Why I'm removing the paywall to A Broad View
Hey, hi! How ARE you? I’m hanging in here but I’ve missed you. Work is especially busy and I don’t really like all the too busyness that life is throwing my way but I’m muddling through and feeling really good.
I want to write here more - at least twice a month and hopefully more - but I wanted to recalibrate my intentions for this Substack and share them with you real quick.
I’ve been mulling over the vibe I want this Substack to have and have decided to remove the paywall from each article published here on A Broad View. This means that “free” subscribers will now have access to the same content as “paid” subscribers.
I’m not doing this because the money isn’t incredibly helpful - holy shit, the money has been a lifesaver this year. It seems like every month, when my bank balance drops into double digits and my paycheck is still several days away, I get an influx of Substack money (your money!) and it blows my mind every time it happens. I can’t even explain to you how amazing that feels; like each of you are keeping an eye on me, lifting me up and telling me I’ll be ok.
I’m offering my writing for free, among other reasons, because I want to return the generosity. If you can pay to read, I am endlessly grateful but if you can’t, I still want you to read, I still want you to comment.
Do I believe I should be paid for my writing? Absolutely. It’s also massively validating to know that so many people are willing to pay $5 (the least amount Substack allows me to charge) a month. That said, returning to a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle this year forced me to trim my own online subscriptions and deeply consider what content is most important to me. Who adds value to my life? Who is worth my limited time? Who inspires me to look at the world in different ways and evaluate my perspectives? Who and what makes me think? What makes me happy?
I ended up cancelling my subscription to the NY Times even though I enjoy a lot of content on the site. Then I turned around and subscribed $3 a month to Kottke.org even though his content is free because I value his voice, what he leads me to each day and the panorama of thoughts that content inspires.
I guess what I’m saying is that even though I would be thrilled to make Substack my primary source of income - it would truly be a lifelong dream realized - I also want to offer the content for free. It’s the right way to proceed and the best path toward expanding my abilities as a writer while drawing a readership that appeals to me.
I have always had issues with monetizing my creativity. I’ve been writing on the internet for more than twenty years and writing for money or writing under obligation when YOUR hard-earned money you have entrusted me with is at stake inevitably changes the way I feel, the way I write and maybe most importantly, the way I feel about writing.
I seem to gravitate toward long-form articles that take a while to write. I need to live the essay for a few days to a week to understand what I’m trying to say, what I want to say and what I need to say. And I can’t do that if I’m panicking about you getting your money’s worth in the form of quantity.
I want to write because I can’t not write about something, because it’s vibrating around my body and bursting to get out. I like letting a thing roll around in my head, let it breathe, talk to others about it and really understand how I feel and what I want to say and sometimes more importantly, what I shouldn’t say. And I want you to read what I have to say because you want to.
You can pay me if you feel inspired, but I want you to have access to it regardless.
Writing here doesn’t feel like a job and I need it to stay that way. I want it to feel like an organic relationship with you, a lovely give and take wherein money is an optional part of that. Writing here is always exciting and cathartic. Every single time and I don’t want that to change.
Sometimes a post starts out as one thing, travels down a road and takes wholly unexpected twists and turns. It’s the odd experience of feeling like a passenger in a car I’m also driving. Or maybe it’s more like being lost in a big city: I wonder what will happen if I turn down this street…
Other times I’m able to articulate experiences and perceptions that have been roiling in my guts for months, years, and the process of writing, publishing and reading your comments feels like a top-notch therapy session wherein I uncover thoughts and feelings I didn’t know I was experiencing. And your comments… Shit, you guys. I have THE BEST readers. The best. Y’all are so smart, thoughtful, observant and kind.
Being an online writer for so many years - from what feels like the very beginning of confessional online blogging - has changed my life in myriad ways, some good, some bad. But I think I’m finally understanding what works for me and I’m trusting my gut and I’m trusting you to help me keep figuring out what works for me. Seeking compensation for my work feels right, but always offering a free option also feels right. Scary, but right. For me and for you.
If this changes how you feel as a paid subscriber I completely understand. You can switch to a free membership by clicking here, managing your account and have access to the same content you had as a paid subscriber. You can also upgrade to a paid membership, which I would greatly appreciate.
Regardless, I am so appreciative of your continuous support. This endeavor, writing online and making connections with so many people all over the world, is one of the most beautiful, meaningful highlights of my life.
If that feels like an overwrought sentiment, so be it. It’s the fucking truth.
With endless gratitude and love,
IWNDWYT - Day 135