I'm making this my job 🎉
Here's what's next for the newsletter
Hi friend. 🖤 I hope you've had a relaxing holiday season, and a good start of the new year.
I've had some much needed rest these past few weeks, but I can't say my energy has fully returned yet. I'm still feeling a bit brain-foggy and inclined to just curl up on the sofa and read books. 🙄 Which is what I've mostly been doing lately. 13 books, since we last spoke. (Told you I was going to read like a maniac, didn't I?) I'm planning a dedicated post soon about all of the best books I read during 2022, so stay tuned for that if you're curious.
This won't be one of my regular weekly letters, with the work updates, reflections and read/watch/listen recommendations. Those will commence next week. The big news this week is the official launch of the paid version of this newsletter/publication!
I'm already receiving some donations for my work here. I have a small group of amazing people who pay for my writings, despite not getting anything extra in return, just to support me. And if you are one of those people: thank you so, so much.
However, I haven't launched a true, paid version of my Substack (the platform I'm using for my writings.) I told myself I'd wait until I had at least 1000 subscribers, and was feeling confident in delivering new writings each week. And now, I'm there, and it's time. As I wrote in my New Year’s Chronicle, I’ve built my foundation. Now I'm ready to step up my game and work towards making this my primary income. My main job.
And I'm terrified.
It's hard - so freakishly hard - for me to ask for money for my creative work. Always has been. I know I'm not alone in that. A lot of creatives and artists feel the same way. And I think that's partly because a lot of us are humble, sensitive souls with a lack of confidence in ourselves. But mostly, it's because creative work has been steadily devalued for many years now. We've all grown used to getting our "content" online and for free, from blogs, websites, Instagram, podcasts and YouTube channels. And the times we do pay for it, it's usually through a large, corporate middle man, such as Spotify, Skillshare, YouTube, Amazon, Etsy, et.c. These platforms, although they provide important areas to get discovered, also tend to be run by greedy profiteers. The vast majority of creators on these platforms earn tragically little money for their work, although many of them might be perceived as "successful" from the outside.
It doesn't matter how much our stuff is seen and "liked" - views and likes don't pay the bills. Having lots of followers don't equal job security. I think we're all coming to terms with that, after many tiresome years of social media hustling.
We have more options today than ever to "monetize" our work, and yet we have to work harder, and are more vulnerable, than ever. Because we are dependent on these giant platforms. And the platforms are much more interested in maximizing their revenue than paying us fairly for our work.
The light at the end of the tunnel for me is platforms like Substack, Patreon, and the likes. Platforms that give us direct access to our audience, and allow our audience to support us directly. To pay for our work, if they value it.
But that means we first have to value our own work, which is easier said than done. My knee-jerk reaction is always "of course I value my work." I feel like what I do and make has value, and deserves to be paid for. But it's a huge step from there to actually asking people for money for it. 🙈
I had a bit of a crisis over the holidays. Might have been due to exhaustion. Might have been hormonal. Might have been because of reading the book "The Death of the Artist", (more on that one in a later post.) I just had this feeling of existential dread, of feeling like I'm not contributing enough. Longing for regular paychecks and pats on the back like my partner is getting on his job. After 14+ years of hustling for algorithms and the gig economy, barely having enough for rent, begging for money from people who expect me to work for free, you feel like that sometimes. But this is the life I chose. This is how I can best be of service. And if I want to be able to keep doing it, I need to value it, and I need to ask others to value it too.
And that's why I'm launching paid subscriptions. So that those of you who value what I do can support me and get some extra stuff and perks for it. And so that I can afford to give this space my all.
What does this mean for you?
Free subscribers will continue to get my weekly letters, free of charge. But any letters older than two weeks will be behind a paywall. The entire archive of weekly letters will be for paying subscribers only.
You'll also notice that commenting on posts is now for paying subscribers only. Please, don't feel silenced by this. You can always reply to me via email, as a free subscriber. But the comment section is also a community space - a place to speak your mind and connect with likeminded people. Replying to comments takes a lot of mental bandwidth, but it’s important to me. I want to give more thoughtful replies, and to facilitate discussion. But up until now, I haven’t really had the time or peace of mind for it.
I will also start a chatroom (more on that in a later post) for paying subscribers, which means a dedicated, more private space for us to hang out on an ongoing basis. And I will host occasional Q&As and discussion threads, where paying subscribers can ask me anything, and contribute to the advice column.
Going forward, some of the videos and writings I publish will be for paying subscribers only. The advice column, some essays, and any longer guides or tutorials I publish, for example. But there will be plenty for free subscribers as well. 😊 You can always watch my videos for free on YouTube, but if you want to escape the ads you can watch them here instead going forward.
I'm also thinking about re-starting my podcast in a more laid-back way, which might include loose and spontaneous talks about different topics, as well as audio narration of some essays. This might be for paying subscribers only, we’ll see.
In short: You can keep getting exactly what you've been getting - the weekly newsletter and occasional essays - for free. But if you support me with $5 a month, you'll get these extra things + the community functions. The setup might change and evolve going forward, but this solution feels right for me now.
To convert your subscription to paid, simply click the button below and choose your subscription form. You can pay monthly or yearly. There's also a Patron tier that allow you to pay a higher amount and get a custom made artwork and handwritten letter in the mail. 😊
I know these are tough times for all of us, and subscriptions like these aren't possible for everyone. I won't think any less of you if you abstain. Only pay me if you want to and can afford it. And if you cannot afford a subscription, but really don't want to miss out, email me a request and I will gift you one. 🖤
I'm curious to see how this space will grow, now that I can dedicate a lot more time to it. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better and having a more dynamic conversation. And I hope you'll continue to enjoy my writings this year.
See ya next week!
And she starts the new calendar year with a bang, in a quiet, confident kinda way. 🔥 Thank you for being a continuous inspiration. And congrats on making that commitment! This is something I've thought a lot about in the last couple of weeks. I've started creating free gifts for my tiny audience but, after putting a lot more effort and energy into it this month, I'm desiring it to be a paid offering instead. The fear gremlins are revolting in me. Patreon is on my mind as is Substack. I'm so excited to see how you'll use this space moving forward. And even more excited to be a part of it.
I found you through your video about Substack, I cannot tell you how deeply I resonate with so much of what you have to say. You have really inspired me. Thank you, I can't wait to follow along with your work.