With a new year just having begun, I’ve been giving some thought to how I’d like to proceed in participating in the low carb nutrition and health community.
This might surprise you, but I consider myself a writer first and a nutritionist second. When people ask me what I do, I tend to say I’m a writer who mostly writes about nutrition and health, rather than a nutritionist who also happens to dabble in writing. I love writing. I’ve always loved it. (Even majored it in in college.) I am fortunate that I get to do it for a living: fortunate that someone out there thinks I’m good enough at it that they actually pay me to do it.
However, even though I do enjoy it, for me, writing is an arduous process. It’s not easy, and it never has been. However long you think it takes me to write a post, triple it, and that might come close to the ballpark amount of time it typically takes me to write. (Not including the time it takes to read relevant papers, if it’s one of my more science-heavy posts.) I can’t claim credit for this phrase, but it is absolutely 100% true for me: “I don’t like writing; I like having written.” Meaning, the process of writing—staring at a blank page, filling that page with incomplete, out-of-order, fragmented notes and thoughts, and slowly, painstakingly, turning it all into something coherent and readable—is a struggle and not fun. The fun part comes after that’s all done, and I get to hit “Publish” on my blog. (BTW: the two links in this paragraph are to a blog I had in a former lifetime, long before this nutrition gig.)
Aaaaaanyway, the point of my saying all this is, blogging is harder than it looks. It takes more time than you might realize. (Well, for me it does. I can’t comment on anyone else’s writing process.) All of that time—time I spend reading papers, learning about mechanisms, and actually doing the writing, which is what takes the most time by far—is unpaid. And that’s fine. It’s been unpaid since my very first post, back in 2012. From time to time, I mention that I have a PayPal account, and if anyone is so inclined, they can send a few dollars and/or cents my way to support and encourage my writing, and a handful of people take me up on it. (This is most appreciated, from spare change on up. Coffee, my best writing companion, isn’t free!)
And the truth is, I could use a little extra cash. Perhaps with good reason, or perhaps not, the skill of writing is not compensated to the same degree as some other professions. And that’s probably as it should be. I mean, it’s just writing. I’m not exactly performing brain surgery here. Or doing rocket science. (Or “rocket surgery,” as they say.) So it’s cool. I don’t expect to buy a summer home in Mallorca with income from writing.
However, I consider myself to be a fairly reasonable human, and I am not one to beg for money in return for nothing. In this spirit, a few people have expressed to me that they’d support me if I started a Patreon account. I’m considering doing this, but I’d like some input from you. If I were to start a Patreon account, what would you like to see from me? Support levels start as convenient as $1 or $2 per month—enough to provide caffeine & cream to fuel my writing, if I had enough supporters.
Some people might be willing to contribute that much simply to support my writing. But I’d like to have higher contribution levels, too. The issue is, I’m not sure what I could provide in exchange. There’s a reason you hardly ever see me in videos. (Tip: it’s because I hate doing videos, although a few do exist, such as here and here. [You’ll notice a massive weight gain and a big difference in my face between the two, thanks to the thyroid maelstrom I was dealing with. Doing much better now!]) I could force myself to get over that if you really, really want videos from me, but there’s gotta be something else out there. Content I’d feel good about creating, and content you would actually be inclined to consume.
I could start a podcast, but there are so, so, SO many low carb and keto podcasts out there now; I don’t know that I could differentiate mine enough to make it worth your time to listen. I’ve thought about doing a podcast for a while, but I don’t want to do one unless I can make it unique. Why would I want to become just one more in an already crowded sea of LCHF & keto podcasts? All I really have to offer is the kind of snark, sarcasm, and realism I offer on the blog. If I were to do it in podcast form, it would merely be the spoken word version of my personality, rather than the written form. (I bet the rants would be a lot more fun that way, though.)
One thing I can do is offer “sneak peeks” at my blog posts. Maybe release them to Patreon contributors a week before they’re published on the blog. But that’s only worth a couple bucks, at best. Maybe post links to papers I’m reading and new things I’m learning about? I have no idea. All I know is, if people would be generous enough to contribute financially to my work, I want to make it worth their contribution, and I don’t know if early access to blog posts fits that description.
If you have suggestions for ways I can provide worthwhile content via Patreon, please let me know in the comments or send me an email directly (tuitnutrition [at] gmail [dot com]). Do keep in mind, though, that I am basically clueless with technology, which is another reason I generally don't create my own videos. If I were to do videos, it would most likely be me, talking to a camera, or possibly narrating some slides or something. I know nothing about animation. I could learn, but that could take months, if not longer.
I’m also trying to strike a balance between finding a way to compensate myself, even in a small way, for all the otherwise unpaid time I spend writing blog posts, while not inundating you with ads and affiliate links. Would you be bothered if I did add a couple more affiliate links to the sidebars of my site? To my amazement and astonishment, I occasionally receive free samples of various low carb or keto foods, cooking gadgets, etc. Most of these have affiliate programs available, and with a few exceptions, I’ve mostly steered clear of these so far. If no one’s going to abandon ship if I have a couple more affiliates here and there, that’s one route I might go. Affiliates mean only that if you happen to buy something through my link to it, I receive a small portion of the proceeds. You are not and never will be required to click on any links, let alone buy anything. It’s more like the company’s way of thanking me for sending business their way, and maybe also a little bit your way of thanking me for introducing you to a product or service that was new to you. (Or if it's an Amazon link, it's probably something you were going to buy anyway, and by you using my affiliate link, I simply get a few cents from the transaction.) As I’ve done so far, if I do have affiliate links, I will link only to products and services I have used, myself, and the quality and efficacy of which I stand by.
Ultimately, the content is mine to create, and I’ll do only what I’m comfortable with, but I also realize that, oddly enough, I have an audience, and I’d prefer not to have readers abandon en masse because you get turned off by commercialization.
So I’m just looking for some input from people whose opinions I care about: my readers. It’s possible that I’ll keep things exactly as they are. No Patreon, maybe a couple new affiliate links, but mostly just the way things are now: a blog. Social media 'fraidy cat and huge introvert that I am, this option makes me the most comfortable, but I'm not sure comfortable is the best way to stay. I have no desire to be famous or become some kind of worldwide low carb guru, though, so keeping things small honestly probably suits me best.
What would you want to see from me? Videos? A podcast? Blog posts on specific topics? Live Q&As on Facebook? Something I’ve never even thought of? Send ideas my way. And if your response is, "Don't change; I like things exactly as they are," that's useful input, too.
P.S. I think maybe part of why I have a hard time thinking about tons of different things I can offer is that I seem to be one of a shrinking number of low carb/keto people who are willing to tell people the truth about how simple this way of eating is. I don’t create individualized meal plans for clients because I prefer to help people see how easy it is to eat this way without a plan. You don’t need any of the fancy-schmancy stuff people are trying to get you to buy…exogenous ketones, MCT oil, MCT oil powder for coffee creamer, ketone meters. Unless you have a serious medical condition you’re using this way of eating as therapy/treatment for, there are only three things—three things—you need in order to be successful on a low carb diet. (What are they? Read this.)
Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.