Listen now (5 mins) | On learning to celebrate just how far you've come, from Anna Codrea-Rado of Lance.
"Even if no one read me, what would I write about?"
This is always my starting point - if I thought about other people reading me, I'd be too scared to write haha!
Congrats, Anna, on finishing your first book!
I started writing my weekly newsletter only a month ago but just the fact that I'm still writing feels like a small but surprising accomplishment.
Listened to this in my car after grabbing groceries, and I must say, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. My newsletter is slowly gaining traction, and I am growing my subscriber base, but it's so easy for me to keep looking and chasing for more without fully appreciating how far I've come. But I am getting better at it, and often repeat to myself, "appreciation > expectation" and "aspiration without attachment." Thank you for the words of encouragement!
Thanks for the encouraging words! Merry Christmas!
Thank you. I always tell my people I dialogue with this: “please don’t take it personally, I tell you what I need to hear right now.”
When I write I hope people read something that helps them flip the way they look at things, so the things they look at change in better.
Thank you. I love your letters.
I needed this so much today! Thank you!
Thanks for the warmth.
This is so important and I definitely needed to see this today, thank you!!!
This was such a good (and timely) topic for me. Thank you, Anna!
Thank you, Anna!!
This is specially good for all of us who focus only on looking ahead and don't spare thoughts for looking behind.
And, as the late Jobs once said "You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards."
I was just thinking about that yesterday.
Why am I failing to give the proper value to my achievements? And why do I feel as if nothing has been accomplished.
Could it be that unlike putting on a play where the energetic feedback of the audience is immediate, sharing on digital media is not? No amount of graphs can be a substitute for the expressions on the faces of readers in an auditorium. The human connection that has been sustaining us for thousands of years has been severed by a sharp jump in technological progress that equals a space jump measured in light years. The sharing of loud and boisterous stories in the pub is replaced by big screen TVs televising sports games and cooking shows. The singing in the field is deafened by a march for automation. The line dancing in the square is replaced by the lines at the malls. Glances at the local cafe, glances that tell a thousand stories are met with walls of QR code and social media feeds. The play is too expensive to attend. The circus even more so.
I am very curious to see how us authors can create a hybrid model where we eventually venture on tours in the communities of our subscribers. Since we are here though, facing an invisible audience, we must answer the question of what measures our success when publishing online. Engagement in the comments? Subscriber count? Paid subscriber count? Each one of us must look at how society has taught us to perceive value and measure success.
There is quite some unlearning for us to do collectively. That’s why I really appreciate Substack and moved my newsletter here!
Your words hit home. I have been writing since before entering Journalism School in 1956, unlike you with no published book; rather, countless pages of type to fulfill gazillion opportunities.
I must share this tale, germane to your piece. In 1975, a friend teaching a class at the Rochester Institute of Technology invited me to speak to her students, women considering exiting the home to begin a career. I thanked Joan, explained I could not accept as I was a real estate agent, not a speaker. “These young women need a model of a working, professional woman. Please!” ‘OK. OK.”
I sweated for two weeks, convinced I was no speaker. As I entered Joan’s classroom, I read the sign on the door: “Today’s Speaker: Judy Columbus.” Proof. I was a speaker. And, for the next twenty-plus years, I was guest speaker on the Topic of the Day to many an audience.
Sometime, it takes as little as a 5” x 7” piece of paper to initiate self-confidence, to envision your work past productivity to accomplishment.
Thanks, Joan. Thanks, Anna.
Thanks so much! So good to see that you've named it: "productivity dysmorphia" - now we know what we're grappling with. All good wishes!!!!!
I enjoyed the perspective very much. For those of us who mostly just write for ourselves (and not for profit) but still have to admit that having many people read you feels better than if no one reads. Otherwise, why publish? Keeping a journal is easier. Thanks for the advice.
I liked your comment about, “Even if no one read me, what would I write about?“ thanks for your insights….
I really like the way Ms Codrea-Rado is so matter-of-fact about the pitfalls and insecurities of writing as a pastime and/or career. I've been in the newspaper/magazine industry for decades, have experienced real success but have never – until now – been able to write what I believe, as there were always considerations of embarrassing an advertiser or upsetting a supporter. Anna seems to have paid little mind of those constraints, thus she makes for good reading. May she live long and prosper!