There’s a lot going on in the world. How has it impacted your writing? Are you finding it harder or easier to write? Are there things you’d planned to publish that you’ve now put on hold? Give us the highs, lows, and the banal.
Even I wrote something the other day, for the first time in an age. Felt like I had to get some words out of my head.
I just left my job to work on my newsletter The Profile (theprofile.substack.com) full-time. (Great timing huh?) I actually think the words comes easier now because I find it's really helpful to channel my anxious energy into a column or some sort of long-term project. Pressing the 'publish' button feels like a sigh of relief.
We need to both take this crisis very seriously and also keep up our work to whatever degree is possible. Both are appropriate and necessary responses. If you write, write and write well. It's a way to help others think and feel their way through this crisis, even if you are not writing about it directly. That's my sense right now.
Noticing in some comments that writers might be struggling due to the stress of the situation. I was advised by a former editor to lean into the tensions in our lives through writing about it and find out what's there and learn from it. Maybe we don't publish all of these reflections. But there is merit to focusing on writing as process right now and let the possibilities reveal themselves.
I kept finding reasons not to start my Substack newsletter but this week, I jumped in from Monday and it's been a really good anchor for me right now.
I moved back to Mailchimp time ago. Yet im grateful for having this community.
Ive lost motivation and find it really hard to write anything. Reading you makes me feel better.
Thanks for opening the thread
I've always had a guiding mission for my writing to be of value and service, but I find that even more important now.... My writing is focused on offering coping strategies, supporting folks in finding anxiety management that works for them, doing the work to stay healthy and sane. This has always been true but WOW even more true now.
Writing what I'd imagine I'd want to read if I wasn't writing.
Writing has always been my greatest tool for reflection. Most of my writing is about processing the world around me and now, more than ever, it feels like a great time to use it. I am trying to document the many different ways the covid-19 pandemic is affecting us. I just published an essay about how social isolation is going to take a toll on so many of us but that this sense of social solidarity is hopefully going to bring us together. I hope, at least. I also feel a sense of gloom that makes my writing feel useless. Tough times right now. Love to all here.
I’m finding it so hard to concentrate on anything - I have not been ~ in flow ~ since this whole thing kicked off. Would love to know how to calm my mind and tune back in!
I wrote a post about this on Longreads, where I work. (Includes a link to my Substack newsletter, Adventures in Journalism!) https://longreads.com/2020/03/19/why-im-giving-myself-permission-to-keep-writing-at-this-time/
It's weird. The inspiration is clouded by anxiety but the desire to write is higher. I've definitely postponed a couple planned pieces in order to both calm down and focus on the message I think needs to go out at this time.
Net net, no output change. But the process feels different
Things are strange, aren't they? I've got ideas and while I'm now working at home, I haven't had the time to actually write (for publishing -- I still manage to write for personal consumption daily). There's a lot going on and I'm still adjusting to the new normal. But hope to get back into a routine soon.
I write every day (Day 82 today), No matter what happens! It's kinda actually helping me a lot in this situation. I feel I have to share more. I might even write 2-3 times a day:)
Every Substack issue since March 11 has been about COVID-19 -- either essays on life in the shutdown, or my usual White House scenes have a virus theme. I'm actually having trouble focusing on stuff that's NOT about the shutdown. A project for the weekend!
I keep blacking out and then waking up in the field naked, covered in blood (not my own!!). But besides that the writing's going well.
I've got two kids under the age of six at home, and working a full time job, having them during the day AND worrying about everything has made it much harder for me to do quality work, especially on a regular basis. I feel like i have plenty TO write about it, but not the energy or the time to do much longer than a tweet
it's inspired me to write more. i have a very small newsletter to founders / ceos (i'm a venture-backed ceo in SF)... and we're all facing really tough challenges and decisions right now.
i want to write more.
I am more sensitive to the fear and anxiety around me. As a retired Pastor I have been hearing from a number of former colleagues who are trying to navigate this illness and to keep a connection with members of their congregations in safe and responsible ways. My reading and my writing have provided a good outlet for me in these days.
Nothing changed. I think that we have a special mission now: entertain people! Unfortunately I don't know how to reach a wider audience. I would be proud to entertain them all. In Italy the situation is extremely difficult and I would like to find the way to be read by people in hospital or the adults taking care of sick people. And fisicians and all that holy kind of people
As a work-from-home mum it has been impossible. I seem to just be hunched over the kitchen sink preparing meals, snacks, washing up and letting the dog out—particularly frustrating with the rain in LA because it then meant wiping paws, drying dog etc.. I have started a diary of the dog's day! Hoping next week will be better.
I’d love opinions. I’ve been writing coronavirus stories for a solid week. This Sunday, I was supposed to post s feature on a much-liked chef who has a new TV show (it is still on track to run). Do you think people will want to read a lighter story, or will it get overlooked?
Writing every day for this newsletter has definitely improved my writing. I used to ponder every sentence, and now I just do it, and I think it is actually better. I had a few piece half-reported that now are obsolete because of coronavirus
Just started writing so I'm definitely happier to have an outlet that I hadn't discovered before. Though it's made me realize that I'm lacking a lot of necessities... Like a computer desk and chair. Been indoors for like 4 weeks now so my back is starting to hurt.
I have found writing hard with all the sadness in this world...but journaling and blogging are very therapeutic in times of distress. I am new to Substack and plan to start writing here soon. I had heard of the platform from people on Medium but I could not for the life of me understand what it was. Your article helped me get why I should look at other platforms. Thank you for taking the time to write and share with us newbies!
One question though:
Is it true that Substack will let you send emails to your followers for free? If so, is there a limit of emails or followers? That was the only thing not detailed in your article.
I made a folder in my writing app called "S.F.D" (Shitty First Drafts). I set a goal for at least 1000 words a day. It's been working. Giving myself permission to just write in that folder, not just because writing is hard but these past month has been hard. Get the drafts written and go from there.
My question for all the wonderful people here are, what's your SFD to editing to publishing workflow look like? Do you consider editing as a part of your writing time?
Like some of the others here, I've had to abandon some previous drafts - not sure if for now or forever. I didn't want to turn my blogging into pandemic-related stuff at first, but now I'm feeling that might be necessary or I'll just not write at all for awhile.
I have found it hard to write. Weird, I thought having more time would make it easier.
Finally got it down last night and published this morning. It does feel a little pointless, but it keeps me grounded. Keep at it, everyone!
I too have been frozen by the shock of recent events, especially as they came on top of sudden turns in my health, and the loss of my father, buried just a week ago. But today, I am breathing and turning into the work again, and find it reassuring to find I am not alone in this. I am more thankful than ever for the existence of Substack. It gives me hope of reaching those who need to hear my words. Thank you for that. I write on aspects of silence, including mindfulness, awareness, contemplation, and meditation at http://silentium.substack.com. Do read if it may help you to find your keel. Most of my content is currently free and open access. Especially now.
Finding that it's easier to write comforting words, since that's what I'd like to read. Would rather publish words of comfort and reflections. Focusing on reading more and more self development books, more willing to learn new things.
It's made me realize I have more time to do writing, and I've been finding it easier to write. However, I think I can do better. I've had more time to journal and jot down poems, as well as write my newsletter (check it out! https://truecolors.substack.com/ )
The high is I now more time and am planning to take free online writing classes to learn other types of writing I don't have as much experience in, such as fiction. The low is figuring out how to turn my writing into something that's concrete and can be published, as well as figuring out how to balance my time.
I wrote a year's worth of newsletters in advance and I'm giving away the first 1,000 paid subscriptions for free (jamesgarside.substack.com). This was probably just as well as I don't think I'd be able to write a newsletter from scratch right now given what's happening. I write a lot on Medium but have pretty much stopped now. This is in part due to things other than the looming zombie apocalypse. But the biggest stressor is seeing how there's a glut of writing now about that one subject. I've little to say on the subject. Health wise I'm in an at risk category but my heart goes out to people who are in far worse a situation than me. People need to stop stocking up on toilet paper and start caring about each other.
What I’m finding is that I’m writing a lot more on Twitter. And then when I get to the end of the week and I’m ready to do my weekly newsletter, I go back and those tweets are like notes for me which I can either incorporate into my newsletter or expand upon. It’s a really interesting dynamic - I mean Twitter being used for something useful :-)
I'm hoping to finish a YA novel. 17 chapters done , 54K words so far. I intend writing the next 3/4 chapters and wind the whole thing up while I'm unable to waste writing time socializing!
My writing has been going well.
With the time accumulating, I've been publishing a serial novel here on Substack.
As always, writing has showed up as the best way to process nuanced and complex emotions. I took a break for a while from blogging because I was overwhelmed, but I realized that as long as I'm genuine and address privilege I can add to this conversation in a meaningful way.
I write every day on Understandably.com. I'm about to hit daily newsletter #100.
I also just started a second, limited-run one called "Working From Home" ... (workingfromhome.substack.com ... thanks for the idea Walt Hickey!) not daily ... I figured about 1/4 of my readership worked from home, and there's a lot to talk about -- although now, out of the blue, it's close to 100% of course.
My take is that everything is about coronavirus right now, so it makes sense that all our writing is, too. Eventually, other things will also be important and compelling.
I led the other day with Tom Brady announcing he wasn't returning to the Patriots... but it was a very self-conscious way of *not* leading with coronavirus for once. Of course then I went right into it. But I had readers respond very well to it. Even some from overseas who have barely any idea what the NFL even is.
TLDR... I think readers will forgive a lot right now -- we're all trying to find our way!
For me it’s been great since I have a little more time to write and it serves as a great activity to stay focused on something and not worrying.
I think that writing y helping me a lot on not freaking out and I actually feel very calmed and optimistic about this situation.
Yea my first post in a very long time went out yesterday. Felt like there is a lot I needed to say right now.
I am just starting again. I kept thinking it would be a gift of sorts, to have no interruptions and be able to work on my novel but my brain is not at rest and concentration has been challenging. Today went better though. So things are probably evening out.
Im having a hard time. My mom is sick and Im scared. I asked a few of my readers and they look forward to mySaturday morning post so I'm going to push through and write whats right here.
I feel absolutely overwhelmed. It is really hard to articulate anything properly. I have been reading so much and it seems like everything is about the virus. Is there anything else that is worth talking about right now? So much goes through my head and I just can't form coherent ideas, I can't connect the dots and write something that seems worthy. My newsletter is about climate change and there have been so many stories comparing the two crisis everywhere, I can't keep doing that. And other those stories there is not much more being reported, there is no space in the media now to talk about anything else, also because things would be buried down and lose their importance because people just cannot handle these many bad news at the same time. I will probably turn my weekly newsletter into a bi-weekly one for a while, I think I need some peace of mind and I specially need to stop reading so many news articles.
Anyway, see, I couldn't even make a coherent comment!!!!!
Because my site is education-focused, I've geared new content toward teaching and learning in online spaces. Also thinking about topics regarding the more affective aspects of education, i.e. student-teacher relationships, redefining our titles when learning from a distance. Writing more for sure, although I am lucky that my kids are older, my spouse is home too (also an educator), and we have occupations that allow us to continue to work and be paid.
I have found daily writing to be a nice way to be completely present on a singular task. Started Daily Art of War, each morning we send a short email with a lesson from The Art of War, https://dailyartofwar.substack.com/
Curious, and probably related: how does one find a writing coach – someone who helps maintain writing habits and clarifies the writing style?
I started writing a newsletter on a weekly basis on Feb 2 (later imported a few older blog posts into my archive). I still spend too long writing each edition but am getting better at estimating the time/complexity of the content I am about to undertake.
My biggest gripe is the lack of UNDO or versioning in the editor though. Every once in a while I accidentally delete a big chunk of writing and have to redo it. I have taken to trying to periodically send a TEST email out once in a while writing to capture a version but this is a dumb workaround. I also tried writing in a different editor then copying over when done. This is another time-waster for me. I do hope solving this is a priority for substackers. With the new team publishing features it seems like an obvious need unless I am in the minority of leveraging the native editor.
Good luck to others out there on writing and growing a subscriber base!
Was writing these for a long time, just completed and published them, https://ranvir.xyz/blog/k-nearest-neighbor-algorithm-using-sklearn-distance-metric/
I'm getting ready to write a lot during my spring break (I'm a high school teacher in Idaho and it's gonna be a very productive week coming up, after pulling off 14 hour days to get my 6 US history classes switched over to an on-line platform. I'm very confident that I'm going to write something substantial - as I have the outline all done.