Good thing I never presented myself as a role model for job-free life.
This month I write to you with some personal news and an update about the status of this newsletter.
Recently I reached a major turning point in my life, and as a result I decided to let go of the hope that I'll ever be free of wage labor sufficiently enough to do my self-driven creative work full time. This includes The Anticareerist, of course.
Despite 20+ years of resistance to compulsory wage labor, I decided to accept that, like it or not, I’ll probably need to have a day job to "earn a living" for the rest of my life. I decided to stop clinging to false hopes and get on with my life exactly as it IS, instead of how I wish it were. I’m a professional copywriter; I earn most of my income through my day job writing marketing copy. It isn’t easy work, for sure, but at least I’m happier as a copywriter than I was in the days when I paid my bills by running a solo house cleaning business. And of course, I live in the US, so the health care system shapes my decisions too.
As I recently wrote on Twitter:
“I'm a professional copywriter. I'm on Medicaid. If I make $1 above the monthly income limit, the state will cut off my health care. Without that care I couldn't work at all, so every month I turn down work just to keep my health care. My life is an argument for #UBI.”
Since I have more space here than I do on Twitter, I feel compelled to add that when I wrote that I “couldn’t work” without affordable health care, I didn’t mean I couldn’t do ANY work. I meant that without my antidepressant medication and other health care that keeps me sharp enough to write for pay, I couldn’t do any wage labor, because wage labor worsens my clinical depression and other health issues. But I could certainly still do all the unpaid work I do every day.
Anyway, this decision to accept my circumstances means I’ll no longer attempt to bring in income through newsletter subscriptions on Substack. The abysmal conversion rates for online content are not in my favor. I’m aware that this isn’t necessarily a reflection on the quality of my work. Even stalwarts like The New York Times report that only 1-2% of online readers ever become paying subscribers.
I'll still write and publish the newsletter here on Substack. I enjoy it! And I’ll still gratefully accept financial support from those who choose to give it. But no longer will I cling to the hope that one day I'll attract enough paid subscribers to do it full time.
I hasten to add that I still believe strongly that the spirit of resistance to compulsory wage labor that lives inside me - the spirit that drove me to start this project in the first place - is a healthy thing. Nonetheless, wage labor continues to be a necessity in my own life. It is what it is, plain and simple.
There is a kind of power in giving up hope this way. Some call it “radical acceptance.” Acceptance does not mean approval, of course. It means I’m no longer fighting my current reality.
What this means for you is that from now on The Anticareerist will operate on an unpredictable publishing schedule, rather than a monthly one. Each issue will take as long as it takes, and I’ll release it whenever it’s ready.
If you’re a paid subscriber and would like to cancel your monthly $5 subscription, just visit your account on Substack or look at the bottom of your email for a link that reads: “To manage your paid subscription click here.”
If you paid for an annual subscription and would like a refund, just email me and I will issue that refund immediately.
Once again, I’d like to emphasize that I’ll still be publishing the newsletter, and I’m not giving up on The Anticareerist. I’m simply switching to a sporadic publishing schedule because I have accepted that my day job must come first, and that day job consumes most of my energy for writing, leaving little for The Anticareerist.
Thank you for reading, and thank you kindly for all your support.
D. JoAnne Swanson