Let's face it, we aren't always totally honest.
Having recently left Medium, I don't want Substack following down the same paths as it has gone down.
Oh hell yes Ramona!!!!!!! PREACH. I just posted about exactly this - but you said it better. You rock. Honesty and authenticity rocks. We CAN stop the you-rub-my-back BS by calling it out when we see it. Thank you thank you thank you.
Totally agree, I would hate to see Substack go the way of Medium. As someone retired and on a very limited, very fixed income I cannot allow myself to sign up for all the paid subscriptions I would like to read so I lurk in the free zone.
Ramona, I've been trying to use Notes to collaborate as much as possible (I've helped set up a couple of writing projects - one on sci-fi and one on horror), and these efforts are organic and focused on the fun aspect of making these pieces. I think something like that, where it's a collective effort, works best in an environment like Notes.
Also: dog pics. If anyone hates dog pics, kindly unfollow me, and you will never see any of my little furbaby angels.
I would be super happy to have you collaborating with any group I'm involved in, for what that's worth, too. I'm a fan.
I want to keep my notes for writers. And I so feel this. I HATE marketing. I suck at it. And yet I know that to be a writer and "make it" there is an element of marketing that is necessary.
But I'm so thankful for you and the way you honestly wade through this. Thank you for being an example and please don't feel like you can't write honestly.
You express my writer's desire exactly by your quote below:
"I want people to notice me, too. I sometimes desperately want people to notice what I’ve written—especially if I’ve put my whole heart into it and it just languishes there, never to be read."
I suppose I draw the line like this. If a piece of writing is really good, whether ours or someone else's, we ought to feel fine publicizing it.
I think a good test is whether I'm spending a lot more time commenting on, restacking, and praising the work of others that I truly admire than the time I spend figuring out how to be noticed. That should definitely be the case since I'm one writer and there are so many others whose writing I truly enjoy.
Thanks for this honest post!
I have no $ to give but enjoy reading so very much, If I only get a glimpse/preview and want to read the rest.... it’s going to go unread. You can only enjoy this is you have this... $ to subscribe.
Also left Medium. Also concerned about the direction Substack is taking. Have you seen the new app?
I've upgraded to the new app and instead of ads this is what I see: at the very top "read next" then a few notes, "follow friends" then a few notes, "recommended posts" then a few notes, "people to follow" then a few notes, "just connected" then a few notes, "writer picks" then a few notes. Elizabeth Gilbert and Junot Diaz were featured among other top writers. To me this is as annoying as ads. I like discovering new writers but when the emphasis seems to be on promoting already "popular writers" I get a bad taste in my mouth. But top named writers make money for them - and in the end a "free" app is all about how to monetize. It seems more people are excited about the new app than not but at least for now I am not one of them.
Well said, Ramona!! 👏👏👏
I haven't posted a single thing on notes and I think I may keep staying away. Thanks for your honesty!
Let's be honest...I like that. I'm guilty of trying to market myself on Notes. I put up pieces of stories I've written just to remind people that I'm here. I'm like you though, Ramona. I see that list go up and I scroll down and ask myself: How come I can't make that list? I try all sorts of stuff. I was hitting up Margaret Atwood earlier in the week, just trying to get her to Subscribe and Recommend me, but no go. I'm not very good at marketing. I don't know how to do it for the most part. I was never a part of Medium. I never had a blog. I had to work for a living and wasn't into the social part of the internet. I went to work, came home, wrote my stories and went to be; then got up and did it all over again. I did belong to a writer's group once, but that was a long time ago, and when the guy running it decided to try and publish something he had laying around, it went bust. (He didn't. He's now an international best seller. Yeah, for him!) But I want to get noticed just as much as the next guy. I don't want to spend hours and hours on Notes, but I do some days because I'm stuck somewhere in my story -- like I am right now.
Ramona, thank you for your honesty. The marketing posts on Notes get overwhelming and sometimes feel very cliquish.
It depends on what and who we are honest with. My stories about myself don't go anywhere. My stories that focus on others, do. But then, my stories about myself in recent times focused too much on what was going wrong, instead of what is going right. That has changed. I believe a lot of readers are tired of things going wrong. And I don't blame any of us. I believe many of our stories are, at this time, pretty much like other stories, because many of us are angry at the same things in the same way. As you wrote - we have been preaching to the choir. I wrote about politics from 2015 until 2021, elsewhere. I stopped. The sameness had crept into everyone's work except for a few I still followed. But they are falling into the same rut now. I finally chewed out a political columnist with a comment in notes yesterday, because I'm exhausted by the trend of political whine we have now. I stated my complaint, and will not repeat it in my work. I am making myself quietly wear out a grudge about a certain kind of abuse before I begin the job of explaining it to a larger audience. Because the first essays I wrote about it died on the vine. The best honesty we can have as writers is facing the truth of what pieces of our work are not being read or heard. That comes with bruising. And needs to include acceptance. That means being honest with ourselves.