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I Need to Cut Back.
Not on traveling, but writing so often on Substack.
February 17, 2023
Happy Friday, travelers! This week, I have news.
Change 1: Friday emails will come twice per month instead of weekly.
This major change is largely due to other writing projects that I will never be able to give their due energy if I keep writing here so often.
I’m calling this a “major change” because I’ve sent From the Aisle Seat weekly since August 2020. It’s been a weekly fixture in my life for almost three years. I’m grateful for every one of them, but I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t pursue these exciting projects I can’t talk about yet. One day!
Aside from the new writing projects, I decided it’s best for this space to be here less when I’m not traveling. I’m not traveling again until April and, quite frankly, this newsletter is better when I’m fresh off a trip. You probably noticed that. In the meantime, I do plan to write here, just not as often. If I can do more, I will. When the newsletter’s not about one of my trips, it’ll share something interesting about the world. I truly believe this setup will be a better experience for everyone.
Change 2: No more monthly links. Instead, I plan to send online link roundups every few months, maybe once per quarter.
Change 3: No more paid subscriptions. I have struggled on how to share this because I truly believe writers, designers, artists, etc. should be paid. What’s harder is saying my work should be paid, but it’s still true.
That being said, I don’t like the direction Substack leadership is on right now. If you don’t keep up with that (I no longer do, at least not closely), they are focusing heavily on paid memberships and assigning verified status (similar to a blue check on Twitter) to publications with a certain amount of *paying* subscribers.
My initial reaction to this was dread, because this space was supposed to be one where subscriber count doesn’t matter. Part of the point was the choice to be ambiguous about how many subscribers a newsletter has. To remove the public competition of creative work.
It seems that older version of Substack is going away and, like just about everywhere else on the Internet, it’s becoming about popularity and money. The message that sends is that paid subscribers matter more. And that’s just not true.
I have since paused paid subscriptions. I do know that some of you want to pay to keep From the Aisle Seat going. You can continue to do so on Buy Me a Coffee. The platform is currently set up for one-time payments in $5 increments. I am deeply grateful for your financial support. Payments allow me to spend more time on From the Aisle Seat, making this space better for everyone.
The one thing that will not change is What’s On My Tray Table. I know many of you love these book recommendations, and I love writing them. They will remain. Speaking of which, I’m reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue right now. Full review to come.
Some of you have been loyal readers for a long time, and I cannot overstate how grateful I am that you continue to read From the Aisle Seat. Every time I was too tired to keep going (which has happened often in recent months), I read your email addresses and saw real people want to receive this newsletter. I just don’t have enough gas in the tank to keep sending it weekly. At least for now.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. In the meantime, I wish all of you the best in whatever journey life has brought. I hope to see you here again on March 3rd.
Be brave and stay that way,