Hi, Friends. I’m Moving to Substack
Hello friends, It’s that time, and I’m here to say my goodbyes. It’s no secret that I’ve been disappointed in my ‘career’ here at Medium. Having upwards of 1600 followers is nice, and a good number of my followers are dear friends and strong supporters, but I’m not happy here. That’s the bottom line.
I thought I could fit in but I can’t. That’s not on Medium, it’s on me. I don’t care about claps or quantity or algorithms or search engines or curation or prompts or contests or the amount of money anyone makes here. And the longer I’m here the more jarring the popularity of all of those things has become.
I’ve given this a lot of thought, using my journal as a sounding board, asking it what I’ll have to do in order to make my writing life a better place. For me. I thought about another blog, but there’s the old algorithms thing again, the hope for some attention among millions of blogs looking for the same thing, and the irritation of setting the damn thing up.
I thought about dropping the whole idea of freebie writing, concentrating instead on working to build up paying venues. I’m working to do that, too, but there’s always that part of sending something off and waiting until eternity or beyond to hear from someone who sees me as simply another transom-tosser who can just damn well wait.
I want my writing out there when I want it out there. I don’t want to wait. I’ve spent cumulative years waiting for a thumbs up or a thumbs down — sometimes literally years — and I can’t spend the rest of my limited days doing that. I won’t, in fact. I’m a writer, not a gambler. I’m not keen on being one among thousands waiting for the lottery gods to choose me.
Right now I want to find a home and the Substack neighborhood is looking good to me. I like Substack. I like the simplicity of it, I like being in the company of a lot of writers whose work I admire, and I like that I’ll be writing solely for readers who have chosen to come to my personal digs. Some may happen upon it, some may read one or two pieces and wander off, but the majority of them could choose to get my essays by email every time I post something. I like that. I like the idea, too, that I won’t have to beg for funding or wonder what the month will bring. When I get to that place where I charge a small fee for what I write, anyone who subscribes will do it because they’ll see some value in it. And I’ll spend a lot more time writing the things I hope will provide that value.
Substack has gone through some growing pains, and is battling controversy after controversy. I’m aware of that. From Substack’s earliest days Hamish McKenzie has sought out well-known writers and paid them well to establish a presence at his new venture. That revelation seems to piss a lot of people off. I’m still not sure why. And I’m sure as hell not going to get into the nitty-gritty over there, as I often did here. It has nothing to do with me or my place there. Thank god.
Then there was that controversy over some of the writers who used their pages to go after the LGBTQ community. That’s troubling and not something Substack should ever be proud of. But at the same time there are LGBTQ writers who have chosen Substack as their own venue and are happy there. (Among them: Charlotte Clymer and Parker Molloy, who wrote this insightful piece about why she chose Substack over the others.)
And, as for other writers on Substack, I’m thrilled to be in their company. Many of my favorites are there, including Dan Rather, Greg Mitchell, Steven Beschloss, Heather Cox Richardson, and Eric Boehlert. But for sheer, wicked pleasure, E. Jean Carroll, Donald Trump’s nemesis, writes a howlingly funny advice column you shouldn’t miss. She’s hilarious!
I can’t say I won’t post anything here at Medium again. I will, but not with the same energy. I like Medium’s format and the way my pages look, but any new pieces will read the way I want them to, not the way Medium insists they must if I ever want to be noticed. I’ll keep paying my $5/month dues, and many of my posts will stay here, but I’ll copy and paste some of them into Substack or elsewhere. They’re mine and if I want to plaster them all over the place, I can do that.
I’m going to keep editing my publication, Indelible Ink. I’m not ready to give that up quite yet. I love the writers there and I’m happy with the progress we’re making. I think it’s important to have a place for good creative nonfiction and I love being a part of bringing good writing to Medium. So keep those manuscripts coming! I’ll give them just as much attention as I did before I made this decision.
So here’s the plug for my Substack space: I’m still learning how to use it effectively, but I’ve broken the page up into subsections (General, Politics, Strictly Writing), and for now everything is free. I plan, at some point, to make Strictly Writing a paid subscription section, or maybe a separate Substack newletter, where we can talk about writing, share tips, and possibly build a strong community away from algorithms and social media. Where we can just be us and share what we know, blend our discoveries, and talk openly and honestly about our writing lives. I won’t be charging much. I know how hard it is to manage paid subscriptions, but I want it to be specific to serious writers and I think that’s the perfect way to do it.
But first I’m asking any of you who want to follow me to go here. Look around and if you like what you see, please sign up so we can keep in touch. You’ll start receiving my emails and we’ll go from there.
Here is my About Me page. It gives a little more detail about where I’m heading and how I got there.
Thanks so much for all you’ve done for me. I hope I’ve added a little to your writing lives, too. It’s not as if I’ll be gone — I’m only moving to a new neighborhood. I’ll come back and visit. And you can come and see me. Any time. Coffee’s always on. We’ll see how it goes.
My best, Ramona