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Lots of Office Hours writers let us know that they didn't like the "No thanks" language on your Welcome Page.

So we shipped a change that allows people to customize this language. If you want to change the "no thanks" language there back to "Let me read it first" text, you can now do that via your Settings page.

Just as a little reminder: we originally made this text change because "No thanks" performed better in terms of creating sign ups for writers. So if that matters to you it may make sense to keep "no thanks" or at the very least be careful about what customizable language you add - checking to see how it impacts your sign ups. That page is very important for your publication's growth!

Hope that helps. Thanks for the feedback, all!

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You guys are doing great. Your platform is getting better each day! 🧛🏼

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Well said Ted!

I’m taking my shot and asking fellow Substackers like you support a goal to be featured on the platform after 2 years of posting, please support, I love you all!

https://tumbleweedwords.substack.com/p/its-my-second-birthday-on-substack

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Thanks for the ability to customize and also for the logic behind the "no thanks." Good to know!

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I changed mine to "Read without subscribing". I think that works better than either of the two.

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I need to look into this Holly as I don’t really know if I’ve even got a welcome page?!

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You can see your live welcome page if you go to yournewsletter.substack.com/welcome

You can also get to it via the design edits in settings.

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Perfect! The direct link worked like a charm.

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The welcome page is what people who are not subscribers see when they visit your page. Try clicking someone's substack that you don't subscribe to and you'll see. You have an option to subscribe or click "No thanks" and continue to the 'stack.

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Ha! I didn't know that if you click 'no thanks' it continued to the stack! I guess I always subscribed. But that has led to an overwhelming amount of subscriptions, which I am now trying to cull. This little chat has made me realise that I want people subscribing to my stack because they actively want to subscribe, rather than because they thought they had to in order to see the content. Will be customising mine to reflect that. Thanks for the insight.

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I found it by googling myself haha 😆 I get it ok!

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This isn't on the welcome page. It is on the very first page that people see when they go to your substack.

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Yes Matthew, I find substack team seem to be interchanging those pages. Welcome page not Home page they have different functions and content. Team should be mindful of this slip up esp for newbies here

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I think I agree with your statement? I'm such a newby, that I am just wandering mindlessly, through from 1 thing to another trying to get a handle on what and how I should do?

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I’m taking my shot and asking fellow Substackers like you support a goal to be featured on the platform after 2 years of posting, please support, I love you all!

https://tumbleweedwords.substack.com/p/its-my-second-birthday-on-substack

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One thing for people to consider is that readers need to have a consistent experience across different Substacks. When people follow a link to a post on Substack, they quickly learn that clicking "No thanks" lets them read free posts.

When they see different messages on every newsletter, they have to reevaluate each message. That might sound good to us as authors, "Yay they're thinking individually about me", but it's the kind of friction that can turn people off to an entire platform.

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What was wrong with a consistent 'Let me read it first'? I remember how charming I thought that was when I first came to Substack.

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Feb 16, 2023·edited Feb 16, 2023

I'd be in favour of combining both:

"No thanks. (Let me have a read of it first.)"

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There's a letter limit so I'm not sure it would fit. But it would be good, too.

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So there is. Hmm. Well, I'll leave it untouched for now.

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I have my 'Coming gSoon' open. I'm still trying to figure out if it'sbeen 'posted'. That you can edit something you wrote las year...

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I do agree with the idea of readers having a consistent experience on the platform and that experience should be prioritized. And Ramona, I also agree: I thought and still do that "Let me read it first" was perfect as it was.

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I also find it charming, but my Substack is primary a podcast and "Let me read it first" is confusing. It should be "Let me listen first" or something neutral like "no thanks".

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Let me try it first?

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I did "Let me see it first."

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Yes, I hadn't thought about podcasts. That makes sense.

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You can change it to that now. There's a 25 character limit currently. 💜

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Or change it to whatever you want. I did.

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Hey Vin, please stop spamming.

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I get this. It’s like users just KNOWING the menu to a website is usually in the top upper left hand corner and the shopping cart on the top right. Hamburger style for the menu, etc.

Hopefully that change is small enough where it won’t deter readers from the platform altogether!

I was one of those people that thought it was weird to get taken deeper into the substack you said “no thanks” to signing up for, but am seeing the idea of people saying “no thanks, I wanna see it first” so that next step happens automatically after they click “no thanks.” My eyes are opening to why that would optimize.

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Thanks, Bailey. "No Thanks" seems abrupt and dismissive, as well as final. Once they've said 'no thanks' they're in that mindset, but 'Let me read it first' is open to all kinds of possibilities!

(I'm frankly surprised it did better.)

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After Bailey's explaining why they were using it, I realized that it's probably because people think "no thanks" is too dismissive and would rather subscribe than say "no thanks." Reverse psychology?!

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It smells like a trick to me. "No thanks" carries a finality that may cause people to think that there's only two options: enter your email or exit the stack. My ATM uses similar trick language when it asks if you want to donate to X? The button marked "Exit" actually means continue without donating.

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That's what I thought the options were (until I read this thread). I ended up subscribing to a bunch just to be able to see them. (I now know better, but will still change the setting on my stack.

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Yes, the first time I saw 'No thanks' on a Substack newsletter I was kind of shocked. All it needed was a 'Hmpff!' 😄

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That's what occurred to me, too!

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And this is why the world needs all perspectives!

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Oooh, great insight.

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It could be! I hope so.

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I'll stay with with "No, thanks"!! But thanks for the update!

Let's "keep things special", so that everyone can have their own!

https://livmkk.substack.com/p/keep-things-special

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That's no welcome page!

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Thanks Substack! I just changed mine to “Read it first. It’s free!” (It just fits the 25 character limit.)

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I like it! I think I might do the same.

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Oh that's a clever thing to say! I'm assuming it's not copyrighted? ; )

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Licensing terms available upon request. ;-)

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Thank you for the new option and for letting us know why the wording was changed in the first place. :)

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May I also suggest an option to change the “Subscribe” button text. For instance, I suspect “Subscribe free!” may encourage more people to sign up. There may be people who think subscribing involves payment, as has been traditional in publishing.

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Thanks for making this text we can customize. "No thanks" may perform better, but it's misleading, maybe even a trick. It sounds too final, like by clicking it you won't be able to enter the stack, as if you're dismissing the whole thing.

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I noticed a lack of click-throughs where people stopped at the landing page instead of reading the article.

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Micheal, where can I find that information? I feel like I should know this.

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Thanks Bailey! I just changed mine and will see if it results in an uptick in subscribes.

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I'm late to this but I've been mulling this over and I've finally changed to wording on both of my newsletters to 'Click here to enter'. There are plenty of invitations to subscribe on the inside.

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Yes, thanks for the explanation and ability to change!

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Oh thanks, I will try going back to Let me read it first, because that feels more Me...but I will pay attention to the effect it may have. Thanks for listening!

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Thanks for joining us today at Office Hours. The Substack team is signing off but we encourage you to continue the conversation with one another here.

If you still have questions, visit our:

Resource Center for strategic guidance and expert tips - https://substack.com/resources

Support Center for technical walkthroughs of how the product works - https://support.substack.com/hc/en-us

See you next week,

Katie, Bailey, Zoe, Elijah, Jared, Christina, and Sachin

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Good morning! Me being new at this substack, experience. I am wondering is what I am replying to right now, is this your substack account or is it something different?

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Writer Office HOurs...

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Hello all, and happy Office Hours! Here's a little bit of encouragement from one small newsletter to all of you:

Do you get caught up in the comparison game? Do you see other writers doing the things you do, or the things you want to do, and think, "Ugh, there's no room for me and my work." Here's some amazing news: the people we compare ourselves to aren't our competition. They are our *community*. They are people we can learn from, collaborate with, and look to for motivation. Knowing that others are doing similar things doesn't mean that there's less pie to go around. It means that the pie is bigger than you thought!

Whatever you do, don't let the comparison game rob you of your joy and purpose. Instead, let it light a fire under you to keep pursuing your passion, because the audience is out there, waiting for you to share what you've got!

Keep going, keep writing, and DON'T GIVE UP! 🌿

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Well said S.E. Reid!

I support your point of view and am curious if you could answer the following:

Suppose you’re working on a specific project for a long time, yet not seeing any results, no matter how hard you try and no matter what you do or change, when is it worth stopping and trying something new?

Sometimes people try to open a door that is closed to them, not because they are doing something wrong, but because we are all different and someone can succeed in a specific aspect and someone just can’t. I believe that it’s important to acknowledge the situation in time and assess when it’s best to let it go in order to start something new and prosper in it, instead of burning even more of your time on nothing

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This is such a good question, Ted! And not to cop out, but I think the answer would be different for everyone and every project.

My personal litmus test? I can tell when the "spirit" has gone out of something I'm working on. Sometimes a project slows to a crawl and finishing it feels like a drag, but I still know deep within myself that it's the right thing to do, and to keep working on. It's a commitment I still feel connected to in some way. Hard work, but good work. But as soon as that goes away, I know that I need to step away from it. And not always forever; sometimes a project needs to be shelved for a time so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes and a renewed perspective.

If you still have an inner fire, you're enjoying yourself, and your work still has "spirit"--even if it's not giving you "measurable" results--I say it's still worth working on. But if it's all pain and zero pleasure, time to take a break. 🌿

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I’d recommend you read:

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

I myself try to fight till the last breath in all my projects, because after some time, even if I understand that everything is over and this project needs to be closed, for me this decision is given with particular difficulty - the realization that so much time and effort have been spent for nothing is mortifying. Of course, I gained experience, but sometimes the realization of having to close a certain path is given very hard.

After reading this book, my perspective in life has changed completely.

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Ted, there must be some confusion as to the reason I'm here. I have no one to talk to and at times I just need to voice my opinion. That and Robert's caption contest. I'm at the end of this life experience and I have no design on producing a work of any kind. But thanks for the recommendation.

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Vin--I just had a stroke and I might sound a little off at times, please forgive.

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I haven't read this (yet), but the author Oliver Burkeman gives an amazing discussion around his philosophy of time management on Sam Harris' Waking Up app (possibly also on his Making Sense; not sure).

Somewhat related, I recently watched the Netflix documentary Stutz; I find the notion of "Pearls on a string" (always with a turd within!) a very comforting way to approach everything now. It's progress, regardless. There's peace in that alone.

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Er.. What's a turd?

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This is excellent thought! Every week your prompts and sharing have been so insightful and inspiring. Thank you!

I am the same way. Not all that I do generate “measurable” results that’s set by general standard of success. I used to (and on some bad days still do) beat myself over this and question if anything I do even worth it. But what’s good with doing that? So I have to shift my perspective and expand my awareness in noticing the tiniest progress that aren’t quantitative, like the satisfaction of completing a piece of writing and hit publish, the new connections I got as a result of publishing my works on Substack, gaining new knowledge as a result of exploring this new medium, and many others. And when I still am not feeling I have done enough… not worth it, etc - I do something else until I get the wind and flow to come back.

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What was it that Norman Lear said there's OVER and NEXT the present is the hammock stretched between the two

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Is that the guy that makes jets? Just kidding, great quote. Thanks.

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And sometimes taking a break is just what you need to look at a project with a different view, and keep going.

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I agree! There can be an ebb and flow to projects, I found this to be the case when working on my first novel, something that's taken me almost a decade to complete! It has undergone lots of versions and evolved along the way to become something very different than I originally imagined- but the "spirit" of the stories has always been there!

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Inspiration is like a singularity. It starts out as a single idea and it blossoms into a finished product that only needs to please one person, yourself.

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Wise words and thoughts. I have a small goal for my nascent Substack, but so long as I'm finding creativity and enjoyment and a sense of wellbeing from it, then I'm absolutely going to keep going.

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Drive and determination are the grease that keep the wheels turning.

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If the canary dies, get out of the mineshaft.

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I'm going to pin that to my monitor ;)

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You're legit cool. This is the best that I've heard in the last 6 months

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I hear you, Ted. In 2016 I shut down my business because the market was saturated, and the things I would need to do to stay competitive were not things I enjoyed doing. It was a hard decision, but in the end I found work more suited to my skills and passions on a team that was doing great things.

I also think it's important to clearly define what your goals are and what success looks like so you know what results are being measured when determining if something is or isn't working. At least for me, it's too easy to experience FOMO around other people's successes and lose site of what my own goals are. For instance, it would be easy feel like my substack is "not working" because my new subscriber count has slowed down. But my goal currently is to establish a weekly publishing cadence, build community, and explore what topics resonate with my audience. And since I have an idea of how I'm measuring these goals, I can confidently say it IS working!

Like S.E. says, it depends. :)

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Great art doesn’t come from a vacuum.

My favorites pieces are the result of working with, and being inspired by, others.

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It's true, isn't it? Makes me appreciate Substack's emphasis on community that much more. I've also enjoyed discovering some online writer collectives -- most recently Foster.co -- where I can share work and get feedback before hitting "publish."

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Just checked out foster.co. What a great suggestion.

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It's a great tool & community! So helpful for those days you're not *quite* ready to hit publish but could use some feedback/engagement on a draft.

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I've not shred my pre-published work with anyone since 2015 because of a horrible experience I had -- unless it's in the context of a writing workshop. I will, however, check out Foster, so thanks for that.

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Sorry to hear that Terry. Personally I don't share it either except with maybe close friends or colleagues whose opinion I seek specifically. And yes, unless it's a writers workshop as well, of course.

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We all have had "that" horrible experience. Hang in there!

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If I may add my two cents here... from both personal experience and watching my artist sister respond to criticism or at least commentary (one of her pieces was recently featured in the Philly Museum of Art, by the way): you really should share your pre-published work, and take any and all feedback as a way to grow and learn about your craft. And whether you make changes based on the comments or not, keep writing and putting your stuff out there.

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I'm the same, Terry, although it's because my brain has a bad habit of reading anything other than 100% enthusiasm as disapproval. So I would much rather show someone a finished product and ask for feedback for the next draft than tell people what I'm working on and lay awake at night thinking about their "oh, that's nice" response. 😆

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Thanks Alicia, can you send a link?

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Yes! That's it, actually: www.foster.co :) They have a Discord community as well.

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You're welcome! So glad you found it valuable.

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When I'm not reading what others write or interacting with others, my own writing suffers!

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Some of my best ideas come from conversations with the Substack community. Also, conjuring thoughtful comments to write, usually sets my creative mind in motion and makes a great warm-up to writing.

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Agreed, some of my best articles came from requests/prompts that I wouldn't have thought of writing about.

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Same. Many of my best ideas are generated through conversation/reading other work. And those ideas are often not directly related to the topic at hand, but something that just sparks in my mind.

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Exactly, I just received a commission to write an article about the importance of finding small joys in the every-day mundane. At first I thought; hasn't that been done to death? But once I got writing and put a different spin on it, it's been really enjoyable and turned out quite well!

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Bingo, Tamzin. If you can put a different angle on a topic that has been done to death, you surprise and delight editors!

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Pay attention to the thoughts that cross your mind. They are often the best topics to write about!

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The key is to capture ideas when they come (the writer's notebook).

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I greatly value connection. If I could do anything in life, I think I would be an assignment editor because the story ideas just flow when I connect with others. Sometimes I have too many ideas to sort through, too many stories to tell, and I wish I could farm them out to others who could do them just as well or better than I could.

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Haven't tried it or seen it tried, but you could add a list of topics you'd like to see others write, like assignments. Sometimes I'd like to do the same!

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Great point and well said. I also touched on this with an essay about how creative AI is. What's interesting is what creativity really is in humans, how interconnected we all are, and how non-creative many humans are!

https://polymathicbeing.substack.com/p/can-ai-be-creative

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Here's the thing. AI cannot give people personal stories. That's where we humans come in. Use the human component that AI cannot. For now anyway;) PS I think everyone is creative to some degree. The key is having the discipline to express it as often as possible. Write, write, write!

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Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

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Yes! Get inspired, not mired in the muck of comparison. Thank you Matt.

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😆

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Comparison is the thief of joy... .

attributed to many including Theodore Roosevelt

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It's that Cormac McCarthy quote, "books are made out of books." I guess around here, we could change it to "Substacks are made out of Substacks."

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I read an article about the “Eureaka” moment in science being a lot rarer than we think. Even in the days before the WWW presented us with all the connections and interactions, in the snail Mail Era scientists and artists built on each others work. Including Einstein when he was developing Relativity.

A foundational belief of mine is that humans are social creatures in every area, from basic survival to singing around the campfire. A lone human on the savannah was Leopard lunch and “*Daddy sang Bass* and mama sang tenor. Me and little brother and I would join right in.” Tucker is a fool on a lot of levels and diversity is one of humankind’s biggest strengths. Perspectives from other that can change our own, in a heartbeat, like an optical illusion that shifts right in front our eyes.

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I came up believing that writing is a solitary business. I still believe it, but being part of a growing community of writers who encourage and amuse each other brings me great joy and makes me a better writer, one post at a time!

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I have to say I am loving the interaction, feedback, conversation and community that has already grown out of my new Substack. That was a surprise benefit for sure :)

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Interesting, I've never thought of any business as a solitary enterprise. But that may be a more common view than I’m aware of.

We all think of ourselves as unique, but I’ve struggled to find newsletters or writers on Substack that are similar to me or the content of osmanliseyfo.substack.com.

As a result, I’ve looked toward writing style and higher-level concepts to find similarities to make comparisons. I’m okay with not being unique, but maybe there is more to why I’m more relaxed with the idea than others.

Perhaps one day we’ll pull back the onion 🧅

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I truly believe that everyone has a unique voice. Give two writers the same topic and you'll get two very different articles. There's always space. If you have something to say, say it, write it, post it.

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I agree that each writer has their own voice, but its dangerous to underestimate the challenge inherent in finding it. So many external things influence our writing that its often difficult to determine if we're writing in our own unique voide or just reflecting those influences.

After 14 years as a successful commercial copywriter I've recently been encouraged by my mentor to embark on an earnest search for my voice. His position is that I've mastered commercial writing to compel interest in potential customers for my clients, but that bears no resemblence to my own true voice.

He also suggests that my best writing is yet to come when I do find it, and I'll deeply regret not finding it if I never try. Would love to hear others' thoughts about finding your voice!!!

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I think finding your voice relies on a lot of experimentation. Always challenging yourself to write on different subjects or to alter the tone. I write a lot of life reflections, how to let go dead weight to feel a little better, these pieces (I'm told) are usually moving and make people stop and think. Then I have other pieces in which I bring out the humour and have quite a different tone. Through writing every day and not judging myself too harshly, I see the voice evolve, sometimes the emotional one combines with the humorous one. It's an ongoing process and can be very joyful to watch unfold. I certainly like to think that my best writing is ahead of me too, that it always will be and that I will always be improving!

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I love what you've said here, Tamzin! I joined Substack to get writing, to keep writing, to practise and develop my writing. I can't believe how much more confident I feel in my writing life simply BY writing. Yes to the ongoing process! 😊

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It sounds as if you write the way you feel, which is beautiful. 💜

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One phrase I keep hearing as I struggle to write in my own voice is "Just be yourself." How many times have we heard this advice in all kinds of contexts. As a writer, I think its a matter of trusting yourself to be authentic, and not trying to manipulate it too much, if at all.

I have to stop and say that these conversations I'm having with you and others on these threads is EXACTLY what I've been seeking from EXACTLY the right people to have them with. I'm truly grateful.

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Great question, Howard! This might be a controversial take, but I think as writers we are the worst people to understand what "our voice" is, because it's hard to recognize your own uniqueness. We can't read our work objectively. And just like theme--which I could talk about all day--I believe that voice is not something you necessarily work on. It happens, whether you like it or not, and it grows out of your unique experiences, work patterns, and worldview. But it can be honed, certainly, by reading the work of others you admire and writing, writing, writing all the time, as much as you can. Even if you don't recognize your voice, others will.

The closest I've ever come to "hearing" my own voice in my writing was setting a draft of a novel I had written aside for almost a year, then coming back to it. And certain word choices, sentence structures, and concepts really leaped out at me, more than usual.

Last tip? Read your work aloud. Always always read work aloud. The places where you trip and stumble are often places where you're writing away from your voice. Writing like you speak can be very useful, if done well. 🌿

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Love your suggestion to 'read out loud'. After I'd been writing Kindness Magnet for a while, I decided to try podcasting. It was a huge Aha moment for me and it really helped me lean into my voice, tone, inflection and then bring that out in my writing. I would sometimes find myself changing up the words a bit to fit how I was feeling when speaking.

And for anyone wanting to try this, if you are nervous about podcasting....you don't even need to publish the podcast. You can use Substack's podcast feature, record your written work, listen to it (and use that to improve your writing), and then nuke it if you like. After a while you may decide you like it and are having fun and you may just hit 'send' on your recording!

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I think David Sedaris is an example of a writer who uses his readings to gauge his timing and laughs. Not all for laughs, but also if you're repeating yourself or rambling on, reading aloud will help! Good point on the nuke option!

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Thanks, S.E.! As a frequent webinar presenter I almost had to develop the habit of reading myself back to myself, and you're absolutely right. If I can't say it comfortably, it's written poorly. To encourage myself, I sometimes go back and look at work I did when I first went freelance and compare it to now. It's a good thing today's me wasn't around to critique yesteryear's me. Oy!

Like most everyone else in these threads, I'm addicted to writing. It may be that my problem isn't "finding" my voice or developing it, as much as it is stripping away the craft of ghostwriting I've honed so well for so long. I'm either writing for a sponsor, or for some executive. Now, I get to be me writing for me. A scary proposition to be sure, but something I have to do now.

I really appreciate the time you and others take to respond to me and everyone else. It's a real pleasure to be becoming part of this community.

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Very good reminder. I must to that more. Thanks for the reminder.

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Hi Howard. I started writing Kindness Magnet in 2021. I set a goal to write for 1 year and then evaluate. I had a voice when I started, but it was timid and uncertain. It got better, not because I had really changed, but because I started to write the way I would speak to people. I became more 'me'. I'm in the planning stages of another Substack based on showing people how to use kindness skills in professional and personal relationships. It follows a different path than KM, but I'm hoping that my voice will still be there.

You have written successfully for 14 years helping position other people's voices. My advice to you would be to just start writing. You will find your voice without needing to force it. Don't give up before you have become successful!

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Looking forward to your new newsletter, Heather. You've always been a role model for me to keep in mind "Be kind". How can that not be the way?

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And thanks Heather for the info on Deplatformable. It can't of course just be the power of our beautiful words that brings people round, right? There has to be some hustle too! I'm not one to toot my own horn, but there comes a time when you're interested in reaching an audience.

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Hi Jodie. I just got lost in your cluttered life and photos in your most recent post! So fun and engaging. Thanks for being a writer on Substack!

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Awwww, thank you Paul. You just made my day! You know I am a fan of Deplatformable. You provide so much useful information in an engaging way. If I were on Substack (Oh, I am haha!), I would make Deplatformable a must read, especially for those of us who are somewhat technically challenged! (Not that I am, of course....)

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That's lovely advice Heather!

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So much of getting your message across is doing it in your voice. I know it is cliche to speak about the 'writers voice,' but it is vital. Explaining it is personal, and about as successful as explaining to a non-runner what it is like to 'hit a wall.' But when it comes out — a beautiful form of communion is established and the peace that goes with it.

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Heather, I want to thank you for this excellent advice & support. In essence, you've given me exactly what I've been looking around for, the perspective of other writers on how they went about finding their voice. Some disagree with you, but many definitely agree.

Part of my reason for starting my two Substacks was to have a channel through which I could share my thoughts in my own way without concern for advertisers, sponsors, or anything else but the relationship between the reader and me. Like you, I am a very conversational writer. I write it the same way I would say it.

It has been a long time since I've experienced the kind of writing catharsis I get into when writing for my Substacks. It's that pure "in-the-zone" experience that inspired my total, passionate devotion to writing from the outset. It is beyond great to be back.

I look forward to continuing our conversation going forward. Thanks again!!

HMC

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I think a huge part of finding one's voice as a writer has to do with just writing honestly about your own experiences and how you view the world. Whether I'm writing fiction or nonfiction, I have this tendency to try to manipulate where the story wants to go. The story itself is the same but I want a certain lense or theme on it. When I fall into this trap, the story itself might be ok, but overall the writing seems a little too "copy" or "journalistic", something I'm sure you're familiar with! When I stop resisting what wants to be written, my own unique voice comes out.

Like Tamzin said, we already have our own unique and inherent voices. It's just letting it be free.. and not trying to cage it in based on what everyone else is doing.

I think there should ideally be the balance- we need other writing for support, inspiration, knowledge, etc. But we also need to learn to turn that part off sometimes and just write and not worry about how we fit into the bigger scheme of things.

Ironically, there's a perfect space in the market for your voice. Because no one else is doing it!

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That is such an awesome point, and nothing ironic about it! A writer simply has to trust and believe that their voice brings value to readers. Otherwise, why write?

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I think trying lots of styles might be helpful! I am an experienced blog writer, so used to writing in that style but a few years back I realized what I was writing was starting to resemble poetry instead of blogs! I've been practicing that writing form for awhile now and it's fun to see the throughlines. I've also dabbled in fiction which presents new challenges!

Experimenting with different forms I bet you'll see your "voice" come through and be able to identify it more easily.

Good luck, you're on an exciting journey!

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I've always written for myself. Congrats on making a living and having that person who sees your talent in that field encourage you into the private sphere.

This is where the real fun begins. There are no limits. Only the limits you place on yourself.

Substack is the perfect place for you to hang out. See where your spirit and your soul lead you.

I bet you find yourself and your true distinct voice much faster and steadier than you can imagine at this moment possible. Do it for yourself. Experiment. Ask your deepest self for his/her secrets.

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Great advice! People kept telling me to develop an avatar of my audience and write to that person. For me, that took the fun out of it. Fortunately, I began writing what I wanted to read and it made all the difference... The whole 'my voice' thing came out of being myself.

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I love this! I have deleted so many posts because someone else has wrote about similar things and better haha!

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My newsletter is all about my real-life trials and tribulations as a man who went from an upstanding family man and law-abiding citizen of thirty-nine years to criminal. After enduring 10 years of incarceration unsuccessfully objecting to being certified as Paranoid Schizophrenic, four years of which spent in the notorious Broadmoor Hospital, I am free again. I spend my days diarising my experiences in the Mental Health System and Adult Care Services in England, UK as therapy to myself and interested readers. I am trying to figure out if my story has legs? Or am I wasting my time? https://billybumbo.substack.com/

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As a memoir coach, I think your story absolutely has legs. Congratulations to you for working your way to freedom. Based on what you wrote, there's definitely an audience for a story like yours!

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I think your assessment if your story "has legs" or if "you're wasting your time" depends on how you want to move forward. Will writing about these personal experiences be therapeutic or painful? Do you see adding a "running commentary" of your therapy on your 'Stack anything that can be helpful (to your readers) or adding to your forward track at all?👍

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Clichéd I know but I guess I look at it like 'sharing is caring'. Plus as you can see I work under a pseudonym so I have my anonymity for insulation. Thanks for your perspective as it compels me to think it through. 😊

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Sounds like your newsletter can be a memoir book in the making. Congrats on coming out on the other side and being able to write about it.

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I'm working on it! I appreciate you recognising my struggle.

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Your "sharing is caring" outlook, then, seems to answer the questions you were asking originally! Holy enlightenment, Batman! Now, go change some lives, BB, and do yourself some heart-healing in the meantime!💝💪😉

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My problem isn't motivation it's generating interest! I see you have an interest in 80's music. My latest newsletter is inspired by 'Life's What You Make It' by Talk Talk. https://billybumbo.substack.com/p/the-black-sheep

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Fantastic track (and band)!

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Oh. Guess I misunderstood the "I am trying to figure out if my story has legs" and the "Or am I wasting my time?" as being a far less interest-generating dilemma than simply wondering if there's a rationale for you to be writing about your story.

Swing-and-a-miss to open the game, Brad! Good thing the bases weren't loaded! Thanks for subscribing, Billy, and good luck in generating interest!

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As a marketing guy, I gotta say that your elevator pitch is fantastic. I'm sure you will get a lot of people wanting to hear more of your story, Billy. I just subscribed!

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Hey Billy. I believe your story has strong legs. You are not wasting your time. The beauty of substack is that everyone has a story to tell that appeal to the interests of probably millions of people. Reaching those people takes time. Just keep spreading the word any way you can. In particular, get to know others writers, subscribe to their newsletters, and recommend them/cross post with them. Our first audience is ourselves. Get your story out there. Recognition is not overnight, but comes gradually as we continue to publish. Vary your genres and alway include some sort of encouragement for whoever reads your newsletter. I will subscribe to your newsletter today and I'm sure others who read it will also.. Hang in there, mate. One article at a time. Remember the phrase, "Rome was not built in a day".

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Hey Cork, thanks for the encouragement. Been feeling quite isolated since I started publishing. Good to know there's no reason to be given the community that's here on Substack.

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I have been publishing UnCorked about the same length of time as you have been been publishing Billy Bumbo. After approximately 1.5 months, I have exactly 39 subscribers. My goal right now is to keep publishing 3-4 times a week and get 20 subscribers/month. Going as planned so far. Once I reach 100 subscribers I will offer a paid subscription in addition to the free one.

Endear yourself to writers you like reading who have large subscriber base and interact with them. Visibility through them will increase. and write multiple time per week. Tell stories, give advice.

I believe that even as a result of this office hours discussion, you will see an uptick. It will be exciting to see how your newsletter grows to the point where you won't ever need to look for a "job" of any other sort. Keep the faith . . .

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This is excellent insight into what it takes, I feel energised, thanks!

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IMO this is your hook "the pressure of being the sole breadwinner led to my descent into sadness," because it is relatable. One of the problems of writing about madness and the madness industrial complex is that disability (in general, but specifically the type of disability you were assigned) is still acceptably "othered" by polite society, which runs the publishing industry.

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Hi Laysha,

You provide a killer perspective on my words. Thanks for reading. I'll be sure to return the favour when you start publishing.

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Legs? Hell, yes! I'm going to check out your writing, and I'm on the US side of the pond!

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Much appreciated Maura! I would be interested to read some of your work should you start publishing on this platform.

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Oh, honey, THIS IS YOUR LUCKY DAY!

https://maurac.substack.com

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I, too, cast a wide a net. Interested in your story!

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Thank you, Jodie!

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As a recovering person and retired Addiction Counselor, I think your idea has more legs than a millipede. With the caveat being, “It will depend on how you handle it.” You appear to be able to write with clarity and share with honesty, so the rest will be up to letting your passion inform your “voice” and go for it. You may have a style that doesn’t meet today’s market or you may create a new market for your style. Like HST’s *Fear and Loathing*. Although, his was not *brand* new. I later read Charles Dicken’s *The Pickwick Papers* and thought I saw similarities.

As a counselor, I often struggled with the MH system myself, but by the time I retired in 2013 a fresh wind was blowing and the non-existent “wall” between Addiction and MH no longer tried to separate the two. “Cooccurring Disorders are not the exception. They are the expectation.”

When I was the Director for the Sioux Falls Detox/Arch Halfway House, it would take me six-weeks to get a resident into MH services across town. By then, the equally arbitrary six-week discharge required by our contract with the state would have made the referral a moot point. The rules I inherited from my agency when I took the position also interfered. “A resident will be out of the house from 8 to 5, except for lunch.” I found one guy sleeping under his bed after eating. I thought that is not laziness. That is depression!” When I tried to get the rules changed, I was told, “I’d like to nap after lunch myself.” My response, “Oh! Sorry! I didn’t realize that you were in Early Recovery!” did not endear me to my boss.

I wanted to get this posted before our guardians check out, but I see I ran off at the fingers again. It was a bit I wanted to include in my own memoir, *Drunkard’s Walk*, but hadn’t gotten around to. In fact, I wanted to stop writing and take a nap myself, because I was feeling quite sleepy. I am a short-cycle Bipolar, a non-existent diagnosis, but one that describes me.

I am a devotee of Winston Churchill who said, “When you nap, you get two days in one.” I loved doing Outpatient groups, held in the evenings, so I needed that second day.

I will check you out.

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From your writing style I feel like your Memoir will be a humdinger! I currently live in a Halfway House and live with people with addictions so can relate even from the other side of the pond!

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Keep going.

That's how I close all my newsletters

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My newsletter is for writers and one sign off I use is ‘Did you write today?’. I’m working to learn more about building engagement as I get ready to enter year two next month. My sub count grows everyday but I’d love to have more interaction. So, that’s my year two resolution!

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Just signed up--looks worthy!

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I'm curious if the use of prompts or the call to share in a specific way helps with engagement? I've been starting new chat threads every Tuesday with prompts but so far no bites! I only have 48 subscribers so I'm wondering if it's just needing to build a bigger community before I see more engagement?

I'd love to learn from the experience of others!

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Hi Mariah! Chats and discussions can be tough at first, but stick with it through the initial "crickets" phase. I do weekly discussions, and early on I would be lucky to get any response at all. Now, some topics really click with folks and some don't, but I don't worry about it as much, because my followers know that I'll be posting a discussion every week whether they choose to engage or not. Also, I make sure to set the tone and expectations for discussion so everyone knows that it's a safe place to chat.

Here's a link to my most recent discussion so you can see the form message I include at the top: https://open.substack.com/pub/sereid/p/lets-discuss-seasons-of-setbacks?r=1bv6fk&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Hope that helps in some way! The crickets are tough, but they don't last forever, I promise. :)

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That's a good sign-off! I'll have to think of one 😀

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I'm busy at work today and only have a hot second to drop into office hours, and THIS is what I'm here for: the community. Connecting with other writers and building genuine community is what keeps me motivated to continue writing. It's easier to avoid the comparison game when you can genuinely be excited for your friends and community. Thanks for always bringing the encouragement, S.E.!

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Same, Jen! The day job isn't allowing me to be in office hours for long, but it's always a boost. Great community here!

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I'm lucky being on GMT that this is exactly the right time of day for me for Office Hours. Very grateful. And yay to community, Holly! Maybe see you tomorrow?

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Unfortunately, I can't attend Write Together Friday this week--boo! Missed you last week!

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Awww, I had so wanted to be on Write Together Friday last week - https://juliebhughes.substack.com - we were away Thursday for just one night originally, but ended up extending our stay until Saturday! I'm going to try to make it tomorrow. I love having the opportunity for half an hour of uninterrupted writing! Maybe see you next time!

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I've been part of these discussions just long enough to know that we can always count on you, S.E. Reid, for some thoughtful words of encouragement. Thanks for that!

And, not to be maudlin, but I think seeing others as possible points of connection rather than as competition is key to a happy, abundant life. It's a choice we get to make daily. So, if we're just not feeling like being part of the world sometimes, so be it. But, the next day, and the one after that, and so on, we get more chances to practice the fine art of optimism.

My post this week is about broadening our understanding of what love means. I think cultivating a collaborative mindset fits within the context of that idea.

https://elizabethbeggins.substack.com/p/making-love

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The comparison game can be hard, but I have found here an actual community that inspires me and challenges me and helps me grow as a writer.

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Maybe I’m just a starry-eyed storyteller…but I view this kind of work as a journey, not a tournament. I’d rather be a little flicker of light on the trail that gives fellow travelers a glimmer of hope than a looming shadow for them to race against.

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I love that approach.

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The abundance mindset is the right mindset. Thank you as always, S.E.!

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I just wanted to give a shout out to Paul Macko from the Deplatformable Newsletter (https://pau1.substack.com/) for the help finally getting Google Analytics set up. Big help and seems like it will be a gamechanger for the overall SEO game.

Wondering who else has implemented Google Analytics and how it's gone?

Also, I've noticed an overall improvement in my recent traffic - wondering if anyone else has seen the same.

Drop in and subscribe for weekly playlists if you're interested as well.

Happy Thursday everyone!

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Happy Thursday back! Do you mean you set up your GA specifically for your Substack? As in a separate instance of GA?

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Hi Birgitte: I have written out the instructions on how to install Google Search Console for your (anyone's) Substack newsletter. https://pau1.substack.com/p/install-google-search-console-for

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