When you don’t have enough of something, it becomes all you can think about.
How the hell is this comment threat not brimming with people talking about their experiences with scarcity traps?
This really speaks to me. Notes has been great but I already feel the need to check it constantly, and I’m looking at my subscriber counts more than ever.
Thanks for this. Especially the tips. 🙏🙏
Yep, scarcity traps are real! And bloomin hard not to fall into, it’s a whole body experience as your nervous system goes into overdrive/meltdown.
Just found your Substack, and read this April post. I appreciate you defining that free-flowing feeling of anxiety I often have about my fiction writing, newsletter, social media, etc. Scarcity traps! I'm starting to see them in other area of my life, too. I'll be checking out the NPR podcast you recommended, plus more of your posts. Thanks!
Great writing. "I have seen writers whose social media presence and newsletters became phenomenally self-centred, to an extent that goes well beyond basic self-promotion. They talked about nothing else but themselves, their books, their cover reveals, their events. There’s no give, it’s all ask." <-- too many of these, it's why I dislike LinkedIn.
Scarcity makes anxiety which saps creativity, for sure. I learned to avoid worrying about numbers and concentrate on quality on my own terms, not worrying if what I write meets other people's expectations or appeals to readers widely. I'd rather have a small, dedicated audience than be in the numbers game.
I suspect (empirical evidence not available) that writing what you think people want. ie what will drive subscriber numbers, is a bad idea. I suspect (again, zero proof) that writing what you enjoy and what is interesting to you is the thing that actually attracts readers. Maybe it's just magical thinking, but at least it leads to a better experience doing the actual writing.
Yes! So much plays on scarcity as a driver of action. With social media, it’s often scarcity of connection that drives people to post. That cycle of wanting to share to connect, then getting disappointed no one has liked or replied, then feeling more disconnected. Confirmation of a negative thought pattern.
Dating apps would have to work much harder with UX if people weren’t starting from a place of scarcity and feeling they have to sign up if they want a chance of meeting someone.
Not sure how to stay in that place of abundant opportunity mindset though! Get better at identifying areas of contentment to start from?
Having a scarcity mindset has brought a lot of inner struggle with my own writing as I compared myself to other successful Substack writers. This usually ended up with me not writing for long periods of time. Changing my focus inwards to why I write has helped as well as making small changes in how I write has given me the confidence to keep writing. However this is a fragile peace and constant awareness of the scarcity traps is needed. Thanks for the reminder! 🙏🏽