16 Comments

This was a fascinating read. Thank you! I only started my Substack in January (along with the rest of the world...), & my readership is still tiny. I love your point about how much your writing has improved through doing your newsletter. I’m always reminding myself it’s writing practice, as much as anything else (for example building subscribers & engagement).

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Very true. When I was younger, I thought writing was more of a talent and less of a skill, and it was demoralising. I've certainly found writing a newletter consistently to be a big help (just passed 3 years).

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3 years! Well done to you.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Anna Codrea-Rado

Thank you for showing how the evolution of a newsletter can look. Mine has already taken so many different directions as I’ve followed my various interests!

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author

I'd loved watching yours evolve!!

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Aww thanks!!!!!

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I joined just a few months before you announced you were quitting, so I didn't have the greatest timing. I very much enjoyed the few things I read before you stopped, though.

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Really interesting stuff, generously shared. I hopped onto Substack as an aspirant writer looking for a place to lodge some words and to seek out encouragement for the imposter in me. So far, so good. We too started a Mailchimp newsletter in 2017 (43 folk in the April keen to find what JoJo was going to bake for our deli/coffee shop or excited to be in with a chance to win the bottle of wine I dangled as a temptation to sign up). We're still there with a weekly curation and we haven't hit the 2000-subscriber threshold that might make me move. But I am curious about the newsletter experience here in Substack so your evolution is interesting. And the pressures - it feels - when there's a price tag to the offering. Thank you so much for sharing. Excited to peek in on your writing from now on.

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I only joined you in the Substack era, but I follow you with great interest. You're one of the OG's!

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😎 so glad to have you here!!

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Always love seeing your name in my inbox!! I can't even remember how long I've been subscribed now, but I'll follow your prose through all its iterations.

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Love the honesty here. I sometimes think about quitting too but keep coming back. It’s refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one!

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Once again, I truly value your honesty. In a world where all that glitters is not gold, I really appreciate accounts like this. It’s a rare gem!!

I don’t know how I found you but in the Substack era- though I didn’t know Substack as a thing then.

What’s really interesting reading this is how you talk about the newsletter first approach vs the ‘writer ego’ that needs the byline. I “gave up” on writing for a while as I thought I needed permission etc - someone to grant me a byline or verify my writer status. But, like your newsletter first approach, you’re a writer because you write. End of. It’s only lately I’ve realised this.

I inhale pieces like this. Its definitely part of your magic. The writing world can sometimes feel like a club you don’t belong to but I feel you’re there, opening the door wide.

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Hey Anna! I think I discovered you when I was doing my pre-launch research into Substack, so that's - late 2019, I think? You were one of those cool, interesting voices I wanted to emulate in some way. So it's really nice to see you're back. :)

Have you thought of doing a short "book"? I don't mean all the exhausting rigour of a fullsize book, but a short thing, in the same style that Steven Johnson is writing here? https://adjacentpossible.substack.com/p/immortality-a-users-guide It's basically a limited series with a specific focus on a theme, running behind the paywall, organised like chapters of a short book, which you can turn into an *actual* short book at the end? It feels like a really fun way to explore topics and have something self-contained that you can use as an asset afterwards. (I'm half-doing this right now with my paywalled stuff, and it seems to be working nicely...)

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I think I must have joined you shortly after you rebranded from The Professional Freelancer to Lance, when I was trying to build a sustainable writing/journalism career and was looking for All The Content on that topic! I'm pretty sure I found your newsletter through your podcast, but I've been trying to remember and I have no idea how I came across Is This Working? in the first place!

I really love the idea of having a 'newsletter first' approach to what you want to write. Thank you for this behind the scenes look at your newsletter journey so far.

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Thanks so much for sharing this. Learning more about your journey was insightful, and honest. The growth, being comfortable in the growth, was what I personally needed to read. Excited to see your newsletter continue to evolve.

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