Writing Online May Not Be For You

And that's totally okay.

Hey! This is the final edition of the ‘Writing with AO’ newsletter. As I type this, we’re 356 subscribers strong! If you’d like to join the band, subscribe below.

I’ve never in my life done anything consistently and publicly on such a scale as this newsletter. To say I’m mentally drained is an understatement. BUT WHAT A PRIVILEGE.

What a privilege to have written every week to you for the last five months. Apart from my faith in Jesus Christ, nothing has changed my life like writing online. And every single one of you has had a monumental role to play in it.

To my friends, Bolatito, Racheal and Tobi who encouraged me to start, to the first 16 subscribers who took a leap of faith to join when I announced it on Twitter, to everyone who has shared or opened it or sent positive feedback, this is your win. Thank you! Thank you!

This is not a final goodbye. I’ll either be starting a new newsletter or continue with this same format in February 2021. Nothing is certain but I’d like to enjoy creating and consuming again in January without the maniac pressure of a weekly deadline.

Why am I ending this?

  • First off, there are not enough conversations around the mundanity and maintenance of creating on such scale. Doing the same thing over and over can make you feel like you’re making progress but also blind you from seeing you may be running on rabbit wheels. This newsletter is so narrow that I don’t want to start repeating myself in a bid to publish.

  • I haven’t grown as a writer lately. For the last month or so, this is my routine for writing this newsletter. Do nothing Monday - Friday. Slightly panic on Saturday and think about a topic. Open draft but actually write nothing. Increasing panic sets on Sunday morning. Crap! How did I get here?

    Sit down and start scrambling words because I’m out of time and by a writing process, magic, miracle, talent or desperation, I publish before the day’s out.

    I can’t continue like this if I want to improve. I need to get my agenda in order, start learning without the pressure to reproduce and take time to write quality pieces without needing to fit into a niche. ‘Ayomide Ofulue can write and ship consistently’ — that’s not an argument. ‘How far can he go?’ is the money question.

    Niklas Goke puts it well. “When you’re starting out as a creator, consistency is everything. If you don’t learn to ship on command, you’ll never develop the level of professionalism you need.

    But the more you learn, the more time you need to get better. This natural relationship of quantity decreasing over time as quality increases are lost on most, but it’s exactly what dictates our limits.”

  • Finally, I want to expose myself to new ideas, newsletter formats, new audiences and experiences. I’ve enjoyed writing these long newsletters, but maybe a James Clear style works better for me in the long run.

    Or a newsletter with commentary and links. I don’t know to be honest. This has been working so well it’s stupid to actually take a breather. But why not now? The beauty of creative projects once started, is the ability to iterate or pivot.

    Or I want to try these long pieces on my website instead of substack. Perhaps the serendipity of a newsletter is lower than on a personal website. After people read your newsletter, what next? Reply to you or share it. But on your website, they can keep browsing and find other things that may be mutually beneficial. Haha, I obviously need help deciding what to do next. Shoot me an email with advise guys.

Whatever final decision I make, I hope I’ve enough credibility that you can stick around till February because you know I’m going to end up with something valuable to you. All of my writing will still remain reader-focused.

If not, please feel free to use the unsubscribe button at the end of this mail.

I’m in no rush to get to 10k email subscribers or whatever metric people measure success by. If there was no email, wouldn’t I still be a writer? I just want to fall back in love with the process that got me here in the first place.

I got a mail from a subscriber, Fanny Vassilatos and it felt like a climax to everything I’ve tried to help people do since I started writing.

Along with this tweet:

You may not understand why I’m happy about this until you know a little bit about my story.

Prior to writing online, I never had any skill I was good at. I tried multiple things from modelling to coding, to video editing, audio production, teaching, graphic design and photography.

None of them gave me the ease and impact that writing has given, to the point where others have been inspired to publish online as well. From a genesis of sitting in my room one day, tired as hell of my job and trying something new. And then riding the wave to do it consistently in public.

People say life isn’t linear, but nobody tells you the frustration of living on a curve. So to have this kind of impression in such a short time is absolutely overwhelming and I don’t know how else I can encourage you to put yourself out there and take one person along for the ride.

That’s all I’ve done. Put my self on the internet and showed my journey to anyone who gave me their attention. All the rewards have come from that. Because of this, I’ve never been more excited for the new year as there’s a flood of opportunities I can take advantage of.

Writing may not be for you in all honesty or me. But I’m willing to go all-in, in the new year and see how far my sails may go. So go try out what you’re afraid to do, what you’ve never done. Do it publicly. Do it continuously. Do it to help someone. ‘The reward of a work is to have produced it; the reward of effort is to have grown by it.’

It's a party on the internet. But if you don't start, you don't get invited. And If you've begun, keep going. Everyone is rooting for you.

“Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do---the actual act of writing---turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.”

Enjoy the holidays,


PS: On the 31st, I’ll send a letter to you with links to two articles I’m writing that’ll help new publishers start or old publishers to stay consistent and an ‘End of the Year review’. I want to do anything I can to help you do the most in the new year.

If you have any ideas for me on how to go about my newsletter experiment, please reply to this mail as well!