A little over a year I started writing Emma's Notes every week.
Part of me regrets keeping count of the editions in the headline because now anyone with basic math skills knows that I most certainly did not write every week.
I tried though. And to be honest this newsletter has been one of the more constant things in my work life. When people really get to know me they are often surprised by the level of chaos is involved with being me. Well, some call it chaos, I like to call it flexibility.
Emma’s Notes helped me grow fond of consistency too, however. Here's a list of the things I learned by creating Emma's Notes:
Your idea of good might not align with your audience's.
This past year people have reacted enthusiastically to Notes that, to be honest, I was not that happy with myself. There are weeks in which I chose progress over perfection and just decided to publish what I had, regardless of what I thought of it. Other weeks I wrote pieces I was rather proud of, which were received with an ovation of silence.
You need to convince yourself it matters.
The idea that Emma's Notes should be a weekly newsletter is of course just an idea. Just as it having to be sent on a Wednesday is. Being committed to those ideas matters, though. The months that I did not write a newsletter every week were the months where I convinced myself that it doesn't matter that much.
I think I lack the vanity to convince myself that it truly matters for you as a reader, but it is a big deal to me. In any creative effort, I think it's important to take yourself and the development of your craft seriously. It's unlikely that anyone else will really care before you get good, and that takes time.
My ideas are better in my head.
If writing is one thing, it's confronting. It is so easy to let yourself get away with inconsistent, imprecise, and unjustified thoughts if it's just you thinking in your head. Once you decide to put those thoughts to paper, that's when the real thinking starts. Often I start a newsletter thinking it'll be about one thing and it ends up being about something completely different.
It's almost as if I first have to get all the bad thoughts out of the way before the good ones can appear. In this blog, Julian Shapiro explains this method as an actual technique, which makes me feel like I know what I'm doing.
Good ideas take time.
Similar to my last point, I've noticed that ideas take time to truly develop. As I was preparing the print version of Emma's Notes 2020 I realized that there are a lot of sequel Notes. There are some themes that I keep coming back to and every time I do my thinking becomes more outspoken and concise.
And last but not least, I really like writing. More than I thought I would.
Have a great week,
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