And So It Begins

Despite having written extensively on several personal blogs since 2013, I’d say my professional career as a writer only began in September 2020 when I started working for Mark as a Content and Research Assistant.

Until then, I never seriously considered writing as a paid profession. Writing was something I did for fun. I knew I was good at it, but the thought of monetising my work never really crossed my mind.

Joining Mark’s team opened my eyes to a whole new world where writing can make a living. Plus, it’s also given me a nice bump in confidence. If I’m good enough for a #1 NY Times best-selling author, then surely I must be good enough for the world?

But still, the shift in perspective didn’t lead to any concrete actions. There I was… still blogging away once every month or two as I always had. Knowing writing can make a living and taking steps to make it so are two very different things. And one didn’t lead to the other for me.

It’s funny how life happens in unplanned ways. I’ve been an Economist subscriber for over a year now and read their daily newsletter on and off. One day, this article on the content creator economy landed in my inbox. Being a content creator myself, I was intrigued and gave it a quick read-through.

The article talked about many things, some more interesting than others. In the midst of it all, it mentioned Substack as a platform for writers to be paid to write by their readers directly. Once again, I was intrigued. So I began exploring the platform.

Substack works as a newsletter where writers can monetise their writing. You write stuff, get people to subscribe to them, and somewhere down the line (preferably sooner rather than later) you ask those subscribers to feed you. Simple as that.

Mark also does a newsletter (that’s how I got my job), but helping proofread his never really sparked the idea to start my own. Until I read that Economist article and came across Substack.

As I said, funny how life happens.

Me being me, i.e. the bull who runs head-first at desired targets without hesitation, I immediately set up my newsletter. It took over three hours, and I ended up with Val Thinks, a penny for my thoughts.

As the name suggests, my newsletter shares a thought from me every Friday. These are thoughts I’ve had across three decades on all sorts of topics under the sun. Since launching it in May 2021 (just under a month ago), I’ve written about energy management, perverse incentives, and coffee addiction. In the pipeline are my musings about the nature of events vs facts, making friends, and moisterising, among others.

And today, this happened:

After just under a month of hustling and tireless promotions (spamming?) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, my newsletter garnered its first 100 subscribers.

I have no idea how easy or difficult it will be to multiply this figure in the months and years to come, but I sure will try.

For a girl who always wanted to become a writer, I’ve done very little so far to put me on that path. I’ve worked in corporate, taught English, translated subtitles. I guess you can say blogging has helped hone my writing skills. But I’ve almost treated it more as a distraction than as a step toward life as a professional writer.

Well, now I’ve bit the bullet and taken my first step.

Here’s to hoping all those years of blogging pay off. And here’s to subscribers.

If you’ve read my writing over the years, check out the newsletter. It’s the crème de la crème of my writing, content- and writing-wise. You might enjoy it.

Give it a read, like it, subscribe to it. And spread the word if you like what you… read?


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