Illustration: Toby Morris

Announcing Emily Writes Weekly, coming to an inbox near you

We’re excited to announce the launch of Emily Writes Weekly, a new paid newsletter by The Spinoff in collaboration with Emily Writes, landing in subscribers’ inboxes every Thursday evening. Below she explains what it is – and why it costs money.

It has been five years since I wrote my first blog post. It’s easy for me to track the length of my writing career because I started writing three weeks after my second child was born.

Lately, I have been considering my options for the future – I love writing, but like many writers, I’m wondering if it’s sustainable. For a lot of reasons. 

This here newsletter seems to me to be the best option for me to keep writing but be more selective about who I interact with. This last five years of sharing has been incredible, but it’s also been a steep learning curve. No matter what you do in life, unless you close yourself off completely, you will be bruised and battered in some way by your interactions with others. This is just being human.


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Being publicly human amplifies this in a way that we haven’t even begun to unpack as a society. Some seek fame through Instagram squares depicting a perfect, unattainable life, others hope for attention through creating their own reality on YouTube and TV. 

It’s a weird place to be if you hope for neither, but your work requires you to play the game. I’ve spent most of my time on the bench, trying to work out why there is such rage and hatred towards women writing about life. And why there is so much fury towards any commentary around that life when it includes children.

There’s always been an audience for this writing. And yet, there’s still so much disdain for it from people who are not part of that audience. I have long loved the therapeutic nature of writing, but being told as a writer I must cater to everyone, must hold every audience, is something I have never understood.

I want to speak only to the people who might enjoy my writing. To share only with those who see me as human. And saying that seems to cause exceptional offence to those so readily offended already. 

In offline life you don’t have to be for everybody. But the difference is nobody is leaping into your car at the traffic lights and screaming fuck you if you don’t want to hang out with them. If your offline and online life is so merged you need to work out a way to do all of this without the humanity of it being ripped away by others.

This, whatever we make this, can be ours. And I like that. It’s a way of saying that you can privately publicly share. That you can talk to each other through a screen just fine, actually. That intimacy happens online too – and it’s sacred. The swirling shitstorm can stay outside while we are warm inside, with our cups of coffee, biscuits and our humanness. 

The other issue – the elephant in the room – is that, like everyone else, I need money to live and support my family. When Duncan suggested I consider a paid newsletter, I was pretty nervous. As a person who writes for a living, I feel I spend a lot of time begging for scraps. I tour, write books, do plays – and I cobble together some bucks out of it. But sometimes I speak to a room and then can’t afford to buy a drink for myself afterwards.

There’s a way you can make money – and that’s to partner with brands on Instagram and Facebook. But I have issues with selling to people who have not consented to being sold to. Influencing is not my interest. I enjoy the odd sponsored post I do for The Spinoff, knowing the cost keeps this wonderful newsroom running. But I’ve always felt the only way for me to earn a crust is by having my writing published.

But I’d love a reliable income and this seems like the best way for me to do it. 

This transaction feels more like buying a zine or a book – and less like I’m selling my soul to push products on Instagram. It feels like a way to ethically do what I want to do.

So I’m launching Emily Writes Weekly from today on. It’s $5 a month, or $50 a year (with a 25% discount for The Spinoff Members – email members@thespinoff.co.nz to redeem that). The first edition comes out tonight, at 7pm. Then it’ll come out every Thursday. If you’ve enjoyed my writing, I think you’ll love it. And I’ll be very grateful. 

And we’ll get to keep doing this together. 

I’ve quit this lark a few times and been drawn back because I miss the community that is created every time we share our words with each other. This seems like a chance to make it work with boundaries. Because it only goes out to those who like my work enough to pay for it, the chance of trolls becoming involved is far lower. It feels like it will encourage those who hate-read to find better outlets for their misery, to have a space for the rest of us.

I like that. And I hope you will too.


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