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What 9 Months Writing On Substack Has Taught Me

  • 5 min read

9 lessons from 9 months on Substack for unconfident novice writers

Have you ever stared at the blank page, cursor blinking like a ticking time bomb, ready to unleash your deepest fears about your own capabilities?

Have you ever wondered if the likes of X, Facebook, claps on Medium, or even conventional blogging are for you?

If that’s you, let me introduce you to a platform that is changing the rules of the game: Substack.

Particularly if you’re struggling with confidence in your writing, this is for you.

Why Substack is Brilliant for (Unconfident) Writers

Before diving into my lessons, let’s understand what Substack is.

It’s a platform that combines the age-old art of blogging with the immediacy of email newsletters.

Every time you publish a post, it goes straight into the inboxes of your subscribers.

What sets it apart from blogging sites such as Medium? You own your audience.

You own that list of email subscribers. Medium can disappear tomorrow, taking your hard-earned (rented) audience with it.

So let’s dive into my lessons learned to inspire you to start your own Substack, and let me guide you on your way with my newsletter with helpful tips for writers and free tutorials on Substack.

9 Lessons from 9 Months on Substack

Here are my lessons learned from 9 months of writing on Substack:

1. Take the Courage to Start

Most creatives are no strangers to fear.

It’s a sign that you’re doing something that matters.

The critical thing to understand is you don’t have to announce it to the world that you’re starting a Substack. Keep it low-key.

Even seasoned writers find it nerve-wracking to send that first post.

2. It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

Don’t agonize over the color scheme, fonts, or even naming your Substack. You can refine as you go.

The important thing is to start.

3. The Niche Can Wait

Yes, it helps to have a specific topic in mind R C Hammond, but it’s not a necessity.

Your focus will evolve as you gain more clarity.

Substack is your playground. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

4. Write For Yourself, Not Just the Audience

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of writing what you think your audience might like. Remember, if you’re not passionate about it, that lack of authenticity will show.

Write for yourself first.

5. Consistency Is Good but Not Mandatory

Sure, people love consistency, but life happens.

The frequency of your newsletters will find its own rhythm.

It’s okay to adjust your schedule as you go along.

6. You Don’t Need a Pre-Built Audience

Substack has its ecosystem, and you can build your audience right there.

No need for a huge social media following or an existing email list.

7. Stop the Comparison Game

Seeing others succeed massively can be both motivating and demotivating.

Understand that every writer’s journey is unique.

Celebrate others but don’t measure your self-worth against their yardstick.

8. Republishing Medium Stories is Okay

If you have intentions of republishing Medium stories on Substack don’t delay. Rip off the Band-Aid and repost your stories there to see how they perform and build an audience.

The key is to remove that looming decision of whether or not to republish stories from the horizon so you can focus on what matters: your writing.

9. You Don’t Need a Bunch of Extras

If you want to go paid, you don’t need to brainstorm added benefits for paid subscribers. In general, it’s not necessary.

Your writing alone can hold enough value.

If you don’t want to enable the paid button you can earn with affiliate links, selling your products or services, consulting others, and much more.

It’s a Platform Where Your Words Don’t Get Lost in Algorithms

Chris Best, one of the three Substack founders shared in an interview with Joe Rogan:

“I’ve always been an avid reader. My dad was an English teacher growing up with books around the house. I’ve always thought that what you read matters. It shapes who you are and what you think. So great writing matters a lot.”

As someone who’s been involved in various types of online content creation (in my full-time job as well as in my side hustle), I see Substack as a renaissance for writers.

It’s a platform where your words don’t get lost in algorithms and crappy feeds.

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It’s an ecosystem where you can find your tribe, get seen, and read.

My Call to Take Action

You can do this — whether you’re a novice writer full of self-doubt or an experienced penman looking for a new avenue.

Writing is not just an act, it’s a journey.

And every journey starts with a single step. In the case of Substack, that step is hitting the “publish” button.

So, to all you unconfident writers out there, remember, the biggest risk is not taking any risk at all. Go, start your Substack, and grow your email list!

Join my Substack and 3,000 happy and confident creators right now!

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