A mentor told me once that the key to success was to do something – anything, really – and then notice what is working, and do that, and to notice what isn’t working, and to not do any more of that.
It sounds simple, and in truth, it is. It just isn’t easy. Even the man who told me that, an extraordinarily successful man financially, had a personal life that was a hot mess. His wife has contempt for him, his kid hates him, his peers talk about him behind his back. But regardless, the advice, if followed, works.
Do more of what’s working.
For the last five years, I have run a small newsletter. Doing no promotion or ads, I have built up a loyal following with off the charts reader engagement. I have done this consistently over the last five years, week in and week out. I think I’m pretty good at it.
I started it because a publisher told me I should have one, to build a platform. I always had this idea in the back of my head that it would be good to have for when I publish that book, or when I appear on Oprah, or whatever. It began as a means to an end.
But along the way, I discovered that I am actually pretty good at the newsletter format and that it suits me for several reasons.
- There is a definite deadline.
- There is a definite theme.
- There is a format.
- There is a definite audience.
All of that is different than blogging.
Here on my blog, I can write whatever I want, when I want, how I want, and whoever wants to read it, can.
And that is sort of the problem, at least if you have a brain like mine. I need constraints.
I didn’t want to believe that was true. I want to believe I can sit down, full of discipline and hope, and pound out reliable content. But that isn’t me.
I need a schedule. I need a format. I need the constraints that come with a newsletter.
I started a newsletter so that I would have an audience when I became a writer. But along the way, I figured out that my newsletter was what I was writing. My newsletter was, slowly, incrementally, creating a body of work.
So this winter, I spent a lot of time reflecting, and looked for what was working, and what wasn’t. And by any measure, my most successful creative endeavor ever is my newsletter. So what would it mean to do more of that?
So I’m starting a new newsletter, in addition to the existing one, called Hopeful Resistance. The focus is different, and so is the format. Here is how I am currently describing it:
The world is a hot mess right now.
And outrage, while appropriate, is by itself impotent. The better world we dream of won’t come from hitting refresh on Facebook so we know we are not alone in our anger. No, that world will come about as a result of the countless small decisions we make in our daily life. We resist the world on offer by living into the creation of a new one.
We resist by living.
This is a newsletter about how we do that.
So that’s the deal. A new newsletter. It will be an essay format, and it will come on Fridays so you will be able to read it when you have more time. Maybe over coffee on Sunday morning, say. And it will be an exploration of how we build a better world than the one in which we currently live.
I hope you will sign up here.
It’s free*. No ads. Unsubscribe whenever you want.
*Like all my creative efforts, it’s made possible by my patrons, who give a little each month so the rest of us can read it all ad-free.