This is such an insightful edition! You are confronting one of the great plagues of our time: external validation. I have struggled a lot with it myself. It is funny though, when I started my own newsletter, I hardly told anyone. I just needed to write for myself, and I wanted a public place to do it so that if people remarked how they missed my presence on social media or missed my columns from a local newspaper (which I get from time to time), I could then direct them to my newsletter. Anyway, I still get bouts of the EV sickness in the forms of “I should be getting paid for (fill in the blank),” and “people should call me.” Both are kind of ludicrous ideas for me because I need to not have much income to remain in my long term care program, and I am very capable of reaching out to people as well.

Anyway, I think that in order to get a lot of subscribers to a Substack newsletter, a writer must spend more time marketing than they spend writing. That is the nature of the beast. While thoughtful, introspective writing is its own reward, it feels good when we know others are getting something out of it as well.

There is also this other plague: TL;DR (too long; didn’t read). No acronym infuriates me more. The fact that so many people aren’t willing to read more than sound bites is just so irksome. I can understand attention deficit; I suffer from that myself these days. But I feel it is important to take time and really read written works with substance. Too post TL;DR is so passive aggressive, but I know the sentiment is felt far more than it is voiced (and yes, I have received that stamp of disapproval, and it hurts). The content that generates the most likes on social media are often memes that are the equivalent of poorly written picture books that exist by sheer virtue of plagiarism. I don’t get it. I think anytime someone actually goes to the bother of creating their own content, it is so much more deserving of my attention.

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My new thing to distract myself from the anxiety of this Amy, is to interview other early stage Creators. I try to do a zoom call a week now. Realistically, I may have to quit Substack as I'm not seeing the ROI. But that's the thing with writing, I've been feeling and saying those things for 15 years! haha.

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About two years ago I started an unscientific study of the new subscriber-based economies that are now all over the Internet. I looked at YouTube creators, Twitch streamers and even looked at Substack and similar platforms. I looked at people who were starting out and watched some of the most popular ones as well. I even spent a few hours streaming on Twitch myself and participated in streams put on by friends. I am certainly no expert but any means but it was certainly a learning experience.

Before I did my own streaming, I looked at all the other streamers out there and felt again like I did the first time I walked into the university library for the first time at California State University Chico. So many books, so many periodicals, so many movies...that's the Internet in general anyway but the microcosm of these platforms really brings that home.

I write too! Though randomly. When I started putting myself out on the Internet, sometime in the mid-1990's with LiveJournal, I did not do it for readers, I never thought that I would get money for it, and I doubt I will ever get any subscribers on my Substack. I do not do it for that.

I write out of frustration. I feel that I have something to say and no one listens to me except for Jennifer...some of the time. Still, I need to say it. I need to put it out there in the hopes that it might be randomly discovered and maybe help someone else.

I want to help people achieve a happier, healthier life. It seems that so many people really do not desire to be either happy or healthy. I still write though because, well, I'm stubborn.

We all crave communication, discussion, even reticent, stoic me.

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Loved this one, not least because I’m so aware of this trap you describe: the trap of measuring your worth by the number of subscribers or views. It’s the trap of our time, isn’t it, with so many of the vehicles for connecting with others prone to “measure” our connections in likes, views, subscribers, etc. And yet the pursuit of numbers for their own sake is just yucky, gross. I’m going to go check out that book you mention, as I like the phrase it’s lead you to; I’d like to see if I can characterize what I’m after using that rubric anyway. Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep plugging away at writing as honestly as I can and let the subscriptions and shares do what they may (even though I can’t help looking at them).

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