Hey Friends 👋
Welcome back to another edition of my weekly newsletter; this week, it's a special anniversary; it's the 6-month anniversary of the newsletter and it's definitely arrived sooner than I thought it would. 😅
Doesn't time fly? But, I guess that's a side-product of constantly running around from one project to another and from one exciting idea to the next. It's all too easy to keep chasing what could be, and not stop, take note of, and enjoy the present moment.
But alas, that's a topic for another week because this week I want to stop, take note, and share 6 lessons I've learnt from the past 6 months of publishing a newsletter every Sunday.
So, without further ado, here are those 6 lessons.
Note: I will be approaching these lessons from my experience of writing a weekly newsletter (well-done, captain obvious 😅.) But, not just this, I'm also bearing in mind the type of newsletter I do; a public journal. These lessons might or might not apply to other types of newsletters.
Anyway, here we go. 🙌
At first, I thought how hard can it be to sit down every Sunday, smash out 600-1000 words and hit publish. Surely, it can't take that long? Or, be that hard?
Or, at least that's what I thought, it turns out it can be surprisingly difficult to drum up the energy/time to do so. There have been times where I've put it off and not got around to it till late in the evening. One week I published at around 23:30 (not my finest hour).
(Side note, I learnt that week that trying to write a newsletter while binging a TV series isn't a good idea, do one, or the other, not both).
There are weeks where it's hard, where you're worn down from the week been and the only thing you want to do is sit down and do nothing. Those weeks are the toughest, you have to fight the urge and almost physically drag yourself to the computer and hammer out the words and press send.
But, this nicely leads us to the second lesson...
Don't expect every edition to be your magnum opus, I can say definitively it won't be. There will be weeks where the words aren't flowing, your thoughts are clouded and the ideas aren't coming. Then there will be other weeks where you can't type fast enough, the ideas are plentiful and the sun is shining that much brighter. (Or, moon depending on when you're writing it. 👀)
To paraphrase James Clear's Atomic Habits; sometimes you just need to turn up and get the tick in the box. It might not be your best piece of work and you might only manage to write for 5 minutes but you're casting a vote in the right direction of becoming a weekly newsletter writer.
So, of course, every week won't be your best piece of writing, the story being told might not be as exciting as the weeks past and that's okay, that's life. There will be ups and downs, better pieces of work and worse ones. Don't worry about this, just ride them out and keep the habit going.
I won't sugarcoat it, writing a weekly newsletter is tough and while you do improve over time it can take up a fair chunk of time.
But, don't let this fool you into not writing an edition and breaking the habit. There's been a few times I've nearly broken the habit because things got in the way. I remember a few weeks ago, writing an edition on my phone while sitting in a cinema lobby waiting for our screening of the new Jackass movie to be called in.
It would've been easy to go, "I'm not at my computer or home so I can't write the newsletter. But it's okay, I'll start again next week".
But, this is a slippery slope, and what I've learnt, is if you want to do something, you'll find a way; be it staying up an extra hour or two, getting up early or writing the newsletter on your phone in a cinema lobby.
If we want to do something; we will find the time and a way; regardless of the situation.
As I've published more and more editions, I've become more accustomed to just pushing the send button.
It's easy to sit and refine, rewrite, and reread over the edition again and again until it's "perfect".
But, this itself is flawed as there is no truly accurate definition of perfect in writing, journaling, thinking, or anything else for that matter.
What I believe is perfect, may not be to you, and what is perfect to you might not be to Bill down the road. (I don't know if there is a Bill down the road, but we can imagine there is.)
The important thing isn't that the writing is perfect; I'm for sure not Mark Twain or George Orwell. Or, that the ideas are flawless because they aren't.
The important thing is doing what you set out to do with your newsletter in that edition and pressing send, be it perfect or not.
For me, these newsletters are a way to share my journey publicly, the lessons I learn, the problems I encounter and the choices I ultimately have to make.
I do it publicly for a few reasons; firstly to hold myself accountable but more importantly in the hope that something I say or share may one day help someone.
They were never meant to be pieces of literary greatness. (However, I will take it if they are 😂.)
I edit every edition once, I proofread it to ensure there are no (or as few) mistakes as possible in it; I check I'm getting my ideas and thoughts across (hopefully), and then push publish and move on with life.
Perfection can be chased but I'm not sure we can catch it.
I'm not the same person I was 6 months ago when I started these newsletters. As with me, my thoughts, my emotions, and my ideas are all different as well.
As we grow and change, these all change with us and ultimately, they are a reflection of the journey we are on.
And, on a slightly more micro-level, a newsletter is the same. When I started this newsletter 6 months ago, did I imagine it would be like it is now?
No, I didn't.
The sections I write about are different, the way I write is different and the ideas I write about have evolved and changed.
In short, we are all on a journey as is our newsletter. Let it evolve and grow.
It's our responsibility to nurture our newsletter, give it room to change and grow. But, most importantly, let it change us in the process and have fun doing it.
Over the last 6 months, I've developed a fondness for writing and journaling in this very public way. At first, I wasn't sure what I would gain or how it would change me but over time I've learned, that there is a certain je ne sais quoi to writing, especially in a public journal like this.
I honestly can't remember the original reason I started the newsletter but knowing myself it was probably an entrepreneurial reason in some capacity. While this was enough motivation to get me started and to get me writing, it wasn't enough to keep me going.
But, what is enough to keep me going; is the process.
I've started to look forward to writing these editions, coming up with ideas about what I could share from my journey and how it might help others.
So, at first, I was very motivated by the numbers, the possibilities and the might-be of the newsletter. However, over time this has shifted drastically.
Now, I don't focus on the numbers as I at the start. At the time of writing, there are only 27 subscribers to this newsletter (of which one is me to check it gets delivered right).
That has got to be one of the slowest growth rates of a newsletter and if I was purely motivated by the results, I would've probably changed tactics by now.
Instead, I've come to appreciate this form of writing and sharing and the process of doing it. The numbers while nice, aren't important. What's important is the possibility of helping others, even if that is just one person.
Of course, this might be different for your newsletter if you have one. For example, if your newsletter is more resource-focused then the results are likely far more important. But, I believe the following lesson holds regardless.
Chasing results will only lead to motivation for so long. But, loving the process, the actual act of making it, will yield motivation for far longer.
I hope you have enjoyed the last 6 months of the newsletter (or, however long you have been with me in that time). Either way, I want to take a moment to truly thank you all, the fact that 26 people have chosen to subscribe to my weekly newsletter is amazing. Thank you.
I'm truly grateful and I look forward to bringing you more weekly editions going forward, onto the year anniversary we go.
As always, thank you for reading and I hope you have an amazing week next week.
The website is coming along well, I've made some concessions on what will be included in the MVP to bring forward the release date to earlier in April.
The chief concession is the ability to only filter blog posts on the website by a single category/tag at a time.
While not a major issue as I believe this is a fairly common limitation on blogs/websites, it is something I would like to do in the future.
For the MVP, not having this feature is not a show-stopper. And, I'm excluding far more important things from the MVP like my dedicated newsletter page.
But, out of curiosity, let me know if this would be an issue for you? How annoyed would you be if you could only filter by one category/tag at a time?
Outside the world of filters and logic, I've made some changes to the design of the website to allow for easier implementation of light/dark themes in the future. At first, I'm launching the website with just light mode. But, post-MVP, one of my chief priorities is adding a dark theme.
- Thought: Writing offers a level of clarity that far exceeds other forms of reflection.
- Question: Do you have a newsletter? Or, write publicly? If not, why?
- Challenge: Write 300 words per day every day this coming week and see how you find the process of writing your thoughts down. You don't need to share it publicly but bonus points if you do. (Feel free to tag me if you do.)
If you have enjoyed this edition and want to see more of my content please consider checking out my various socials below:
If you have a question you'd like me to ask me then I'd ask you to consider publically tweeting me it so others may be able to learn from it. However, I understand not all questions are suitable for the public domain in which case you can email me at email@example.com