After a while of waffling between blogging, making a newsletter, blogging some more, and making another newsletter, I am back to blogging with absolutely no intention of leaving.
The Substack Situation
Along with moving to a platform that is easier to use there are also some other issues I have with the newsletter business and Substack in particular.
Substack has now given layoffs to 13 people, which is roughly 14% of its workforce. This is after lots of hype on the platform and numerous deals made with high-profile writers to move their work to the platform.
As Axios reports this doesn’t necessarily mean the company is doomed, but to me, the optics look unequivocally bad. I understand they have capital still and continue to put out some features and products. That said, no matter how you slice it firing 14% of your workforce in hopes to reach profitability isn’t something I’d be excited about as a user. Especially as it touts itself to be a platform that promises to make your writing into a full-time job.
If you add the layoffs to the already controversial history Substack has it became a tipping point for me to take my content and run. I will be moving all of the articles and writing I have written on both Tablet Habit and Clicked here in due time.
After shouting how important it is to own your own content I finally bit the bullet and created a Ghost server on Digital Ocean and now have complete control of my content online. To add to this Ghost is open source.
To me, building my own website seems like a much more sustainable and enjoyable way to write online than pushing myself to be a regular poster on Substack.
I am not a Journalist
While we are on the subject, if I’m being honest with myself I decided to go to Substack in hopes to pursue a journalistic path in my writing. While I enjoyed some of the work I did I can honestly say it’s not for me.
I’m not interested in reporting or long-form writing. I’m also not interested in having a regular “beat” to report on. My taste is ephemeral and eclectic and those two things are wrought with failure for any columnist or journalist wanting to have a consistent and fervent audience.
Do I have some common themes over time with my writing? Sure, but that doesn’t mean that I can make it as a journalist looking to get answers to questions everyone is asking. I curate good content online and share my personal insight at times. To me, that is not journalism. It is blogging through and through.
Blogging Feels Better
Finally, the last reason for me to go back to blogging is that it just feels right. When I have an idea or something I want to share my go-to platform was always blogging. Why? The answer is simple, it allows short-form content and can be shared in a fast and casual way.
I don’t feel the need to let an idea marinate in my head all week and do a deep dive into the history of the topic at hand, nor do I feel like I need to turn something that would be a few sentences into a few hundred words.
Blogging is what you make of it and sometimes short-form writing like that of Lee Peterson or John Gruber is all that you need.
Inspiration Going Forward
Among the blogs and people I follow, there are a select few that have shown me how blogging can be both fun and damn good. I thought I’d end things by linking out to them so you too can view their work.
- Lee Peterson at ljpuk.net for his short blog posts, which showed me that brevity can be good writing.
- Matt Birchler at Birchtree.me for showing how to mix link posts with original writing and damn good web design.
- Jason Burk at Burk.io for his web design and inspiring me to edit the look of my website to make it my own.
- I really like this website by Jamie Thingelstad for all of his pages and menu items at thingelstad.com. I took a page out of his playbook and made some pages you can view over on the About page.
- Gabz for showing you can switch platforms and make it work.