Inspired | October 2021

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in October: an explanation for the shortage of books, going to the movies in 2021, revenge bedtime procrastination, and more.

Authors Choosing Paid Substack Serials Over Full Books Worries Me as a Reader by Alyssa Shotwell

To refer to other online creatives again, it is almost a monthly occurrence in which one of my favorite creatives will say they are concerned because of the conflict between what algorithms (influenced by people’s decisions!) tell them people want and what they want to do. Writers already deal with this in different ways, and this is not a conversation about selling out, but this also acts as a reminder that Substack is not a cure-all.

The great book shortage of 2021, explained by Constance Grady: “Most years, the news that more people are reading books would be treated as an unalloyed positive. This year, the increased demand for books is colliding head-on with some major problems throughout the rest of the publishing industry.”

Moviegoing During a Pandemic by Leah Schnelbach, Christina Orlando and Emmet Asher-Perrin: “It sucks. It sucks that we’re in this situation. We do our best—we mask, we only go to theaters that require proof of vaccination, we keep seats empty between social groups. But it also sucks to feel like opening weekend theater-going is the only way to make sure films like this keep getting made.”

Why I changed my mind on end credits by John August

The median guaranteed payment for a screenwriter with no credits was $140,000. The median guaranteed payment for a screenwriter with one credit was $400,000.

A single feature credit more than doubled a screenwriter’s pay.

Would receiving an “Additional Literary Material” credit result in the same bump? Likely not to the same degree. But it would show that a screenwriter worked on a film that got made. I strongly believe that’s going to be worth real dollars to that writer. 

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination by Anne Helen Petersen

It’s a symptom of workism and the burnout that accompanies it, which means you can find it anywhere where that approach to a career has been normalized. It’s illogical and annoying and only makes things worse. But it’s also what our souls do when we refuse to nourish them. They sabotage our most perfect intentions for sleep, because sleep is not the same as leisure. Don’t get me wrong; sleep is great. It can be deeply restorative. But it also requires us to be, well, unconscious.

Ten Ways to Make Your Time Matter by Oliver Burkeman: “As a recovering “productivity geek,” I know how it feels to become swept up in the idea of discovering the perfect system of time management. But I was eventually forced to accept that my struggles to achieve a sense of perfect control or mastery of my time were counterproductive, leading not to a life of more meaning but one of more overwhelm and stress.”

How America Invented the White Woman Who Just Loves Fall by Hazel Cills

But autumnal agritourism, such as casually strolling through a fruit orchard to pick a few apples, is an activity only tied consigned to the past if you are a wealthy urbanite. To visit a farm and pick a few apples is a way for white-collar city dwellers to play-act a pastoral fantasy, an aesthetic that’s also popped up in Fixer Upper-approved “modern farmhouse” design trends and often misleading, green-washed “farm-to-table” food branding. 

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?