Welcome to Human Stuff, a weekly-ish newsletter with over 23,000 readers that began as an experiment and has shaped into a writing home, of sorts.

Aura portrait, 2023; photographed by Radiant Human

I'm Lisa Olivera — a writer, author of Already Enough, creative, reader, therapist, mother, adoptee, sister, newly-learning potter, avid photo-taker... but mostly, I'm a human confronting all I don’t know while trying to practice what I’ve learned. Prior to starting this Substack, I shared daily on my Instagram account for years; social media just wasn’t the place for my writing anymore. I’ve also wanted to devote more energy to taking my writing seriously — to be honest with myself about my need to write in new ways, from different lenses than the “self-help” writing I’ve long done. That’s what brings me here — I’ve been writing this iteration of Human Stuff since early 2022, named after the monthly newsletter I started in 2018.

I love to write more than I love most things. I’m not the best at it but I’m devoted to practicing. My writing is dedicated to an honest exploration of the human experience — to human stuff, which can’t be summed up so neatly and spans a broad spectrum of topics. Sometimes, I write about what I’m moving through personally; other times, I reflect on bigger questions, wider themes. Sometimes, my writing flows; other times, it’s clunky; it’s always coming from a place of openness and curiosity, and it’s always a practice.

Here, you will find find essays, musings, lists, links, poetry, resources, questions, reminders, and other forms of creative expression aimed at taking an honest look at what it means to be fully alive, whether I’m exploring writing or creativity, self-compassion or something I’m grappling with. Every(ish) Sunday (I skip here and there, depending on life), you’ll receive a (free) Sunday Letter in your inbox. Once a month, paid subscribers will also receive a monthly post, whether a guide or an insider’s look at my process, that may shift as seasons do.

A taste of some of my most popular letters:
The Tenderness of Trying
Adjacent to the Edge
Tending to the Shame of Stuckness
Looking Straight at Everything

Some of the things I love: nature — writing — more nature.
Why would I pay for writing, you might ask?

I am a believer in paying creators when we receive from them, whenever possible (and I know it isn’t always possible!). When we support writers here, we aren’t necessarily paying for each piece of writing; we’re paying to support their work, their art, their labor, and their creative expression. For paid subscribers, your monthly contribution to my work supports me in creating sustainability, reciprocity, and capacity to continue sharing my writing in accessible ways. It acknowledges writing as my job (quite literally helping me pay my bills & student loan debt), and honors the hours I put into each week’s offerings with integrity. It helps push against the idea that “content”, writing, and the emotional labor/time/energy behind it should always be free. It supports my ability to work on book proposals/projects and write elsewhere. Paid subscribers also support me in offering no-cost subscriptions to those who need it (if that’s you — email me at lisaolivera@gmail.com to be gifted a subscription, no questions asked). Bonus: you’ll get access to an extra monthly letter and offering. And, if being a paid subscriber just isn’t for you, you’ll still get my Sunday Letters each week.

Recent letters for paid subscribers:
Behind the Scenes #1: On ideal and less-than-ideal conditions for creating
Behind the Scenes #2: Courage over confidence and fraudy feelings
Behind the Scenes #3: Money money money

My hope is that you will find these letters nourishing, supportive, informative, grounding, meditative, thoughtful, connected, and human. I hope it inspires you to take some time for yourself, scroll a little bit less, and just be. I so look forward to showing up here and sharing with you in honest, meaningful ways.

You can find my website here and my Instagram here.

Take good care,


$0/Mo: Weekly Sunday Essay

$6/Mo or $65/year: Extra monthly letter/offering, dependent on the season, capacity, and creative flow

$100/year: Founding Member — everything above, plus deep gratitude for your belief in and support of my work, as well as creating space for me to give free subscriptions to those who need it.

Each month, a portion of the proceeds of my Substack will be donated to an organization of choice.

*Disclaimer: Human Stuff is not therapy or a mental health service, nor is it a substitute for mental health services of any kind. I am not showing up in this space as a therapist — I am showing up here as a writer and fellow human. If you are looking for individualized support or therapy, please consult with your local mental health resources.

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Thanks so much for being here.

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A reader-supported weekly newsletter that explores and examines the wildness and wonder of being human.


Lisa Olivera 

Writer, author of Already Enough, mother, therapist, creative, human. Mostly here to explore and express the human experience with honesty, curiosity, and compassion. // lisaolivera.com