I want to talk about something a little ~meta~ today: how I write these newsletters.
Because I write for a living, but I struggled with writing for myself for a really long time.
I always got in my own way, and that evil little gremlin voice in my head was loud as hell.
“What the hell would you even write about?”
“Nobody cares about what you have to say.”
Now, almost 1.5 years later, I’ve sent out more than 40 newsletters! And the responses I get from readers like you, have proven that evil gremlin voice wrong.
I have a lot to write about, and I’m happily surprised and humbled that so many people read these little letters of mine every week.
Sure, I’ve missed a few weeks here or there, but I’ve kept doing the damn thing, and I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with it.
So how have I managed to keep at it and avoid that dreaded ‘blank page syndrome’?
Here’s my secret: I don’t carve out time to sit down and write this newsletter. I do the opposite. I’m always writing it.
My process is more like collecting and organizing than purely writing.
Sometimes, these letters start with a fragment of an idea. Like this one which began with the simple question: writing about writing?
And other times, they pour out of me practically fully formed.
I’ve woken up in the middle of the night before, wrote out a whole letter on my phone, and then went back to sleep. And the best part? It still made sense the next day!
(My fellow writers know how rare this is.)
So what’s the takeaway here? I guess if I had to sum it up, it would be the importance of working with your brain, rather than against it.
For example, time blocking and time tracking have never worked for me because I’m always a little bit “on.”
I’ll come up with ideas or lines of copy while I’m in the bathroom or on a walk to Tim Horton’s. Sometimes I feel like I do more writing away from my computer than I do on it.
And I always felt terrible about my inability to sit down and focus on one thing.
But the flip side of this is that I’m very observant and creative.
I’m always thinking, “Is that something? Could that be something?”
So now, instead of beating myself up for my lack of focus and a near-constant stream of ideas in my head, I write them all down and cook ’em up later.
Is it a super structured, organized process? Maybe not. But it works for me, and perhaps it might work for you too.
Now, before I wrap this up, I didn’t forget about doing a follow-up to my last newsletter on habits. Thank you, Shannon and Meenakshi, for sharing your freelancer habits with me! Here’s what they had to say:
“I think the one atomic habit I have is my inbox labelling system. I have coloured labels for everything, so the inbox is at least pretty. But a key one is my red “Action” label. I will put that on any email that comes in where I need to respond but can’t right away. And I do my very best to clear every “Action” labelled email out of my inbox each night. It’s like putting a sticky note on something.” – Shannon Currie
“SENDING COLD EMAILS! Initially, I sent 20 emails in a week which has now gone down to 10 (quality and high-end ones). It gets overwhelming at times, but now that I’ve gotten used to it, the results are magical! I’ve signed most of my clients via cold pitching. So, yes to it for the rest of my freelancing journey!” – Meenakshi Lohani
Alright, that’s all for this week!
’Til next time,
Big (virtual) hugs,