I've been using Substack wrong
Everything you say here is exactly why I enjoy your newsletter and look forward to it and won’t be unsubscribing. I actually PREFER it when the newsletters from those I admire come irregularly. I can’t keep track of anything myself and when I get what feels like an out of the blue reminder of what someone is up to- I’m delighted. And I guess part of that delight is that they are acting exactly how humans should- erratically 🙂
I think I relate to this more on a side of managing a home/family. I probably put time aside quarterly to unsubscribe to company emails, only to have Christmas pop up and flood my inbox again. <<<SIGH>>>
I decided to post monthly on substack, but I give myself the grace of posting whenever during that month. I also shared less last month because it's summer and I was just too busy. I'm too tired to worry about the people-pleasing anymore.
Julie, I always appreciate your honesty and transparency around these big, big issues of time and social media and habits. One question that keeps coming up, for *me*, is how so many of these books on time and habits are written by men (Cal Newport, Gambuto, the Atomic Habits guy whose name I am too lazy to look up, etc.). And people-pleasing seems to be a trait that women in particular struggle with, because it's part of our socialization and expected from us at such a very young age, and because so much of modern parenting/caregiving is tied up in being busy and people pleasing and staying engaged . . . all of this is to say that your newsletter posts are so appreciated--- no matter if they are regular or irregular, because I value the perspective of a woman and a mother who is writing and trying to balance it all.
Heeeee...and of course, you just inspired me to smash the heart-button and subscribe after a quick perusal of your Stack. I'm actually a semi-easy subscribe. I like to try out stuff that seems in tune with me. I'm a rapid unsubscriber too and absolutely! I clear-cut a couple times a year. Just...blow-torch through the forest, man. I'm pretty mercenary about it and afterwards...ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. So nice. I use the Marie Kondo question: does it spark joy? Because I feel the same - if my posts aren't sparking joy, please please unsubscribe.
I'm pretty new to Substack, but recently it has come to my attention that I, too, am Hashtag DoingItAllWrong. Woooot! (Pretty much what I do with everything everywhere.) This prompted a subscription blow-torch moment the other week, now that I'm really starting to get a handle on how I want to use this site as a reader - which is completely informing me about how I want to use it as a writer/creator. NOT the way I'm "supposed" to. Shrug. 🤪
I'm so happy to be discovering other people who are coming to similar conclusions in their own ways. Because I'm accustomed to being that lone rebel out in the toolie bushes, doing my thing in my own sandbox mostly alone. But it's so much more fun when you can find pals, or at least people whose sandboxes are similar. Clearcutting social media except YouTube...but getting a new YouTube that I use really differently, all over the place for topic, super scattered for posting schedule... this was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It's healthy for me. 4 brain traumas on top of neurodivergence demands it, if I want to be able to keep creating the things.
I hope your own decluttering and clear-cutting is as liberating for you as it has been for me! And yes. The people pleasing is strong with this one. It's a continuous battle that sneaks in their like insidious weeds disguised as flowers. Thank you for the reminder of ways it masquerades!
My first reaction reading this was, "oh no! Did Julie unsubscribe from *my* newsletter?!?"
Which it would be fine if you did. Like I said on another thread I am feeling the social pull of Substack too and props to you for even getting it together to write well thought out essays; I was just journaling wondering if I even have it in me to write something more in+depth than the two to three minute pieces I've been sending out. TBH that practice has been feeling good; whether I build to someone bigger remains to be seen. I imagine a screenplay or novel but was reading Anna Fusco yesterday on "if you keep thinking you're going to do it but never do it, maybe that is telling" (not her direct words).
Anyway, I appreciate the connection WE have on here, and I don't think it would exist on mailchimp. Also fwiw I don't think looking for subscribers is being a corporation - it's such a mass thing. I feel compelled to elaborate but that's not the mood I'm in. Anyway! 💕💕💕
Love everything about this, Julie. (Though I especially appreciate the Puddy reference.)
I really appreciate this post, Julie, and that’s one reason I continue to subscribe to Do the Work because you are always so honest and human in what you write. It seems like you’re always just a step or two ahead of me down the path, and I’m grateful for your flashlight beam pointing out the rocks and mud patches.
I’m currently on a retreat, and shouldn’t even be looking at Substack, but I’m glad you shared this essay and I’m glad I read it, and now I’m hiding my phone and going to take my notebook out to the porch and stare at trees until one of them starts talking...
"My people pleasing is really a sneaky way for me to outsource my own worth."
^^^^^ THIS! AMEN! PREACH!
After reading this I unsubscribed to about 20 emails(some of them the option was well hidden). I was holding on to the idea that one day I’d need the information the corporations were sending me when in reality it was taking up space.
Love this quote from your post 'I am unsubscribing from the idea that my worth is based on whether or not other people like me and what I’m doing.' This was definitely a good reminder to be gentle with myself as I've been preparing to start my newsletter. It's always so tempting to dive in, and swim as fast as you can. So I'm trying to remember to take it slow, and prepare for a long journey. As what I'm hoping for is better community, and to explain to others how I make books.
I never intended for my Substack to be paid… and at some point Substack, unbeknownst to me, decided it would ask all new subscribers to “pledge” to pay in case I ever monetized in the future!! (Which I assume they would track and when I hit a certain dollar amount in pledges, Substack would start encouraging me to switch to paid.) I had to find that and turn it off. It’s hard to just be a human talking to other humans.
This was great, Julie. Sounds like a huge revelation for you! I have often thought that I wish I was a writer before the internet. That way, all I would have to focus on is my writing, not the social media, not the website, not the endless newsletters and information on how to write, what to write, etc. etc. etc. It is so much information, and much of it very interesting, and very good, but at times it becomes overwhelming and takes me away from actually doing the work! So maybe, I can strip it down a bit for myself. Pretend I’m in the world before the internet-- at least to some degree, I don’t think I can completely go off grid, but perhaps take a step back from it for awhile, and as you mention, add little bits of it back in and see what happens! So thanks for this reminder.
Boy, do I relate, Julie! I'm sorta glad I stayed with Mail Chimp after reading this... 🙂 Btw, I'm a Certified Life Coach, as well as Creativity Coach (and author). http://JanetBoyerCoaching.com Would be glad to hop on the phone to chat with you to see if I could help! 🙏
I relate to this post so much! For me, part of the feeling of needing to post regularly has been me just wanting to do a good job with my kidlit career. To know I’ve done the best I can with what is in my power because so much of this path is out of my control. And like you said, I’ve been trained to think that “doing a good job” means acting like a corporation. But as I’ve really pondered how I feel about things -- like I don’t care if people post every week on the same day...in fact I often don’t notice -- I’ve been letting go of certain ideas. I’ve been trying to let the idea of connection -- using these tools to connect with myself and others -- guide my decisions more. And sometimes that means I need a break to connect. Other times it is wanting to write something funny because I like making people laugh. And other times I want to share something I’ve learned. I get stressed sometimes about the whole “you should have a clear offering” and other business advice. But I think I’m slowly letting go of that and just letting myself be human (as you said). I’m trying to focus on being true to me and focusing on what I WANT to do. And letting go of all these things I SHOULD do.
Thanks for your thought provoking posts!
I scheduled my substack as a weekly newsletter from the beginning, because I knew a weekly essay would overwhelm me completely and would take away too much time from writing fiction. Also I felt uneasy about showing up on a weekly basis in the inboxes of people. I thought that might scare them away. 😆
Wow. This was such a timely read for me. I’m so glad I stumbled across a mention in Notes.
I JUST started dabbling in Substack, and was wondering about switching my list from MailChimp, but even more apropos for me today is that this morning I noticed myself slipping into the familiar pattern of trying to work out how to strategically GROW here.
When I realized that was happening, I scolded myself. I have backed away from Instagram because it no longer functions like it used to, and it demands triple the work it used to, but here I was, almost ready to jump on board with trying to turbo build on Substack! Why, I was wondering, do I always veer towards trying to achieve MORE? Why can’t I just BE?
Reading your thoughts here is helping me pick apart my own behaviors, start to make sense of them, and hopefully prevent myself from heading down the same old burnout path!