The last thing I ever wanted to be is a “content creator.” This is the thought that coursed through my mind as it roiled with questions. What was my Substack for? What is my presence on social media for? Where do I spend my time? And what is a good usage of my time? The following was ported over from my Substack, and addresses how I’m going to use that moving forward.
I do want to make it clear that I have nothing against content creators. At least, those who do it well. The people who just regurgitate other people’s thoughts, ideas, and art can go out the airlock. But there’s nothing wrong with the basic concept. I, like many internet-having humans, enjoy YouTube videos, blogs, and the occasional TikTok. I enjoy people who run interesting Instagrams like History Cool Kids.
Also, I, uhm, am a content creator at my day job. It’s a wonderful job I enjoy greatly full of amazing people. I write blogs, make videos, design ads, update a website, etc. for a product I believe in. It’s a good gig. And I’m proud of what I do. But when it comes to my dream job—the job of writing fiction full time—I don’t want to be a “content creator.”
That being said, here’s a quick artwork wherein I try to depict what goes through my mind when I think of the general state of content creation on the Internet:
It’s an insatiable beast. It’s like being in a relationship where you can give your all and it’s still not enough. Where your ideas are ingested and barely remembered as people move onto the next thing. This isn’t what I want. This isn’t where I want my energy to go. I want to make books that people read and they remember. Even if it’s just the basics or certain details. I want to make stories that people can think about and find new layers. In other words, I don’t really like the feeling that what I put out into the world is disposable. Just more grist for the mill.
…and a Funeral
I especially don’t want my efforts to serve some corporation that could go belly up and take my “following” with it. Yes, I’m talking about Twitter, which may be in its death throes. As I write this, it’s still kind of imploding. Maybe they’ll save it, maybe they won’t. But it does perfectly exemplify the fragility of these “free” sites that so many people have come to rely on to connect with their audiences. The same thing happened a few years back when YouTube suddenly changed its algorithm and way of doing business and basically destroyed some people’s livelihoods. Even if you’re not repulsed by the way many of these platforms are doing business, their long-term instability should give you pause.
Okay, Sure, But What’s Your Point?
Well, I promised in my last newsletter an update about this Substack. I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve neglected my Journal on my website since I began this. I’ve been thinking about where I spend my time. Do I want to try to “market” this and “grow” it? To what end? I’d considered releasing a serialized book on here, but I don’t know if that would be that effective. I’m not sure a lot of the attempts to get something going on here that are storytelling related have been all that successful, either. I think there are a lot of great uses for Substack. If you’re laser-focused on a topic, an absolute topic expert, or have some kind of trade knowledge to share, I think it can be a positive thing. But for storytelling? I’m not all that convinced.
I like a lot of functions of Substack, though. And some of you are paying attention. The people who follow my work, who interact with me, and maybe even read my stuff… it means the world to me. But I’m going to make some changes so that my focus is on writing fiction, and not producing content. I may never get to that dream of writing fiction full-time. That’s a reality a lot of writers—and I’m talking published writers at major publishers—have to face. And I’m okay with that. But it also means every moment spent writing things like newsletters or blog posts or whatever is less time I could be doing the thing I love the most.
- The Substack will still exist! It’ll be handily delivered to your inbox.
- However, I won’t be writing them as often. Instead of once a month, the schedule will get more variable. When I feel like I have something to say versus forced content to maintain a presence.
- I’ll be cross-posting all my newsletters to my site’s journal. So I have a repository of all of this stuff in a space I own and operate.
- I’ll be posting more on the journal, as stuff comes up, and then linking to that content in the newsletter. So, if you miss something, you’ll see it there.
- I’ll still do short stories with podcasts like I’ve done before, here. Because that’s a great service.
That’s it! If you like this newsletter delivered every month, it keeps going. If you’d rather just go to my site to see the latest and greatest, you can do that! Also, I joined Mastodon and I’m enjoying it a great deal. You can find me on there as well: @firstname.lastname@example.org is my handle.