The Time of the Writer with Farrah Storr


“Sometimes the best stories are the ones we don’t set out to tell”

Much has changed for Farrah Storr since the last time she joined me on the podcast. A former editor of Cosmo magazine, and editor-in-chief of Elle, Farrah now writes “Things Worth Knowing” on Substack, a tech newsletter platform that she calls “A personal media channel for the individual.”

We had a wonderful conversation about storytelling, the return of long-form content, and the pleasures of writing in community, rather than one-way broadcasting.

Farrah is also a wealth of information if you’d like to try Substack for yourself!

Things we talked about:

  • The value of owning your own audience
  • Building a brand for yourself around the work you’re doing
  • The growing online hunger for content by real people and the forging of real connections
  • We seem to be entering an era that Farrah calls, rather poetically, “the Time of the Writer”: the world has passed the period of devouring all the content on the Internet, now we are more discerning, and only want to consume content that we genuinely enjoy
  • The continued return of demand for long-form content
  • The return of community: the value of hearing from and engaging with your audience
  • Giving your best work away from free (yes!)
  • The limitations of the stories that can be told in traditional media
  • And related, the limitations of creating content when you’re in competition for followers or clicks
  • When you try to appeal to the masses, you bland out

Farrah’s tips for what works well on Substack:

  • Niching works well. The more you niche, the more dedicated (as opposed to big) an audience you’ll get
  • Publishing twice a week tends to grow a “stickier” audience
  • Use social media to point people to your Substack content
  • Use your “About” page to set expectations and declare a manifesto
  • Claim your real name, if you can

Where to find Farrah:

Where to find Sara: