Good morning, friends!
My 10yo son and I got lost the other day trying to find a (new to us) library. I was annoyed at first, thinking about how we’d have to walk all this extra way, and how we weren’t at our destination already. But then we chanced upon this hill with grazing sheep, little walks through the trees, and the most beautiful and panoramic views of the city we’ve ever seen. All within minutes of where we live.
We couldn’t believe that we hadn’t known about all this beauty in our own backyard. And that it had taken us getting lost to find it.
Life’s like that sometimes.
I was feeling pretty lost in my career over the last six months. It’s taken a few detours to find the beauty that’s been here all along.
Enjoy the issue!
NEWS & VIEWS
Tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, announced on Tuesday that he’s stepping down as the CEO of Medium, the company he founded in 2012 to reinvent publishing on the Internet.
Like Substack, Medium has often claimed to be a platform that supports independent writing and journalism. In 2014, Williams told the New York Times that he wanted to create a system where the best ideas and stories reach their widest audience. “Right now, the Internet rewards speed and quantity, and we wanted to make a place where quality matters,” he said.
In this post for his newsletter, Platformer, Casey Newton catalogs every business pivot in Medium history:
“Medium has taken different strategic paths, sometimes aggrieving writers with its sudden shifts in focus,” the New York Times reports. Indeed, many writers have built audiences of tens of thousands on Medium only to realize they have no direct access to those readers and no way to contact them outside of Medium.
At The Wordling, we’re fans of both Medium and Substack but as tools to build an audience, not as platforms with exclusive access to them.
Medium’s journey and Substack’s recent troubles should be a warning to any creator who relies on a platform to reach their own audience.
Use the tools and the platforms, we say. But if they were to disappear, make sure your access to your audience doesn’t disappear along with them.
On writing and staging a play in prison: “One of my greatest hopes is to be an inspirational example for my peers, particularly those in the direst of conditions who remain determined to improve their existence,” writes Sterling Cunio. “I write this for you. To assure you writing can create possibility and opportunities capable of transcending the walls that hold us.”
On finding a sense of creative recklessness: “Things were so horrible that I think it gave me a sense of creative recklessness,” says Emily St. John Mandel in this interview with Maris Kreizman. “I had this feeling that I don’t care what people think of this work. Life is terrible and I’m going to write whatever I want. And here’s a time traveler on a moon colony in the year 2400. It was a crazy sci-fi thing from the very beginning.”
OPPORTUNITY OF THE WEEK
Bergstrom Studio is offering a £6,000 grant to help support an underrepresented writer in the UK who is working on their first novel.
The grant will be given to an unagented, unpublished author so they get no-strings-attached financial support to finish writing their first book. The money might be used to cover time to write, childcare, a physical space to write, or to subsidise income or rent.
THE WORDLING SPONSOR
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If you’re ever struggling with story ideas, ask yourself:
1. What is pissing me off today? Can I write about that?
2. What is pissing me off today? Is anyone doing work that helps resolve that problem? Can I write about THAT?
SIERRA LEONE: “Amid the spread of disinformation-fueled “opinion media” in democratic societies, and government censorship and propaganda in autocracies, press freedom is declining globally. Sierra Leone, however, is moving in the other direction. The West African nation rose 29 places in Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s 2022 press freedom rankings, to 46th globally — comparable to Uruguay, South Korea and the U.S.”
BRAZIL: “The International Center for Journalists, in partnership with Youtube Brazil, selected six news organizations for funding and mentorship as part of the “Jogo Limpo,” or “Fair Game” initiative. This initiative aims to support innovative solutions to combating misinformation in the lead-up to Brazil’s elections. Here’s how these newsrooms are fighting misinformation in Brazil and creating a fair game for voters in the upcoming elections.”
HUNGARY: “At the end of 2016, there were literally just 200 podcasts in Hungary and not all of them were active. The same was true for almost the whole Central and Eastern European (CEE) market. In 2021, 12% of Hungarians listened to podcasts weekly. That’s enough to build a sustainable podcast business.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The profession of book-writing makes horse-racing seem like a solid, stable business.”
‒ John Steinbeck
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