Blogs and Newsletters

This is for writing, this is for fun

It's Sleepy Sunday!

Today, the subject of an ongoing discussion in our Twitter group was technical. Generally geeking out on the one-stop solution for publishing both a blog and a newsletter.

As always, I was more excited by the prospect of attempting to make something new. Though my adventures usually end in me breaking more things than I make. If you think that would have taught me to be more careful, you're mistaken. It's the excitement of not knowing whether what I'm building is going to break or not, that gives me a rush.

I was considering the need for a service while discussing with Whit Richardson an alternative online publishing setup to WordPress + MailChimp. At that very moment, Nate reminded me that Pranav Mutatkar had recently used something similar. Gloat, a concierge service by Dan Rowden to help writers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs get up and running with Ghost.

Isn't this lovely?

I'm always excited when an idea I have is already executed by someone else. It's strange. You might assume that I'd be disappointed. On the contrary, the way I see it, it was an idea worth executing and that tells me I got my head on straight.

Remember this. Life's too short for disappointments, despair or envy.

Every missed opportunity tells me that I just saved time working on that particular idea and that I can now get going on the next. As Nate says, plan your next.

In my book, there's no missed opportunity. It's like breathing, When you miss a breath, you don't stop breathing to lament the loss. You're grateful for the next breath. Likewise, I'm excited about the next big idea. And no better place to find them than in conversation with excitable minds.

To connect, converse, and share your thoughts unabashedly. We live in a universe of limitless possibilities.

One such possibility was being interviewed by Nate Kadlac for his upcoming newsletter. He had just one question - simple and singular.

Why should someone create a newsletter?

Soon as I read this, I fired up Drafts and quickly spat out my answer. I find a rabid stream of consciousness style of writing allows me to discover the answer that I'm unaware of myself. It's a very Zen thing. I do believe it works. My increasing newsletter subscriber base tells me this process (if you could call it that) works.

Before I answer the question, let's hear Jon Morrow's thoughts on newsletters (goose that laid golden eggs).

Newsletters are a one-way street. Readers have nothing to say, because they realize it’s not a conversation.

They don’t ask questions.
They don’t compliment your beautiful, powerful words.
They don’t correct your mistakes.
You think you’re doing and saying the right things, but what if you’re wrong?
What if you’re wasting your time?

You start second-guessing yourself, and before you know it, you’re changing the name of the newsletter or redesigning it or any number of neurotic activities we creators engage in without feedback.

He eventually concludes that you should write both a blog and a newsletter. I agree with all of the above.

So here's my answer to the question Nate threw at me - Why should someone create a newsletter?

Writing a newsletter allows me to express without the constraints of quality as a guiding principle. As terrible as that sounds, the focus is on emotional expression and intent to connect with a more personal audience (invested in me) than the Internet at large. The constraint here is the regularity to which I'm committed. In my case, publishing every Monday quickly made way to publishing every day. That's scary and exciting. Two words that sum up why I started and continue to write my newsletter. Fear and Desire.

This may take a while to digest or you may have a eureka moment and start writing right away. If you want to get started, but prefer to plan it out, I suggest you read what Nate has to say about starting your newsletter.

Enter the Newsletter

I think a newsletter is an ideal antidote to falling attention spans and mindlessness. I'm not sure if that's the opposite of mindfulness but it sure sounds like it.

I read short messages and concise work emails. Personal emotions are better expressed via emojis and GIFs than a long labor-intensive letter. I share profound tweets that are a result of decades of thought. Everything is shrink-wrapped and vacuum sealed.

In a newsletter, however, I'm writing no less than 500 words at the least. Each word has intent. Thought and emotion behind it. There is no craving for the dopamine hit that is expected from a tweet/post shared on social media.

It's slow to write and even slower to get feedback.

When I write on my own social media, I'm writing to others.
When I write to others in my newsletter, I'm writing to myself.

The more I write, the deeper the bond with myself. Of course, I could just write in my own journal. But sharing compounds the joy of writing.

So I believe everyone should write a blog and a newsletter. Your blog can be for serious writing and your newsletter for fun. You could share it only with family and friends.

To steal from the Rifleman's Creed -

This is my newsletter. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My newsletter is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

If you are still shy to start your own newsletter, hit reply. Piggyback on my letter. Share your thoughts. Write to me.