Spring 2022 Newletter

Or if you can’t spam your friends, who can you spam?

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
– Joan Didion, Why I Write

When asked in college to visualize what I wanted to do after graduation, I had a clear image.

I wanted to sit, read, stare into space, think, make little notes…perhaps write things up now and then…all on a sunny hillside at tree line overlooking a wild meadow of tall grass.

The image was clear.

How that would allow me to keep body and soul together, not so much.

Forty-plus years later, retired and off the leash, I’m able to make it a full-time gig. I’ve now noticed a few things:

Discovery #1 – writing is not one component among many but central to it all, as Didion points out. It forces one to articulate musings and then presents them back to allow a critical look. Ideas that feel well-dressed turn out to be threadbare.

(I do need to add reading and research as key components of the discovery process, but it’s writing that puts it all together.)

Discovery #2 – writing is hard work.

Not for some, maybe, but for me, it’s a slow painful extrusion of text. A big challenge: even when one of those musings can be pinned to the mat, they then have to be linearized. There’s no way to write in bubbles from the center out. I’ve tried it.

Discovery #3 – having done all the work of writing, I like to get read.

Part of that is ego, of course. But more than that, it’s about joining what might be called the community of ideas. It’s about comments, discussions, and dialog (both online and face-to-face.) As an inveterate reader, I want to join the flow.

So here we are.

To get read I need to come to people’s attention and you all, my natural community, are the most likely source of comments, dialog, and discussion. You’re who I have in my mind’s eye when I try to get something clearly expressed.

There should likely be a Discovery #4.

I end up writing long shaggy pieces that work through some composite of interrelated ideas. These are not quick reads but they are central to the process.

What I’m going to be doing is using longer pieces as an anchor and breaking out key components into short stand-alone reads. That should make it more workable.

On to spam. I’m using both Medium and MailChimp

  • Both will send articles. MailChimp does this by integrating with WordPress.
  • MailChimp/Wordpress is what I’ve been using. I’m going to switch and use that for a Quarterly Newsletter instead, eg this.
  • The articles will go out directly from Medium
  • An advantage of MailChimp and Medium is that they have an easy unsubscribe. You can tell me to pipe down without it getting personal.
  • On the other hand, if you read something you like, please share it.
  • The challenge on Medium is working the paywall. I get a ‘Friends Link’ that ducks it and will try to use that wherever possible. Second, I think I’ve got it set up so you’ll see full articles in email and won’t have to go there at all.
  • But if you do, a secondary goal is to surface things on Medium for that community. Medium is weird. Don’t just Clap once if you like something: hold the Clap button down.
  • Also, if you are not a Medium member and start finding stuff of interest there, join using my link. I get money every month. It will go in the beer and burrito fund. We’ll share it! Maybe after a hike.

Where’s this all heading? The intent is to determine the most effective points to alter the situation.

Thanks for reading,

5 thoughts on “Spring 2022 Newletter”

  1. Writing is definitely hard. At one time, I considered trying journalism school, but I couldn’t imagine tethering my livelihood to something that required so much effort and involved such unpredictable results. I’m glad to hear you have the time and focus to make it work!

  2. Finally read this. When it came out I was in Alabama or Florida. Very good description of the connection between thinking and writing. Writing is thinking but harder and better. If we’re lucky.

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