1004 Comments

What was going on in your life when you got started on Substack? We'd love to hear the story.

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I started my Substack at the same time I shut down a marketing newsletter I'd been writing weekly since 1998. I transitioned a good many of the subscribers on the original newsletter to the Substack, which is on a different topic but one that subscribers had seen my views on.

Had I not started the Substack, I would be mourning the old newsletter and feeling a bit lost. But now I'm excited about tackling new topics every week (how our society misunderstands and disparages introverts) and I'm full of energy and optimism.

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Fellow introvert and I'm subscribing!

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Thank you for this. I am on my way to your Substack. I am the kind of introvert who considered the two-year period of lock-down during the pandemic as--FINALLY--an acceptable excuse to stay at home.

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Me too! I loved the fact that I didn't have to attend parties, conference dinners or family gatherings (because there weren't any)!

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I too felt the pandemic an award for finding my introverted birth identity and finally needed no excuse to indulge myself to stay home with me!

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Another introvert who just signed up for a free subscription. Thanks!

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I also moved to Substack to let go of my marketing-centered newsletter I'd been writing! I didn't make quite the leap of changing topics entirely but I love that you went into exploring introversion. Subscribed!

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I’m an introvert in many ways - I can be outgoing but I write about being a homebody and a hermit in my personal stories. So I suppose that makes me check the introvert ( and comfortable with it) box. 🙏🏻

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I so agree with you. I was shamed out of my introverted self... so I have the capacity to be extroverted, however, I prefer being introverted and capable of being external if necessary or required for a time.

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Another fellow misunderstood introvert. I’m subscribing too!

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Also fellow introvert (looks like we're in good company here) and very excited to join this (quiet) revolution.

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I remember you! You were so prolific. Didn't you use to write for Writer's Digest?

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I did write for Writer's Digest a few times and did a book on magazine article writing for their book division.

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It's so good to see you on Substack. I know you'll do well. And I subscribed!

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So cool. Glad you made the move to Substack, Marcia!

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Fellow introvert. Subscribing!

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I'd like to compare notes at some point, I have my own introversion blog but it's been dormant for years. The BBC found it once and interviewed me for their website, that was kind of fun.

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I hear you Marcia on the introvert concept. I'm curious: how do you believe society misunderstands?

I believe society disparages due to how it perceives others as being selfish, when those others often time are doing what is needed to nourish Self. Ex: friends ask you out for drinks, you say you're going to get a massage, they say "c'mon, you can get that massage another time!"

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Roman, There are dozens of ways in which introverts are misunderstood, and each week I tackle another one. For example, introverts are often seen as aloof, because they don't like to engage in small talk or don't feel the need to get enthusiastic about everything other people are saying. For another, introverts are often thought of as incapable of leadership, because the dominant image is of a commanding, rah-rah, expressive leader. Introverts are even tagged as mentally ill when they enjoy developing their inner world or dedicating themselves to some demanding art - like Emily Dickinson, my focus next month in the newsletter.

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When I read Quiet, by Susan Cain, I realised for the first time that there wasn't anything wrong with me as a child.

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Cain's book was a turning point for me too. I wrote about that in one of my posts.

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Marcia! I just subscribed. I'm a cartoonist who made a zine about introversion years ago and it's always been my top seller. I couldn't agree more that introversion is incredibly misunderstood and often disparaged by the world at large. I've had so many friends feel threatened by the fact that I've chosen to stay-in on weekends "without an excuse". It's really tiring to constantly feel like you have to explain that you don't need an excuse to want to relax at home.

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The best conference dinner I attended was one I couldn't get to. I spent the evening in a restaurant where there was only one other diner and the Evening Standard. Sheer bliss!

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Delighted to find you here. As a senior introvert who just moved into a senior community, I'm find this an interesting path.

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Thank you Marcia. Very true - I recently read Linchpin, and Godin describes the way many people see Modern Art. They say "I can do that."

That's not the point. The point is that someone, an artist, had to take the risk of doing that work, dedicating themselves, and putting themselves out there.

The risk is underappreciated and overly feared, and as a result so is the artist.

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I consider myself more of a mesovert.

As one who wasn't a big fan of small-talk, over the years I have taken to "listening" and "editing" small-talk to provide entertainment value to myself and others. As such, I think I have gotten the reputation of not being so serious.

For example: Say someone says the following:

"Harry needs to go see a doctor," someone says.

"What is it?" asked another person.

Here, I would inject "It's a professional who practices medicine on patients, but that's not important right now."

Small-talk does provide a valuable service as it allows us to "vet" fandangos from our lives. A "fandango" is someone who asks way to personal and intimate questions when first meeting someone new. The reason for small-talk is a way to signal to other people that we are normal, and establishing a baseline of what is considered to be socially acceptable.

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Seems right up my street, so I've just subscribed.

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I remember you from ages ago, and I think I even have a book of yours. Anyway, I just subscribed to your newsletter as (a) I always found your articles useful and (b) I'm an introvert too!

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I am going from writing op-eds to substack. I love it––all except there is no editor!

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I quit my very lucrative job and was having a total mental breakdown. Found Substack though a silent writing hour your community manager was doing at the time. Started writing to cope (as usual) and after my therapist recommended Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way I realized "HOLY SHIT. I'm a writer." Started writing a book, this newsletter, and it helped me survive!

Life changer. Super grateful.

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I use writing to cope, too (and help others cope). In fact, one of my Medium articles is titled, “The Best Thing I’ve Done For My Mental Health is Write Online,” and that is definitely the case!

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Writing is a great coping mechanism, and a great way to handle "downtime." On top of that, I think it is very constructive. Instead of consuming, you are creating something.

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Great way of putting it—creating not consuming. I'm feeling better already!

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I didn't know what else to do. Most of my life I didn't have people around that understood me very well. I had to rely on introspection. A purple Lisa Frank journal taught me how to cope. How has writing online been different for you? Do you change what/how you write knowing that it's not just for you?

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I was a journaler too growing up! I also wrote little storybooks I recently found from my childhood haha.

I don't know if it's good or not, but I never found myself filtering myself online when I'd write. I moved online once I found out my mom read my diary back in middle school cause she didn't and still kinda doesn't know how to work the internet.

I just ended up blocking all of my family on social media or making certain things invisible to them so I didn't have to hear them talk about me or what I was doing.

(Once my grandma told on me for saying I couldn't wait to save up for a Sims game in high school. I was later yelled at for insinuating that I was poor when we were doing fine (??????).)

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Dang. That's tough. My mom hates what I say about growing up too. It's got to be embarrassing for her to have me show my struggles under her roof, but us writers gotta write. 😭

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YES! We absolutely do! So sorry for the late reply! I'm glad I was able to find your comment again!

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I wonder how many of us have this same thought. I am guessing quite a lot of us do. We understand and get "parts" of one another, but rarely do we understand the whole.

I also believe that one of the things that attracts us to writing is introspection. We are self aware, seek for self enrichment and growth, and thus writing becomes an exploration of that. So you will find, I believe and hope, kindred spirits here. We may not understand you well, but in a similar fashion we can at least empathize because we ourselves are not understood either.

And that is also a drive of writing. The constant drive to be understood and to seek out others that resonate with that. I don't know if I have ever written "just" for myself, but rather in an effort to find others who also have a similar drive.

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Jimmy, I'd wager a lot more than can even admit it.

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This is exactly how I look at it. I write to express myself but am hoping someone can relate or wanna try something I mention or have something new to ponder on.

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Oh yes! Writing is my lifeline and outlet.

I remember when I went through my first big breakup and at that time I was flunking out of college and SO sad for months and.... All I could turn to when I felt so filled with sorrow was writing. It helped with the "overflow" of emotions and kept me stable and sane enough in a household that wouldn't allow me nor take me seriously about wanting to go to therapy.

I love writing and... I'm also grateful for it.

It's such an important part of my life and always has been!

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My sister, an author, recommended The Artist's Way years ago. Never got around to it, but, shit, if it prompted you to start a book and newsletter, I might have to revisit! What a great story, Natasha.

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Thanks Pablo... may I recommend...? Julia Cameron will be doing a session with LWS and they've given me free tickets... just use "NATASHA" as the code. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pursuing-the-artists-way-a-conversation-with-julia-cameron-tickets-392371041347

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Oh damn, I just clicked on the link and noticed I'll be in France at the same time. Too bad. The event looks great. I appreciate you thinking to send me the invitation though.

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The Artist's Way! Those morning pages really did it, huh?!

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Agreed!! I have been writing more than ever since I started with my substack (been writing on and off for years ever since I was a little kid) and it's been working wonders for my mental health

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There are so many people like us. Never realized why they write...

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What is a silent writing hour? Sounds intriguing.

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I'm not familiar with this one, but I think I have a kind of open-house silent writing time on demand with individual friends. I am usually writing or editing most of every day and if a friend calls and wants to stop by, I usually say yes but with the condition that they bring something to do. And, over time, even those who were resistant to the whole idea now call to ask if they can come over to do some writing--everything from personal letters to grant proposals. I started this when I was teaching at a small college in Michigan and a friend would come over a day a month and we would spend the day, in different rooms, grading papers and writing up class preps. I have found over the years that the work//writing energy of two or three people is really electrifying and I and whoever else is there usually get twice as much work done.

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So interesting. Thanks for the explanation and examples.

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I think I forgot to say a couple of important things. Sitting together in silence, especially writing silence, is a powerful path to friendship. How I discovered that is another long story. But the second thing I left out about the silent work time is that it's fun.

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This is something I might like to write about in my newsletter! Can you please email me your contact information so I can follow up afterwards? (marcia@yudkin.com) Thank you very much.

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It really is. They host mingles and other workshops as well.

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We would sit and work for a few hours, then break for tea and chatter, then back to it. I love it. I'm so hopelessly addicted to writing that I seem to do it all day whether I intend to or not, but to sit in a quiet space with like-minded and similarly occupied friends is a whole other kind of pleasure.

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It was! Sadly, they cancelled it, but it sent me on a quest where luckily I found The London Writer's Salon! Daily silent writing sessions, but LWS is SO much more. It's a community. https://writershour.com

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I miss the Substack Writer's Hour so much! The London Writer's Salon is at awkward hours for me in LA. Maybe they'll bring it back someday? 🤞

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Bummer Valorie! They're adding another hour!

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Oo that's great news!

Valorie- Same thing for me in LA. I always sit down to write just as they're wrapping up.

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Oooh, good to know! Thanks!

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Thank you! Just signed up. (And there are discrete London, NY, LA sessions.)

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Thank you so much for sharing this, Natasha!

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My pleasure Jessica. I'm trying to be a bit more vulnerable in certain areas.

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Oh I've been meaning to join the London Writer's Salon. I always think of it too late, but I've heard such wonderful things about the community.

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Do it. You won't regret it.

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Katie, I was pretty much resigned to losing a lot of my speaking gigs in the pandemic, maybe forever, and was working on a novel. I read about Substack, and had a eureka moment (voom, pow!) when I came up with the idea for Non-Boring History. I thought it would be a nice little side project for my spare time. Hahahahahaahahaha. That's a demented laugh, 18 months later. It ate my life. (not complaining! 😀)

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Love the concept of things that sound boring and then making them fun again...I do this with couples' communication by focusing on the fun conversations we can have, rather than fights that are determined by an outcome. Fun conversations don't have to have an outcome!

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I had a similar thought Annette! "Unruly Figures will be a nice side project for me" HA HA HA

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Annette - Just subscribed. Fabulous.

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I created my Substack three months ago right after checking my youngest child into rehab and learning I would be a stem cell donor for my brother (leukemia). I thought, “Dammit, it’s time I do something for me.” And so I am. This community is something I can count on regardless what storm I’m walking through!

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It really is such a great community. Great to have you here, Holly.

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Thanks, Pablo! Writing my stories is definitely a form of therapy, and I love it when one resonates with even just one person. And I'm learned so much from my fellow Substackers!

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I just posted this comment under Randall's comment, and I'm going to share it with you. See you on Release and Catch!

Collaboration

Connections

My first thought when I saw people offering to “collaborate” was that they were

trying to take a ride on someone else’s connections to build their own subscription list.

I try to be “skeptical, but not cynical,” but…

However, after getting more interactive last week, I found myself “collaborating” at some level with several people. “On a second thought" I see that I collaborate automatically all the time.

Collaboration might be simple as giving some input on the fly or as extensive as co-writing a piece on something of mutual interest.

I have begun to collaborate with Jack Bosma just by checking out the idea of "microcontent” and finding out that “200 words/1200 characters" isn’t nearly as restrictive as I assumed. Even Twitter would be doable if I use the tweetstorm tactic.

Yes, 200 words would often be TB:HI (TooBrief:HenceIncomplete), but as a tease or the lede (newspaper style) it could preview something that some folks would label TL:DR.

TBD, Holly and S.E have also collaborated with me, although time constraints in my life has kept me from addressing the spiritual questions on ThanksForLettingMeShare, and the central importance of a good sister in a sibling’s life cannot be overstated is something I wrote about after reading the opening of Holly R’s trilogy on stem cell donation on Release and Catch. And also the Midweek Musing on the return of her children who had flown the nest with a simple, “Looks like your “release” of them allowed them to be “caught” in their own appropriate developmental stage. And S.E. Reid has also been leading me down the spiritual path through her Wildwood Forest, via her Parables posts.

Late again today due to family issues, but grateful to be able to provide support instead of needing it.

I will check back later today, but the morning has drained my brain, leaving only a desire to answer the call of the mattress from my dark and silent bedroom.

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I was just sick of creating "marketing" type content and wanted a place to write what I wanted without worrying about keeping up with a blog.

I left for a few months to work on creating an income for myself, but came right back because I REALLY missed it and rebranded it to TRULY write whatever I wanna write because I LOVE writing and would love to create a community around my writing!

Just tired of churning things out for other people rather than a community by writing exactly what brings me joy!

Miss the more human side of the internet and wanna return to those conversations and feel with my newsletter, Tiny Moments!

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The upkeep required for a solid Wordpress site just got to be too much!

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I do have a Wordpress but thinking of abandoning it, in favor of substack.

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Yeah, I haven't abandoned it but my service expires next May so I'm trying to figure out if I should move to a different server or abandon it completely.

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YES, verymuchso! I have the "create your own layout" up on mine but it's SUCH a mess... So glad to not have to worry about all that!

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Hi Cierra, I 100% agree! Thanks for saying this, and I just subscribed to yours. Looking forward to diving in!

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Aww I’m glad it resonated! And thank you so much! I’m publishing the first of a “friday coffee hour” tomorrow where I share things I loved the past week (2 this one time) haha.

Also have a question lined up for the community to answer each week too!

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Felt this, Cierra: "...tried of churning things out for other people."

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Thanks! I definitely understand why it’s necessary at times, but I so so miss just writing what I want and makes me happy to share! Thank goodness for Substack!

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For sure. It's a great space.

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I HEARD about Substack a while before I started actually writing on it. It was in some article in the corporate press about how dangerous the platform was. I was curious to see what this apocalyptic engine that would bring about the death of journalism, as the article framed it.

Took about five seconds to figure out why they were in such a huff. The writers on Substack are doing better journalism, with fewer resources, than ANY mainstream outlet - bar none. The platform is only a threat to the lazy outlets doing shoddy writing.

Of course, there are many other writers on here that don't consider themselves journalists, but that's the idea that first introduced me to the platform.

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Hahah Dangerous indeed. Look at all of us writers assembling!

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If I didn't have to keep my day job, I would totally start a Substack for our small town outside of Indianapolis to work on quality local journalism.

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Wait, wait... as in Indiana? I'm from Indianapolis and have been there until 2 years ago! (Yaaay Hoosiers!)

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"We named the dog Indiana."

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Love that line

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Just outside of Indy, yep!

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As a fellow (expat) Midwesterner, I'd totally read that.

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I think it's one of the great potentials of Substack. I'm a free subscriber to The Dispatch, but I can see how Substack could revive local journalism in really important ways.

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You've really got me thinking here! The paper in our suburb is nice, but it's really paint-by-numbers, and not a lot of depth. If I'm honest, I only still subscribe for the crossword, and HS sports section (my son pays for his school).

I've always wondered if there's an appetite locally for more than what we get.

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Ohmygoodness! I grew up in Indiana- in the cornfields just outside of West Lafayette. My mom talks all the time about the loss of local journalism around there. A local substack reporting would be amazing.

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Right? But teenagers need to be taught, so...

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You know, when I was 14 I took journalism as an elective and it changed my life. Maybe this is a journalism class project just waiting to happen.

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I really just need to clone myself ;-)

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Anyone else catch the recent Joe Rogan with one of the founders of Substack? It was a great three hours of listening.

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I feel like I read that article! I was already reading a Substack from another author, but that apocalyptic attitude got me more interested in this platform, haha.

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Cole, I'm with you in that I heard about Substack from negative news stories, looked into it and decided it was actually a good platform for what I had in mind.

Gives new meaning to the old adage, "All publicity is good publicity."

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I began my Substack as a way of healing from an abusive relationship. I thought the writing would be just for me, for my personal healing. However, as it turns out, I've resonated with hundreds of people and have now helped others heal by providing them with encouragement and education on all aspects of domestic violence. It's been quite a rewarding journey, to say the least!

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I applaud you, Jenny, for rewriting your story. What you're doing is powerful and reaches so beyond your own healing. As we share our stories, we create new narratives and new possibilities that not only transform our lives, but transform the lives of others as well.

Just looked at your Substack and you have clearly been doing this work for quite a while, so you know well the impact you are making.

Are you attending the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago next August? I've presented at the last two (once as a presentation, the other as a workshop, both based on this: https://www.academia.edu/25660899/Reframing_Bible_Stories_for_Battered_Women) and don't think I will again because this is not the focus of my work these days. And, they are requesting proposals be for panels. If you're not already going to be there, perhaps we might talk? I'm very interested in your work.

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I'd love to talk, Jan! I hadn't planned to go, although I do a strong contact in Chicago (Fr. Chuck Dahm of the Domestic Violence Outreach Program), he may be going. Anyway, let's chat! That would be great. You can reach me through my contact form, which will enable us to exchange email addresses. https://www.createsoulspace.net/contact.html

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Awesome, Jenny! I’ve had a similar experience writing about mental health, and learned that sharing my wounds and what I’ve learned not only helps me heal, it helps others heal, too.

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Incredible story of turning a positive into a negative. Glad you've been able to help and heal, Jenny.

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Powerful, Jenny. Love it.

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My husband and I had closed our bike shop + coffee shop, I had left acting and was reconsidering the interior design business I had started. We spent the next two years on the road traveling and imagining what was next. I kept finding myself returning to this idea of building a platform for myself where I had full artistic autonomy- I could create with freedom, in my own voice, so that those who spoke my language could find me. The first step was a writing project I wanted to launch and I kept coming back to Substack. I loved that it was exactly that- my own digital home- plus a built in community. This June, Outsourced Optimism was born!

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Sounds perfect for me…love your title and concept and just subscribed!

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Thank you so much Wendi! Cheers to all our life changing endeavors.

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Hi Tami! Your 'Stack looks right up my alley, and I see we both follow Suleika. I just subscribed to yours!

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Thank you Jessica! I do think Suleika is a perfect filter/ algorithm recommendation "If you like Isolation Journals, you will like Outsourced Optimism."

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Thank you! I look forward to diving into your journey as well.

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Oh...subscribed!!!

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From one traveler to another, welcome aboard!

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Just subscribed to yours too, Sarah! 100% here for all the travel content.

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Thank you! And I'm working on it. If only I could quit my day job and travel full time ;-)

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I had moved to New York in September 2020, had nine months of sobriety (the longest period of my life) and was writing about it and doing a Daily Gratitude List. I started my Substack newsletter about a year ago (https://thanksforlettingmeshare.substack.com) and the podcast in March. This is kind of becoming my primary pursuit and has changed my life. That's a good thing because it's also what helps keeps me sober.

I love it here,

Randall

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I love to hear the "backstory" and I'm glad you shared yours. God looked at my plan for the day and laughed, so I just posted a hastily written piece about "collaboration" in general and am calling it a "morning." See you on ThanksForSharing.

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I started Unruly Figures a few years after finishing my Master's. My advisors had talked me out of getting a PhD and becoming a professor for all the usual reasons--the adjuntification of higher ed, low pay, terrible hours, instability, low research/journal readership. One advisor told me, "You're a good storyteller, find a way to take teaching into the public sphere." I moved to LA thinking that I'd find a way to work at the History Channel or on historical fiction movies/TV shows, but it wasn't working out. Eventaully, I realized that if I learned how to make a podcast, I could just make the stories myself instead of relying on someone else to give me a job. Unruly Figures was born just about a year ago!

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That's awesome, Valorie! I wonder how many of us culture-writing Substackers are on the run from academia. Even though I'm in some ways on the inside of academia, I also consider myself among those on the run from it! lol.

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I suspect that it's a large number, just from looking at today's thread!

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I love the premise of Unruly Figures! I am actively breaking out of my rule-follower/ afraid to get in trouble patterning and surrounding myself with stories of fellow independent spirits and visionaries who create their own way by making their own rules. Subscribed.

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Heck yes, I love this! That's one of the best things I've gotten out of making this podcast--the courage to know which rules I'm fine breaking and which ones I want to adopt for myself. Welcome!

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YES to making the rules. I really want to write serious analysis of genre fiction (mystery, thrillers, romance) but it can can be hard to find places to do that. So a friend and Ij just decided to start our own substack devoted to Louise Penny.

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I'm going to need a link to that substack. 👀

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LOL. I'd ask you to contribute but I know you have a book to finish.

https://notesfromthreepines.substack.com/p/coming-soon?showWelcome=true

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It's due September 1, so I'm wide open after that!

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I started my newsletter 10+1 Things while I was going through a rut in my life. I was jobless and my health was bad due to bad habits. I decided to start my newsletter as a way to have some discipline and routine in my life. I structured it in such a way that it kept me busy by reading, writing and research on topics I care about.

I started it with zero audience and fast forward now, I’m close to 2000 subs with a community of readers that I love my work. I still remember my days when I used to showup on writer office hours every week to collaborate with others and grow my newsletter. I’m so grateful on my experience and cannot thank enough the team behind such a great platform.

P.S: If you’re starting out, don't worry about the numbers and just follow the process. Happy to help and collaborate with others on this platform!

Link: https://rishikesh.substack.com/

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Cool Rishikesh! I've just subscribed!

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Rishi is great to collaborate with & 10+1 is well worth your time.

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This is awesome! I also started from a familiar space having never been fully consistent with my writing practice. A regular cadence and commitment to writing have helped me think better and sharpen my writing 'pen'

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What a great success story. Thanks for sharing, Rishikesh.

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If I'm double posting I apologize but I think my original reply got lost. Anyway, the past 2+ years have been intense and difficult for all of us plus I've been doing some challenging work projects remotely. I've been active on Twitter for years and started to notice mentioned of Substack this year. Then some Twitter friends started their own and... something just clicked. I needed something significant to focus on outside of work.

I blogged regularly 10 - 11 years ago but binned it all due to time commitment and other priorities. Yet blogging was so exciting and fun at the time and I have missed it on some level.

So I dipped my toe in the Substack pool back in early May 2022, then my foot, my leg and... well, I'm neck deep now! The challenge of building a publication and an audience hit me in the right spot. Fumbled around for the first few weeks, got educated and connected with this great community (and others), hit upon a publication schedule, did a bunch of hustling... here I am! It's been wonderful to feel such enthusiasm for something old again (writing, creativity, etc.) but with an appealing new face and process.

That's muh story ('til I need to change it for legal purposes).

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I set a goal for myself to lead a climbing expedition to a particularly famous Colorado peak. I originally intended the publication to be a kind of journal, detailing my progress as I worked to master the sport. A few things happened right after I published my first post.

1. I got a promotion at my job in news. The pay and hours were better, but I was under more direct supervision. I was getting told a lot that our audience probably didn't care about the outdoor stories I was pitching and wanted to write about.

2. My friend and I wound up saving a lost hiker from a really dangerous situation near a mountain peak.

I realized that I had a deep need to tell these outdoor stories, and if my job wouldn't pay me to do them, I'd do it myself. I also was terrified of seeing myself become another outdoor influencer. I want to be the person knitting together a great community. Over time, I launched a podcast to do interviews with the people I met. Then a few months later, launched a dedicated news section to my Substack. I've actually had some pretty big exclusives recently that I'm really proud of!

It's definitely not the publication I first envisioned. But I'm happy with where I'm going!

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That's a fantastic story - congratulations on all you are achieving, indoors and out!

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Hi Katie,

For me it was early 2022, and my aunt had gifted me a subscription to The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad. I had a very rough last few years health-wise, and my aunt thought this newsletter would help me by reading stories on healing and also inspire my writing.

A couple of months later after a loving but messy family Zoom happened, I woke up with endless emotional thoughts racing through my head. From sex and family drama to work woes and hangovers, and I wanted to write them down. That's how my Substack, Morning After Thoughts was born! https://jessicabsokol.substack.com/

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I think Isolation Journals was my first introduction to Substack too!

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I was a Medium writer for about 2-3 years. Although Medium was a great platform, it's algorithm made it difficult to stay connected to my followers and it's pay method was largely dependent on how many likes and comments you got. So it was like Instagram. It's algorithm was mostly based on hyperconsumption and it got tiring having to feed that bottomless pit only to make less than $70 a month.

I eventually decided to try my hand at Substack and start fresh. I figured I would divide my time and attention between this and Medium, but I was tired of the Medium's algorithm and left completely (though you'll still find my page up and running).

I've been on Substack for a year now but I've really been struggling to grow my following. Does anyone have any tips?

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I've kept a foot in Medium, partly to draw readers here. That has done at least as much for me as say Twitter (ugh, but necessary evil!) and FB. I have been careful not to replicate--I write different pieces for the two platforms. I put a LOT more effort in here, and it has paid off. It is slow though! But it's growing.

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Hi, Bih,

People connect with people. My first suggestion would be to include your name (real name, full name? not sure what Bih is) in your bio and then say something real about yourself. All marketing starts with finding a way to connect to your audience and your bio is the first place to do this.

Food for Thought is a good concept and I'll give it a read. And, honestly, I would slip right by it if I hadn't just met you here. Sounds like you really have something valuable to share and I wish you the best. Put yourself out there and let folks connect! :)

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Jan, as someone who relocated very far away, the concept of "finding home" resonates. Thanks for sharing-I'm also working on building my newsletter following and my writing community. Will check out your posts! -Julia

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Thank you, Julia! Now I'm curious about your relocation and "very far away." Hope we connect again!

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Ha! I moved from Brooklyn, New York (where I grew up and have spent most of my life) to Anchorage, Alaska. I'm a public defender and had a great job opportunity there in an office that really cares about its employees, as well as our indigent clients. I love it and have decided to put down roots, but resettling is always hard. I just bought my first house (!) and am exploring what it means to build a true home.

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Ah! I was wondering where you grew up. Putting down roots in a place so far from your original home is quite a feat. Congratulations on the new house! Wishing you the best as you create home. - Also, I admire the work you're doing. There's a lot of "home" in that work as well.

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Thank you for your suggestion! Also 'Bih' is my first name. It's a twin name that's popular in Cameroon in West Africa.

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Similar story, which I wrote about at length in my Substack launch piece. If you're interested: https://agowani.substack.com/p/welcome-to-the-party-pal.

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They suggest converting followers from other social media platforms by promoting your Substack there.

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Any tips on how to do that on Twitter? I'm mostly talking to myself on there.

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It's near impossible to get any attention on Twitter without being extremely inflammatory. I've heard several times (but not tried yet) that Reddit forums/groups are a good place to build community. But my understanding is you have to be careful about self-promoting because people get mad.

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I've had some small accomplishments (as defined within the literary genre) what with books and essays in fancy journals, but as my 70th birthday approached I started redefining what success means. And I've grown impatient. I had written this environmental thriller and just didn't want to go my usual lengthy, full of rejections route to possible publication. So three days ago, I started serializing it here. I'm so glad.

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Wow! I love the concept on your 'Stack. I just subscribed!

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That's awesome!

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Thank you all for joining today and sharing your stories! Today is our 50th (!!) Office Hours. I just went back to the first thread (https://on.substack.com/p/office-hours-1/comments) and it's so cool to see some of the writers who joined us that first time over a year ago here in the thread today, Jolene, Annette, Geoffery, and Sarah to name a few.

I appreciate you generously showing up to Office Hours, it has become a highlight of my week.

See you next week for more celebration at Shoutout Thread!

Katie, Bailey, Chris, Reid, John, Quinn, Tian, Michelle, Andew, and Sam

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CONGRATS to the community team and your 50th thread! And so awesome to know that there are some regulars who were hear 50 conversations ago. Thank you for all you do, community team.

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What have you learned about using the free preview paywalls? Anyone give the new audio paywall a spin yet?

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Free preview paywalls seem to work well when coupled with a seven day free trial offer. The key with previews seems to be to provide enough content to not irritate free subscribers who receive the preview. There should be some value in reading the preview for those who choose not to go paid. As a reader, I get annoyed when I receive a preview that hits a paywall a sentence or two into the email. That’s wasting the readers time imo.

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That's always a tricky thing to balance. You want enough to entice but leave enough so that there's value for the paid subs. To your point, though, you don't want to turn off readers who get cut off before they even get going. I haven't figured out this strategy yet, which is why I haven't yet gone paid.

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Most of my paid content is long form (often 4000-5000 words) so I can offer a 500-1000 word preview that has value without making the paid subs feel like they aren’t getting enough. It’s definitely a tricky thing to get right.

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Checking this out, but what is intriguing me is the idea of (in the next six months or so) putting my Archives about Jane Austen and classic lit behind a paywall (but to provide free access for any teachers, who can just email me and let me know their place of work.) So each post/essay would be free for two weeks, then go behind a paywall. If anyone has tips or stories on this, would love to hear them.

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I've ben on the fence about using it, mostly because I can't decide on what period of time to use. A week? A month? Hoping others that are using it will chime in and share how it's worked for them.

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So true. Totally agree

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Not a fan of paywalls. I use a NPR member supporter model

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Cool! My day-job is in public radio and I'm very interested in our Substack community observing what we might learn from (and also how we might diverge from or improve on) the NPR model, which has been going strong for 50 years based on simply reminding community members regularly what they are getting and asking them to pay for it, if they can afford to do so. It seems to me the NPR/publicmedia model is more about regularly communicating the relationship/collective/community we've created, and regularly issuing explicit invitations and ways to join/support it. We need a conference with Ira Glass, immediately!

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Gonna start using that next month! Just went paid and need to announce it and everything next month once I play a little catch up the rest of this month)

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Hello Cierra. Not sure who to ask but I don’t know how to add a new article? I have one posted and I don’t know how to add another?

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Ah you mean like a new post? Should be on the right hand side after clicking “dashboard”

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I haven't tried to audio paywall yet, but I'm excited to! Free preview paywalls in general haven't done much for me--I think I converted one person to paid with one. No one has unsubscribed after encountering one though!

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Paywalls are the reason for my conversions, they rock!

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I usually dangle 700-1,100 words of content on the free side of the paywall and then ~2,000-3,000 words past the paywall. It's enough that it's a worthwhile read for people who are exclusively free subscribers, while also still having enough on the other side of the paywall to feel like you got your moneys worth if you paid.

Also important to restrict certain types of content to always being behind the paywall, so that you (the author) can give a coherent value statement about what you (the reader) will get if you pay to subscribe.

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I will check the new audio paywall right away!

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Audio is on my list for September!

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Greetings, Katie;

I was wondering how to go paid on the Substack platform. (ie. prerequisites, required number of views/likes/shares to get paid for writing pieces on here)

Also, how old does one have to be in order to join the Substack team?

Thanks

Eddie

Soldotna, AK, USA

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Is the audio paywall a partial clip? Wow that would be cool. Does it work for podcasting?

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Hello writers! Once again, here is a little bit of encouragement from one small newsletter to all of you: I believe that there's room for every single writer at the table, and that the best thing that writers can do is lift one another up. So tell us: how are you feeling about your journey as a writer this week? Share with us! See someone struggling? Reach out with some love! Let's show each other that we're not alone in this up-and-down writing adventure. And thanks to each of YOU for encouraging me every week simply by the way you engage here! I appreciate you all more than I could ever express. 🌿

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I post once every two weeks and have been doing so since March, the rollercoaster of emotions has yet to change.

Day 1: I have two whole weeks to figure something out

Day 2: I need to write something

Day 3: This is the worst thing I’ve ever written

Day 4: I’m not doing this anymore

Day 7: Eh

Day 9: This is passable?

Day 10: Wait, there’s something here

Day 12: Refine, refine, refine

Day 14: This might be the best thing I’ve ever written

Rinse and repeat.

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haha this is very unlike my writing process. mine usually goes like this:

day 1: great, i have plenty of time to write a new post for next week

day 2:

day 3:

day 4:

day 5:

day 6: oh yeah tomorrow's newsletter writing day

day 7: .....shit

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<chuckle>

Thanks for openly admitting this!!!!!!!!

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This is my process too. Where do days 2-5 go?! How does this happen every time?!

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Mine is similar, except I usually don’t think about my newsletter post at all until the day I have to write it! Occasionally I’ll get an idea in advance and write it down, but usually end up writing something different anyway.

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Yeah, I'm more on this page.

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I have a similar thing, except mine also includes "To hell with it; nobody's going to read it anyway." I'm always pleasantly surprised when someone actually does!

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Thinking no one was going to read my writing gave me the freedom to say what I wanted. The challenge was to actually press SEND. ;-)

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That's definitely relatable!

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This is exactly how it goes... Writing is 10x more enjoyable when you're actually doing it rather than when you're procrastinating on it 😂

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This is it exactly, except that I reduce this cycle to one day.

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Plus a weekly podcast and it appears like you are branching out to more projects. I haven't had the time to check out your (or anyone's) podcast, but I am sure it is well done, as well.

I am late to the game, again this Thursday, but I had something ready to go, regarding collaboration. If I can find it I will post it, but I see that Katie has sparked a good discussion already today.

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I don’t know how you do it, but I certainly appreciate it!

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Hi Matt, I just read one of your articles even though it's not my usual cup of tea, and it made me laugh. (I hope it was meant to.) So I've just subscribed :-)

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