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How Kelton Wright Grew Her Substack Newsletter To 5,000+ Subscribers

The incredible creator behind 'Shangrilogs'

This is a conversation with Kelton Wright, the creator of Shangrilogs, an award winning Substack newsletter with over 5,000 subscribers and 300 paid subscribers. 

Kelton moved to a small town in Colorado a few years ago and decided to start this blog detailing her life renovating a newly-purchased cabin and assimilating into the culture there. 

Spoiler Alert: It is wonderful. 

Kelton injects palpable energy, hilarious attention to detail, and an endearing honesty about all the ups and downs of small-town Colorado living into her blog. 

In this podcast, we chronicle the life of this newsletter. How she grew it, how she started it, how she approaches personal essay writing, and why she believes it’s best for everybody involved to give your whole self to your audience, and let them decide to take it or leave it.

I hope you enjoy it. And my apologies for my microphone in the first 30 minutes. I selected the wrong one to record with on Zoom. Without further ado, here is our conversation. 


1:37 Kelton’s great success starting a Tumblr blog
4:40 What Kelton did after ending her Tumblr blog
6:43 When did Kelton know Shangrilogs was going to be successful?
7:41 Why half of Kelton’s audience unsubscribed from Shangrilogs at the beginning
8:20 Kelton felt like she was writing into the void a bit at the start
10:13 Kelton still feels like she hasn’t found the “essence” of Shangrilogs yet
12:19 When did her newsletter start to see some success?
15:28 How much has luck played a part in Kelton’s success?
18:25 On extroversion and being a ‘performer’ vs. social butterfly
19:29 How Kelton approaches responding to tons of readers
22:14 How difficult is it to spend a bunch of emotional energy responding to an audience and then turn around and try to make friends in the real world?
27:48 How Kelton’s writing is “cinematic” and why it makes her posts compelling
32:32 Why Kelton writes things seconds after they happened sometimes
37:40 The balance between writing a story how you experienced it and considering how other people experienced it
43:41 How long does it take Kelton to write her posts?
46:32 How easy is it for Kelton to press publish and let a post go?
49:13 Personal essays are kind of meant to be wrong sometimes
52:59 It’s best to be your whole self in your writing
55:32 On thinking “what the heck was I writing?!” when reading past personal essays
58:27 How much Kelton makes on Substack and how she monetizes
1:03:15 How Kelton’s “paid editions” feel different from her free posts
1:05:05 I had some microphone problems 😂
1:06:07 Donate to World Wildlife Fund


Shangrilogs -

s Substack
Power of the Pen (Ohio Writing Competition)
Date By Numbers (Kelton’s Tumblr blog)
Kelton’s first post on Shangrilogs - ‘I bought a house in the middle of nowhere
Culture Study - The Substack of who promoted Shangrilogs early on
94 hours to go - Kelton’s post on the amount of hours needed to make friends
Where no one knows your name - Kelton’s post where she talks about the awkward conversation she had with a local early on
World Wildlife Fund

Mind Of A Writer
Mind Of A Writer Podcast
A podcast about writing and how to grow on Substack, featuring interviews with Subtack's most popular creators.