Finding Online Community

Here’s the cycle many are in right now:

We are feeling a little lonely, a little isolated, a little scared. We log on to social media to quell the feelings, and are bombarded with exponential graphs, images of scarcity, stories of ugly behavior and misinformation. We log off feeling lonelier, more isolated, more fearful. And repeat.

There are a lot of posts encouraging us to go outside, get some exercise, take a break, make a meal, and I agree with all of that. But I wanted to share a few places you can go online to find real communities, real companionship, without being bombarded with all the ugliness.

Might Networks function a little like Facebook Groups, but each network is an isolated community focused on a single theme (and they’re not on Facebook). All the community love, without the political posts from your cousin’s husband.

Here are a couple networks I love.

Better

Launched from Gretchen Rubin’s book The Four Tendencies, this one focuses on self-care and understanding motivation, yours and others. You’ll find lots of comfort and support here.

The Unemployable Initiative

If you have a side-hustle your working on, or dreaming about, the Unemployable Initiative has a thriving community of knowledgeable and experienced entrepreneurs. You’ll find lots of drive and motivation here (and check out their podcast of the same name).

Your Next Inspiring Story

A place to find and share inspiring stories. Books, TV, movies, podcast, TedTalks, whatever. If it changes your perspective or leaves you feeling hopeful, share it with us! You’ll find lots of happy news and media recommendations here. (I run this one).

You can explore other Mighty Networks here.

Download the Mighty Network app and jump between networks easily on your phone.

What online communities are you a part of? Where do you go to find your people? Let me know in the comments.

Front-Page Article in TRF Times about Redefining Family

I’m thrilled that the article about Redefining Family hit the front page of Thief River Falls Times today. She did a great job with the article. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a free e-version, but you can get a week’s subscription for $3 if you’re interested.

The First Days of Working From Home with a Spouse

Jer and I have worked from home together for over a year now. But the transition from me, working from home alone for five years, to suddenly having someone in my space all day, took a minute.

Here are a few conversations that helped the transition:

* Staring into space means I’m thinking, not that I’m open for conversation. Refilling my water glass is the same. As is pacing the backyard.

* Yes, it’s fine that I can’t have the TV in the background anymore because you’re in the living room. Maybe I’ll play old Office episodes on my phone next to me.

* This is how I work. I move from room to room. I move outside. I take all my stuff with me. It’s not how you work, and that’s cool. You do you.

A year later, I absolutely love sharing our space.

Things I learned that I didn’t expect:

*I love having a “co-worker” who is completely unconnected from my job, who I can be vulnerable with, who will talk through work problems with me. We find solutions together.

*I like making two salads or cutting up two apples and sharing one, and I like when a salad or apple appears on my desk for me.

*His music doesn’t annoy me as much as it did at the start, and I really love that he sings during the day. It makes my day happier.

*I like sharing lunch a few days a week and talking about work. We prop each other up.

*When I want to disappear into my own head, I put on headphones. He does the same.

*When I have a very important meeting, I let him know. During that hour, he is quick to attend to any dogs barking, delivery people knocking, etc. We exchange this service when it matters.

I’m an introvert, and I don’t often miss people, but I underestimated how much I would like having a non-co-worker co-worker next to me. Especially one that I chose, who I happen to like, who makes me laugh every day.

So, if you’re navigating these waters for the first time, good luck! Have some conversations. Establish boundaries. And expect good things to come!

3 Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Let’s add a little more levity to the day. Here are the last few books that kept me laughing.

Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

Both tragic and comedic, Trevor Noah shares his childhood in South Africa. Opt for the audiobook for his full range of accents, which makes the book even better.


Nothing to See Here

by Kevin Wilson

An unlikely nanny quickly learns that the children she is supposed to care for spontaneously combust. No big deal. They’re fine afterwards. Just makes for a tough nannying position. Unique, compassionate, and full of laughter.


Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory

By Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Short stories by the writer behind Bojack Horseman and Undone. He is brilliant, irreverent, and hilarious.


If you’re ordering books online, consider keeping a small business alive at the same time. Indie Bound ships titles to your home, using your local bookstore as the intermediary to the warehouse. Or check your local bookstore’s website. Most are offering curbside book delivery.

Good News Exists

It’s easy to binge on fear-based news. Fear works. Fear converts to more clicks, more panic, more views, and more money for the people who profit from such stories.

It takes more work to find the good stuff. You may need to hunt to find the stories that show us working together to solve the world’s problems. But the stories are out there.

Find a collection of optimistic new articles at Your Next Inspiring Story. And then, find more and share them with us. Let’s binge on the good stuff.

Good news

Interview with Cory Hepola on Redefining Family

If you missed the live interview on “Hey, It’s Cory Hepola,” you can hear the 10-minute podcast at WCCO Radio. Cory asked great questions:

  • What’s it like to write this kind of memoir?
  • What does open adoption mean?
  • How did you decide what kind of adoption you wanted?
  • Did your feelings change when you gave birth, like everyone told you they would?

You can hear the full podcast at WCCO Radio.

5 Free Ways to Support an Author (and 1 Step to Avoid)

Review the book online

Amazon and Goodreads will recommend the book to others, but only if it has enough reviews. How many is enough? It’s some secret algorithm that changes depending on genre, demand, etc. Rumors say 50-100 reviews are needed to break in. Who knows for sure? But more is better. 

Request the book from the library

Library readers will gamble on unknown authors. They read piles of books, belong to book clubs, post reviews, and buy books as gifts. Libraries have incredible reach. Go to your library’s Contact Us page, and request they buy a copy of the book. Then check it out to show them there’s demand enough to keep the title active. 

Request the eBook or Audio from the library

In addition to all the great reasons above, there’s more. For digital titles, the author gets paid every time the book is checked out. Usually you need to make this request through the library’s digital app (often Overdrive or Libby). 

Loan your copy to a friend

This does not deprive an author of sales, but exposes new readers to the author. Recommendations are great, but handing a copy over and saying “you have to read this” is far more powerful. Keep the story circulating. 

Join the author’s mailing list

Authors request to be featured by bloggers and other media hosts. It’s expected that the author will announce the interview to their readers, creating more exposure for the host. Both parties win. But to make it worth their effort, the hosts often want to know that the author has a substantial reader following. Add your email to the author’s mailing list to help them land new opportunities. 

Avoid messing with bookstore displays

Booksellers put a lot of thought into how books are displayed. If you move books or face them out, booksellers notice, are annoyed, and may consider not carrying the title. If you want to help, compliment the bookseller on their selection and let them know how much you loved the book.

And, thank you for being the type of person to read an article on supporting your favorite authors! How wonderful you exist in the world.

A Birthmom Podcast

There’s a brand new podcast by birthmoms and you need to know about it.

Twisted Sisterhood Podcast logo

I love podcasts for exactly this reason: people who have historically not had a voice now have a venue to share their stories.

The women of Twisted Sisterhood Podcast are thoughtful and educated. They hold deep discussions about the birthmom role, questions that no one asks and experiences no one talks about.

Listen to the Twisted Sisterhood Podcast. Rate it, promote it, and let’s share these voices!

NaNoWriMo

If you’ve ever considered joining National Novel Writing Month, but you haven’t committed, listen to this podcast from The Creative Penn.

The challenge: Write 50,000 words in the month of November.

The real goal: An exploration in time management, in the writing process, and in the changes that come with community, accountability, goals, and motivation. For solitary writers, it’s a way to experience a whole new way of writing.

You may hit that 50,000 mark, or you may miss. But more importantly, you may find new ways to write, new methods to keep yourself accountable, and new community members to join you in the process. And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up with the first draft of a your next novel.

Find your inspiration at The Creative Penn Podcast: Write a Novel In a Month – NaNoWriMo.

grant faulkner

This year I’m skipping NaNoWriMo. I’m in full book launch mode, and my November project plan is stuffed with tasks to launch my first book (coming January 2020.)

But maybe I’ll see you at the NaNoWriMo boards in November 2020!