life,
    your authenticity will be honoured in a wonderful way and we look forward to what comes of that…
    peace and blessings xx

    [Reply]

  • http://www.mikewilde.com mike wilde

    Sounds like a plan Sarah !
    There’s a kind of irritation that comes with ‘ having ‘ to make things
    better and sweeter all the time .. IM not so HO
    Really enjoyed your take today on the state of all things media ..
    Truth shines from the page
    All the best,
    mw

    [Reply]

  • Penny

    As one door closes another one opens…congratulations on taking the traditionally considered esoteric concepts of wellness and wellbeing into mainstream media. Your print voice is real, considered and non-apologetic. Thank you for practising what you preach. I wish you all the best for your next adventure.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.kattate.com Kat

    My Sunday morning ritual has always gone something like this: sleep in, stroll to corner cafe, order a tea and yummy brekky and read Sunday Life cover to cover. Always saving your column ’til last – a little like savouring dessert and eating dinner knowing you still have that sweet treat to enjoy at the end of it! I will very much miss your columns, but will devour your e-books. They really are an easy way to share and connect.

    I do feel for traditional authors. They must learn how to adapt and promote their work in the new publishing world, attempting to cut-through the Twitter chatter to build their fan base. And I wonder how long the lovely little bookshops can last given the boom in e-readers and e-books. That being said, with change comes the chance to reinvent. I hope e-books and traditional books and publishing can both successfully co-exist.

    x

    [Reply]

  • Jem

    I’m a bit confused here. Sarah has put her own book on hold but is planning on writing more ebooks? Don’t make sense somehow.

    Oh well, I’m sure whatever is written will be good.

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    Yes, I would say writing either a book or ebook would require the same dedication & commitment. I have enjoyed your column each week and guess I will now need to visit this blog more often for updates.

    [Reply]

  • Doug

    Noooooooooooooh!

    [Reply]

  • D.

    I will definitely miss your columns.

    [Reply]

  • Caroline Overington

    Go get em, girl cx
    Ps: I am not quitting sugar for you or anyone else ;)

    [Reply]

  • Eugene

    I’ll be missing your columns too – though I hope the theme continues in some of your blog posts!! It’s going to be a challenge for Fairfax to find a replacement..

    [Reply]

  • linda

    I liked getting to know you through Sunday Life and through your blog – from time to time I don’t agree with everything you share- but 99.9% of the time I get a lot of benefit out of what you have to say. It’s made me think a lot about my own writing and what do I have to share with the world that could help others? all the best in your future endeavours – my thoughts and prayers go with with you

    [Reply]

  • http://www.girlonraw.com Robyn (GirlonRaw)

    Hey Sarah! I’ve only just come across your blog and it’s great! I am Aussie but live in Saudi Arabia so I’m not really aware of your writing work but I am excited for you with your ebook plans! I just completed my first digital product which has been a success and have 3 more in the making, and like you, are really excited for what this means for the future. I have a link to a really cool audio interview with Seth Godin on the future of writing and ebooks which if you haven’t heard I am sure you will get a lot out of it. If you are interested in me forwarding it on, drop me an email. I love Seth, and I’m sure you know of him too :)

    [Reply]

  • Lisa Ryan

    Thanks for those Sunday morning bursts of mindfulness. I still occasionally sit myself down and ask “how are my peeps”, inspired by that column you wrote a-g-e-s ago on checking in with yourself.
    All the very best for the next phase in your adventuring.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Oh, yes… inside people!

    [Reply]

  • http://wishboneenterprises.wordpress.com Genevieve

    Hey Sarah, at the start of the year I made a scary and exhilarating decision to move from a cushy living situation on QLD’s Sunshine Coast to Melbourne so I can pursue writing as a career. Your column has been part of my weekly routine; a comfort, nutritional resource, and a motivational kick in the pants too. I’ll miss it, but look forward to following your pursuits elsewhere. All the best for your new adventures!
    Genevieve

    [Reply]

  • http://oneaprilmorning.net Laura

    Thanks Sarah… for venturing forth with thoughtfulness & integrity – in your column and your plans for the future. I have loved reading your columns and I will be sad to see them end, but excited to see what’s next for you. xx

    [Reply]

  • http://www.theparentingfiles.com.au Tahlia – the parenting files

    Fresh is always good. Change is always good. And new and exciting ventures is even better. Just as long as we can still find you and read your thoughts and be inspired. all the very best for 2012. Here here /)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.prettyfluffy.com Serena

    I’ve loved your column – sad to see it go. But like you say, you’ll still be writing and creating in other forms – including here. Can’t wait to see what you have in store :)

    [Reply]

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  • Rebecca

    I think it is great the opportunity that the Internet offers but I think print will never be over. Print magazines are still far more popular than online counterpoints even though the latter are often free, and the former a little on the pricey side. There re also so many more possible opportunities to be creative with deign and functionality. I agree there will always be flux in both print and digital media, with popularity and argue for and against. I will always love the print version and others may prefer the space saving in ebooks. I love that the option is available. X

    [Reply]

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  • http://mummyissuespart2.blogspot.com/ Lee

    I am sad to hear that your Sunday Life column is no longer as I have loved reading it the past couple of years. That said, awesome that you feel it’s time to let go and move on to new things. I looking forward to watching you. And reading your ebooks!

    [Reply]

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  • Leanne

    I miss you! My favourite weekend column from the papers has now gone… I loved how your column always made me think about things in a different way and taught me to be more reflective, self-aware and mindful – many thanks for your company over numerous cups of tea. Best of luck with the new adventures.

    [Reply]