We invited Carissa Potter, who writes Bad at Keeping Secrets, to share insights on cultivating intimacy through her essays and interviews while being disciplined with deadlines and writing through hard moments.
Great piece, I agree it's so important to truly throw yourself into your work. All the best writers share this in common. It seems that it's a skill you learn over time though, understanding when and how to use your writing to truly express yourself. I'm still definitely learning how to do it - like all things it takes practice!
Thanks for sharing your process Carissa - amazing stuff! I wonder how you put word about your newsletter out in its initial days? It seems daunting without a large social presence. I'd appreciate your input on this, thanks!
Thanks Carissa - excellent advice! Your philosophy really resonates with me and I look forward to reading your material. As a - just beginning writer on Substack - it’s wonderful to see how folks have grown on Substack. I also work best with deadlines 😂
Thank you Carissa! Your writing and insights all hit the nail on the head as it were. I’m motivated to write a historical play and have the specific topic in mind but find I can’t start and get flooded with ideas. I’m going to be traveling and spending time alone soon in October and hope some magic happens then.
Great piece. It's a piece that teaches about consistency. It"s a piece that tells about the reward coming from throwing one's self into the work at hand. It is a piece that instructs on the need to share one's work everywhere. When a writer shares his or her work everywhere, rewards come from the consistency and the sharing and throwing one's soul into piece. Thanks for your invaluable insights.
In terms of sharing your work everywhere, I would be curious to hear, in due course, the impact on readership of being featured by Substack, and whether this is something to aim (lobby?) for at the right time. :-)
Great article, especially the part about reaching out for interviews on famous ppl. We're looking to start an interview series, so its greatly appreciated.
OMG! HOW did you get that many subscribers so fast?? It has taken me since the beginning of June to get to 20! What am I doing wrong? Or at least what are you doing that I am clearly not!
Love this piece! I’m curious, Carissa, what your advice would be when reaching out to interview potential subjects if we’re just starting out on Substack and haven’t quite built a substantial following yet. When you say, “Keep the first email short and put what’s in it for the person you want to interview at the forefront”, how do you suggest phrasing “what’s in it” for that interviewee?
thanks for sharing yourself, Carissa. one thing that discouraged me was that you had so many more non-paying subscribers than paying ones. has that impacted you and how are you dealing with it?
Looking forward to real carissa potter who writes literacy,to share insights on cultivating intimacy,through
her essays and interviews while being disciplined,with many dead lines,it's a great learning experience,looking forward to reading her stories.
I appreciate this article, if for nothing else sharing a conversation rate to paid subscribers of ~1%.
Carissa is clearly meeting people's needs with her free subscriber base.
So if it is not the creator nor the content, then is it the environment? The tool?
Maybe I am missing something with Substack's model...
I loved this advice, Carissa! I am new to substack and found this extremely helpful!
It is a great piece of insight into the hard work that it takes to run, at least for you, Clarissa, a small business, which is what you are creating. Not just being a writer, but selling something of value to your free and paid subscribers.
I do have to take this comment to task, as I fundamentally disagree, as would most philosophers:
"I have been thinking a lot about silver linings and our American way of thinking: “Hard things make you strong.” I don’t agree. I would choose to not go through the hard stuff if I could."
We don't get an option out of difficulty; as a therapist, and working more immediately in other service-related fields, hardship is necessary for the formation of character. Without it, life wouldn't have meaning; where everything comes easy to people, they often don't appreciate the simple things or the graces that are abundant in their lives; they look down on others with contempt and condescension, and they're smaller people for it. Life is better with hardship; not that we should aspire to it, but recognize it for the force that it is to mould and grow us into better, stronger versions of the people we were. Without the hardships you had experienced, would you really be able to offer the insights that you have to your readers? ;-)
“coastal female-identifying beings”? WTF is this exactly? Sounds like a hard pass. I identify as a bisexual panda so...
Hi Carrissa - you seem to have a super-successful personal brand, and I'm sure you've worked hard to create in all the right places. I notice @peopleiveloved has 752,000 followers on Instagram (bravo!), so I'm wondering if that was the well you drew from in accumulating your 16,659 free Substack subscriptions? Also, after reading a few of your posts, a thought (which obviously you can take or leave): as you're an artist and not a credentialed psychiatric/psychological counselor, should you include a disclaimer to that effect on some of your posts where you seem to drift into subtle therapeutic guidance/recommendations based on your own unique experiences or secondary Internet sources/creators? (and maybe you do this in your books and workshops). Your personal stories and vulnerability are very inspirational, but it's a slippery slope. What works for you may not work for someone else. (I'm a proud empath and HSP, btw.) I enjoyed your connections with Kimberley Wilson and trust her as a food/mind/nutrition source for advice given her own qualifications, which she clearly calls out on her About page https://www.kimberleywilson.co/about. Thank you for your work!