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I hope you're feeling better, Andrei! And I'm sorry for the lost subscribers. A loss always feels upsetting and personal, but more often than not, it's not. Keep writing what is authentic to you and you will reach the readers who will appreciate your hard work. Thank you for the practical recommendation. I had illusions about my Substack when I started my journey here too. But I'm a bit more grounded now. I also don't focus so much on the subscriber numbers and instead on engaging with those who engage with me. It's been liberating.

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Thank you very much for reading and for the commiseration, Nadia!

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May 21, 2023Liked by Andrei Atanasov

Yeah...it's funny. When I kept my on blog on wordpress, I turned off as much tracking as Mailchimp would let me turn off. As such, I stopped thinking much about numbers after my subscriber count flatlined at around 12 folks (including family). Now that I'm cross posting on Substack...I find myself occasionally visiting the metric and being disappointed I've been flat at 24 subscribers for the past week even though it's 4x the number of non-family subscribers that I've had for the past 10 years!

The mind (and shifting baselines) is a slippery beast!

I must also say that being able to treat writing as a pursuit completely separate from my livelihood makes it way more enriching than it would have been otherwise. I wish all the best for the authors who make a living here, but I suspect that a lot of folks who wish to make this a side hustle would be better off climbing their corporate ladders in their primary profession.

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I agree with that last statement. For most people, making a living solely from writing isn’t really realistic, especially if you don’t live in the U.S. or the U.K. I’d love to one day be able to earn a steady income from writing, not enough to support myself, but enough to nicely supplement my day job. Supporting myself from writing has never been a goal for me, though.

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I wish you growth and fulfillment with your Substack. I've been enjoying reading your work wholeheartedly! I also agree. I don't know how many people make money that sustains them completely from Substack. But also it's a lot of pressure on yourself to be consistent because people are paying and expecting you to write, whereas if you treat Substack as mostly your serious passion, you do it for the love of it. I have an outside job and I'm totally okay with that.

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May 22, 2023Liked by Andrei Atanasov

Oh thank you so much! The pressure of performing is something that has lost its appeal as I get older. I enjoy my job as a project manager, but I don't think I could function as a professional creative in an art that demands true risk taking while daily life naturally strongly prefers a baseline level of stability.

(I wonder if that is the temptation that leads thought-leaders down the path of audience capture.)

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You made me smile.... I also got a pinch when I lost a few readers, then I rationalized: maybe they're not that interested in what I write, can't please everybody... And I rejoice on the loyal readers! I'd add a little comment on your dreams vs goals. If you hit walls with agents and publishers and your dream takes knocks, remember why you started to write to begin with. It wasn't for an agent or a publisher, was it?

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Right! It’s all about paying attention to the things you can control. And usually when I’m feeling dissatisfied with writing because I’m not getting some result (a story published etc.), I ask myself: Are you going to stop writing? And the answer’s always no. When I realize that, I always feel better.

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May 27, 2023Liked by Andrei Atanasov

Is very interesting what you've talked about on this post. As you say, is good to have goals, reachable goals, but we don't have to give them the power to possess us, to domain our mind and to change our day. I'll try the list task, I think it will be an interesting exercise for me. 🙂

Hope you feel better now, I'm sure all the knowledge you are learning will make you stronger and more wiser. Just as an example, a goal for me is improving my English 😉

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And honestly, you’re doing great! Your English is very good! Try the exercise and tell me how it goes, I’m really curious. Thanks so much for reading, Sara!

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Wow, what a nice reminder. I started my Substack six months ago. I don't live in US and I still haven't reached 100 readers. I always wonder where else I'm lacking, if it's about my writing or that my being active in promoting is not enough; I've seen people become really successful in just a few months. At times this would really upset me because I can't write more regularly here no matter how much I want to because I also need to make a living and my publication is still far from that yet, but at the same time I know that being more present has its own kind of impact too. But I really appreciate that I have loyal readers. I'd take comfort in knowing these are the things I can't really control and therefore shouldn't fret too much about. One subscriber is still one person reading what I make. What's more important to focus on is sticking to my goals, being consistent, and treat every newsletter I publish as if it's my last stroke at creating something. Thanks for this, Andrei!

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Thanks for reading, Angelica! I hope you’re feeling a little more confident. It helps to think of every subscriber as a flesh-and-blood person, and not a statistic. I don’t live in the U.S. either, so the places I could share my newsletter in real life are limited. That’s one more thing that’s out of our control. All we can do is our best. And yeah, Ive also noticed that being active here makes a big impact; that’s how people discover you, through your own legwork, unfortunately. We gotta keep on keeping on.

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Yes, and no matter how small the community still is, I love the intimacy of having shared something and hearing from them as well 🤍

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Yeah, I get what you’re saying, and I love the sentiment. That’s the reason I’m always so happy to spend time on this platform.

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I set my goal, made up my mind,

and gave the right commands.

But little did I ever know,

the world had other plans.

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Cool! Something to keep in mind when we get a little overexcited about results we want.

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But when I set my vision right,

and practiced every day.

I found that slowly, surely,

the world did as I would say.

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Thanks for the shout-out Andrei!

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You’re welcome, Lyle!

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This post! Masterful way to keep us in suspense with you on that train, and use Dr. Pepper’s presentation to weave in goal-setting tips.

(PS: I’ll be in touch shortly for your upcoming micro-interview).

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Thank you so much for reading! And heck yeah, I'm really looking forward to that!

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I'm currently writing a taxonomy/categorisation of goals because I think it's one of those words that we easily misinterpret or misuse. Different goals have different qualities. Personally I try to limit my thinking about goals to the short-term stepping stones that are in my control. I have aspirations but these are too vague to be goals. When you set yourself big goals you are always failing until you reach them, and when you reach them they rarely bring the imagined satisfaction.

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Yeah, that's begun to be my view on the subject lately too. I suppose my "dreams" sit somewhere in the middle between your vague "aspirations" and my more concrete, controllable "goals". Still, it never pays off to pay too much attention on the things you can't control. I'm a proponent of big dreams, as I've written in the essay, but also of approaching those dreams realistically.

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So true, Andrei! May we craft our goals around what WE can input, and not rely on others to achieve those goals. Granted, it is certainly nice when that outside approval happens, but we can only control what WE control (our number of posts, for example, versus number of subscribers).

And I enjoyed your Ryan Holiday footnote. He made Stoicism fashionable again. :)

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Here’s to that, Mmerikani! I’m glad it resonated with you.

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May 20, 2023Liked by Andrei Atanasov

I'm a big fan of SMART goals but hadn't considered the "external factors" you mentioned. Dr. Pepper sounds an awful lot like Dr. Jordan Peterson. I also enjoy the work of The Daily Stoic; seems like we follow similar authors/content creators. Good stuff.

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It does seem like it! And thanks for reading, Walther. I’m glad you got something out of it.

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