Define what success looks like to you and what you can uniquely offer readers
As I have to start somewhere I will start here: gonna end my year with (at least) 12 posts in my Substack. Buckle up! There's a ton of work to do ☺️
Helpful! I appreciate how the advice in this article is applicable to those of us looking to build an audience from the ground up, rather than the old advice of “Step 1: Let you existing 100,000 followers on (insert name of other platform) know you’re on Substack!”
My 2023 writing plan was to post one consumer tech-related article per week. I’ve followed through on that, for the most part (one week I wrote an obituary for my dog, Stinky, so not tech-related, but c’mon). I think simply that one year block of even trying to write will be very helpful to making a plan for next year. I’m currently considering lessons learned from this year of writing, to evaluate what I’m good at, who enjoyed it, where I should focus, how I should brand, etc. Looking forward to a new and improved strategy for 2024.
"Writing for fun: Then your most important audience is yourself—what is it that will bring you joy? Create constraints so you can experiment and write on your own terms."
This is largely me (along with writing for community). I wish Substack highlighted people and newsletters like this more.
I love that Substack has us thinking about our goals on the platform.
And I have a cautionary tale for you.
The Dangers of the Six-Figure Book Deal: What goal setting should really be about
This post offers a healthier way to think about goal-setting, plus, at the end, a very clear way for you to do it alongside other writers on Substack. https://open.substack.com/pub/serialize/p/the-dangers-of-the-six-figure-book?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
It was just coincidentally scheduled for this week.
For new writers who don’t know where to start and how to grow their subscriber base, here’s an entire eBook with all tips in one place to help you grow
Love to see this! (And it's not just for beginners; even experienced writers can use a regular look at this, I'd imagine.)
I've written for years, but have failed to get into a groove here on Substack. I'm blaming the fact that The Good Husband retired and is always in town and in my house! (Yes, it's technically his house, too, but c'mon!) I'm also a grandmother now, which has changed my routines; but I'm feeling a void and I know I'm responsible. The people I love are not stifling my writing. That block was built by my failure to prioritize and set boundaries. Unsurprisingly I think those two things create a lot of issues for many of us. So I'm taking back control and this three-part series is a good refresh and reboot for me to get back to what I know works for me.
My goals are simple:
1. Two-three regularly scheduled posts per week
- One original poem with background commentary
- One original painting or photo, accompanied by an essay or explanatory text
- In January, a weekly prompt with reader-submitted work and comments to build community
2. Build portfolio to prep for chapbook and manuscript submissions
3. Create audience and following
- 2,000 free subscribers
- 100 paid subscribers
Here we go, fellow writers! Looking forward to creating and seeing what you create, too.
All Best, Kim
I found that turning on paid subscriptions helped ensure I deliver a consistent product. Now that people are paying for it, I feel guilty if I miss a week.
Can you have more than one “Why”? I want to write for 1) fun; and 2) to bring joy to my readers. Our media is filled with bad news and articles designed to illicit fear. Yet, each day has many opportunities for good and/or humorous things to happen. Why not share those experiences too?
I have suddenly found myself wanting to kick my Substack into gear after doing a collaborative post with my one of my pals that I've met on this platform (hi @bookhousebroad)! Now I'm aiming to do one collaborative post a month, either with other creators or even just with people I know who I share interests with (in the realm of music, or pop culture which has influenced my own artistic development as a songwriter). This has led me to think about the other 'pillars' of my newsletter and how I can have a rolling, four-week schedule for 4 different kinds of posts, to really solidify what I present every week and create consistency and reliability for readers.
Start with WHY. Income, community, and fun are all important. Consistency is key but is different for everyone; I try to shoot for 2-3 posts per week that take <5 min to read.
Here is my WHY: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/why-i-write-how-to-subvert-subversion
This is brilliant! I started posting three months ago, setting myself deadlines for a weekly column about interesting moments in my life to be posted every Thursday. I had wanted to start this for six months before committing to the forced deadline. Once I did, I looked FORWARD to it and couldn’t wait to get to the next one. I even got ahead and banked a few to run during weeks when I travel or simply am not feeling creative.
Interestingly, after a nearly 50 year career in the television business as a writer, producer, director and marketing executive, I started by creating a list of 20 great stories from my years working with some of the biggest stars in entertainment, from Fred Astaire to Johnny Depp. What sprung from that surprised me…another 20 column ideas not related to the entertainment biz at all, but from my own life as a world traveler, parent, actor on the local musical theatre stage, and even a stamp collector (believe it or not, I think you’ll find this coming Thursday’s column on my lifelong relationship with the hobby fascinating)!
What’s unique about my columns is that I’m pulling much of what I wrote directly from the journals I started writing nightly as far back as when I was 16 years old. Having all of that resource material allows me to recall events long since forgotten, and bring a contemporaneous element to each of my columns. My columns are not presented chronologically…I jump around from the 1970s to the current day and years in between so there’s always something fresh and unexpected for the reader.
God bless my high school English teacher Morgan McSweeney and actor Charlton Heston (you’ll find out how and why in a future column) for inspiring me to write for myself every night for almost 50 years now.
I’m grateful to Substack for the continuous flow of ideas. Once I reach 25 or 30 columns I’ll create a paywall and charge for access to everything more than six months old. I believe that if I have enough material for 100 columns, I’ll have a book to publish already written!
Please check my column out and follow me…while it’s all free! It won’t be forever!
I decided to start a Substack to brush my English and share Russian poetry and reflections of a Russian citizen with good people here. Writing in foreign language is hard, but I discovered I actually enjoy posting and commenting.
I'm starting a new newsletter with the aim to provide value to athletes both amateur and pro to help them navigate the sports world by offering guidance on communication. Everything in this post is valuable. Looking forward to reading and learning more to help me towards gaining 400 paid subscribers and point them towards my book.
Thanks for the excellent post. We normally say to the writers we work with that there are two types of goals: output and practice. Having an output goal - like words on a page, time/days spent writing - can be very helpful to give you direction but practice goals can be helpful to get you started. Practice goals are about habit and showing up and they work because they make your process more apparent. If 'stopping procrastinating' is your practice goal then understanding how you procrastinate and what you do instead of the writing is key. Forgive the blatant promotion but anyone interested can read more in our book: Written: How to Keep Writing and Build a Habit that Lasts.
I believe starting with why is the most sure-fire way of beginning to not only write but also find spark and energy to continue with what you are capable of writing to your audience. It makes me as a writer let myself out and explore the topic with passion, zeal, energy and high-voltage determination. With your why, you won't get tired and writing will just flow as you experiment different issues with deep expertise. With why, you get clarity of what you want to do with your newsletter and align your newsletter mission with your values. In my Startup from Africa newsletter, I write about problems and possibilities in Africa which I am passionate about. But, I explore my newsletter mission from different angles ranging from technology, politics, economy, financial, and many more, so my audience will get highly curated and broad-based topics about Africa. Therefore, I can write as many posts as I can to not only inform but also inspire my audience with a social impact of my work.