Q: Why am I starting a newsletter?

A: For accountability, to encourage better writing habits, and build an audience

Maintaining a consistent writing habit has eluded me thus far. Even when I find my stride for a brief period, I’m terrible at telling people about what I’m doing or where they can find stuff I’ve written.

Self-promotion is an essential skill for any creator who hopes to make any money from their work one day. So I need to get better at it.

By starting a newsletter, I’m hoping this will be the push to write more consistently and stick to a schedule. Some accountability is always good for when motivation is lacking.

A newsletter is also a great way to build an audience. To answer why, here’s what Austin Kleon has to say about building a mailing list in his book Show Your Work!:

Email is decades and decades old, but it’s nowhere close to being dead. Even though almost everybody hates it, everybody has an email address. And unlike RSS and social media feeds, if you send someone an email, it will land in [their] inbox, and it will come to [their] attention. [They] might not open it, but [they] definitely [have] to go to the trouble of deleting it.

People sign up because they’re interested in what you do and want a reliable method of keeping in touch. There’s no battling the social media algorithms or worrying about losing access to your account. It’s just good old-fashioned news delivered straight to you.

It’s also a privilege to be invited into someone’s inbox, and if you invite me into yours then I will not abuse it.

Whilst I do ask you to be patient whilst I experiment with structure, I can tell you what content to expect.

First and foremost, I’ll keep you updated on my writing projects. If something I’ve written is also online, e.g. blog posts, poems, published fiction, etc. then I shall link you to them so they’re easy to find.

This will also be a curated newsletter, so I will include links to anything I think is worth sharing, especially if it relates to my core interests: writing, art, politics, and mental health. I’ll also list books I’m reading and anything I’ve watched that I consider of interest.

It is early days, so I suspect there’ll be a lot of trial and error. If ever you have any feedback or would just like to get in touch, I absolutely do encourage you to email me at jwstammers@gmail.com.

You might also be asking:

Why Substack?

I’ve not tried all the different newsletter publishing platforms. However, of all the ones built for writers (that are also easy to set up), Substack is the only one I’ve found to be user-friendly.

I like Substack’s interface and its simplicity. At least for now, this platform is ideal for what I’m looking to create. It’s also completely free. But I can foresee that the newsletter won’t live here forever.

Also, I’d like to take this moment to promise that this newsletter will always be free. If ever I want to monetise a newsletter, I’ll set up a different publication—and it very likely won’t be on Substack if that happens.

If you feel inclined to help me out, though, what I would appreciate is that you share this newsletter (or something else I’ve written) with anyone you think would enjoy it.

Sign up now so you don’t miss the first issue.

In the meantime, tell your friends!