Ellie MacBride recently joined us at Substack as our first community lead. She's a fellow writer and thoughtful person who's helped build creative communities at Patreon, Make School, and even at home. She'll be leading our efforts to help more writers find, get to know, and learn from each other.
Below, Ellie describes what she’ll be focusing on at Substack. Want to help us grow our writer community? Check out the survey at the bottom of this post and let us know how we can best serve you.
We’re at a point in time where our need for human connection greatly outweighs the availability of spaces where we can be with each other.
At the same time, the way writing is distributed, consumed, and valued is drastically changing, as barriers between writers and their audiences are being broken down and replaced with opportunities to create lasting relationships with readers.
Earlier this year, in the throes of the pandemic, I used writing to connect with my own community. I started a newsletter on Substack in an attempt to stay connected to friends and spread some of the lightness I was seeing emerge around me. Sharing vulnerable videos and personal stories became a healing experience and gave my life a renewed sense of purpose.
My desire to create those connections stemmed from years of experiencing the benefits of community in both my personal and professional life. In 2012, I helped start Agape, a 15-person intentional living co-op in the Mission District of San Francisco. It wasn't until I lived with others that I could finally see how I fit into the rest of the world. And I was determined to bring that gift of community to others, especially the like-minded artists, creators and makers who formed the nexus of my life here.
I joined Patreon in 2015 and spent the next three years helping to lay the foundation for community to grow, working closely with creators, patrons, arts organizations, and a small team to enable independent artists to earn a sustainable income through patronage from their fans. And now, I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and bring it to Substack.
Over the last couple months, I’ve been quietly working in the background to meet a lot of you over virtual hangs, help get Substack’s first mentorship program off the ground, launch an online community beta (request an invite here), and begin to lay the groundwork for a series of programs and events aimed at supporting writers at every step of the journey.
At Substack, our goal is to help sustain the new generation of writing, where your independence is valued and protected, and where you can create your own communities and connections through your relationship with your readers.
We’re bringing writers together to demonstrate what’s possible on Substack. By connecting you to the right tools, foundational knowledge, and peer support, we’ll work to set you up to succeed.
I’d love to learn about different writers’ experiences on Substack, and I made this short survey to gather ideas for ways we can make the community valuable to you. It shouldn’t take more than ~5 minutes to complete and includes the option to receive early invites to upcoming opportunities to meet other Substack writers.
We’re on the cusp of something special and I am beyond excited to be working with writers of all stripes. I can’t wait to create magic with you.
P.S. Want to work at Substack? If you’re excited about contributing your skills to bring more independent writing into the world, check out our job openings.