Real honesty delivered regularly.

My wife and daughter and me at Eibsee in the south of Germany freezing our noses off to catch the sunrise.

I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you that you write very well - as in I'm, not saying in the literary sense but in a straightforward and straight to the heart kind of writing. No bullshit and unnecessary preamble.

I want to thank you for helping me down this path of facing the finite nature of my time and abilities (trying to internalise that that's okay) and figuring out what a meaningful life truly means for me (an answer that needs to come from me)

I really like your style of writing, hence I subscribed! I have been off social media ever since my child was born and have been searching for non-influencer types blogs to read, so it was a pleasant discovery.

I used to follow many blogs, but then I realized they're becoming too formulaic and inauthentic. Your blog is the opposite. I love it for being raw, for being honest.

Your PKM experiments and process notes are what drew me to your work. Minimalist approach to writing and publishing keeps me coming back.

Origins of this newsletter

I’m 32 as I sit here editing my Substack “about” page, and I can’t find a way to better articulate what my 25-year-old self had already laid out in an old blog post I published when I was still in university. So here it is, what this newsletter is about, in my own words from 7 years earlier (with light edits for readability).

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I recently read this article (2022 Nick: now a web archive link) by an indie app developer John (creator of WordPress app, Desk) who asked writers who publish their work on the Internet to step up to an important challenge of being fully transparent. What he was asking is for us to reflect deeply, write truthfully without omitting the ugly.

In facing my own problems with people around me, I often find myself stranded. Although thousands of posts are being published every minute, I could never find more than a few that were written with a naked heart. In my sadness I’m unable to find solace on the Internet, in people’s stories, as much as I want to.

So here’s my plea to you, if you’re a regular reader of this blog (2022 Nick: here I’m referring to the old blog I kept in uni) and keep one of your own too, start baring your heart and soul in your writing. Show the world that life is not all rainbows and butterflies, and that somehow that is also okay. Tell them that the sweet would never be as sweet without the sour. Give them a piece of you, like me giving a piece of me to you. Ultimately, know that there are people out there that may need that sense of commonality for comfort, no matter how weird or distorted that sounds.

I won’t believe that I’m the only person who has sought other (random strangers’) stories on the Internet in times of sadness, hardship, excitement, even happiness. And I doubt that you do either.

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Why should I become a paying subscriber?

There’s a free version of the newsletter that anyone can subscribe to. Being part of this list means you will receive one post every two weeks.

Over the course of blogging for 7 years, I’ve learned that there are a handful of people who really like reading what I write. They tell me that I write like I talk and that my constant learning and writing inspires them to do the same with their time. But most commonly I hear something to this effect: “I read the stuff you write because I know/feel like I know you personally.”

When you become a paid subscriber, you directly contribute to me being able to keep doing this *waves finger awkwardly around.* More vulnerability, more honesty, more documented attempts to be a better person. If I have enough subscribers to pay the bills, hell yeah, I will do this full-time! Writing is, as I’ve found after years of searching, the thing I love.

As a way of thanking you, you’ll gain access to:

  • Two additional paid-only posts every month (so once per week including free)

  • Posts that are too vulnerable, honest, and intimate to be shared publicly

  • Occasional closed-door discussion threads

  • Guaranteed replies from me via email

If there is more you believe I could offer to paid subscribers, feel free to message me (subscribe, then reply to an email dispatch). For now, this is what I can realistically and happily offer.

Start here

New and still not sure what this newsletter is about? Here is a handpicked list of posts that I’ve been particularly proud of having written as a sample:


People

Nick Ang
Programmer at Shopify, thinking incessantly, not typically about software.