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Reflections | Just Reflections - Issue #15
This week I am resting from the usual articles to reflect on the newsletter. These are my thoughts about the newsletter and my experience writing it so far, so if you’re not interested in that, feel free to skip this one and we’ll meet next week.
Still here? Awesome! Let’s get it.
Let’s start with some numbers:
Including this one, I have written 15 issues so far.
The newsletter has 63 subscribers, although there are usually about twice as many readers, meaning that most readers are not subscribed.
Of the 63 subscribers, 35% have high engagement (opened 2/3 or more of the emails), 21% have medium engagement (opened 1/3 or more of the emails), 11% have low engagement (opened less than 1/3 of the emails) and 33% have zero engagement (are subscribed but have opened none of the emails).
Why I write
I am really humbled because so many people take the time to read the things I write each week. It’s pretty amazing! That said, I don’t think my subscriber and engagement numbers are that great, but that doesn’t bother me much mainly because of two reasons.
First, this is a really new newsletter. It’s only 15 weeks old and is written by a newbie writer. Second, I’m mainly writing for myself. While it’s great that people are reading, I get a lot of value from the preparation and I get all my ideas documented for future reference. If I had started this and no one subscribed, I would still write.
Writing forces me to capture and process my thoughts. Like I say in the newsletter description, I learn a lot of things and I try my best to take notes about the things that I find most useful but I always used to forget to take notes most of the time and when I take them, they’d usually be pretty disorganised.
Also like I highlighted in issue #6 about learning things, sometimes I am completely excited about an idea I just read but a few days later while I can sort of recall the major points, I can barely connect ideas together as well as I thought I would. Worst case, I’ve completely forgotten what the idea was. But because I write this newsletter now:
I am more consistent and intentional with my note-taking and really think about the ideas as I take notes. And I take notes as I am reading or watching the interesting idea.
As I read various things, I am more perceptive of ideas related to other things I’ve come across and I group it all together in my notes.
I take time each week, usually on Sunday, to sit down and think about the things I wrote in my notes, do more research on them, see if I really understand them and search for related ideas.
I then do what I think I’m the least capable at. I write about it. Occasionally, I surprise myself with really well-written stuff. But, overall I think I still have a lot of growing to do on this one.
To be clear. My goal is to direct myself and readers to ideas that challenged my thinking, so I don’t always write original thoughts and ideas. In fact, sometimes I copy and paste things word for word from the sources if I think I can’t possibly put this across any better. I usually try to reference the source and give credit, but I don’t do it all the time. So if in your following up you find a place where it’s word-for-word what I wrote, don’t be alarmed. Don’t put the issues in a plagiarism scanner, they will get a terrible score.
Anyway, I write because it forces me to take better notes, to think more carefully and intently about the things I learn and to make connections between related ideas.
Genre, style and frequency
I haven’t really discovered what I enjoy writing about or what my style is. Therefore, the issues are about widely different topics, basically what was top of my mind that week or something I’ve been thinking about for a while that I can finally put in words. I will continue to explore different styles and different topics until I find what I like. I already have a few leanings, but I don’t think it’s anything conclusive yet.
There’s also the dilemma that sometimes the topics that gain the most popularity and that people get most excited about aren’t really top of my list in terms of interests. And then the things that are top of my list sometimes don’t generate as much excitement. It’s part of the journey I guess.
Reflections on frequency
I don’t believe that anyone can produce consistently good articles on a fixed weekly schedule unless writing it’s the primary thing they do. Even then, there’ll be misses and hits. This is because writing is a creative pursuit. Sometimes you’re more creative than others. Sometimes you’re more motivated than others, etc. So I am not blind to the fact that since I have been writing every week, some issues have been very good and others have been, well, very ‘not good’. I’m willing to endure this because at this stage my primary goal is to establish a routine of writing than anything else.
That said, I promise to always try hard to give out something with some value every week.
So what is the future of Just Reflections? Well, I will continue to write every single week whether rain or shine — case in point, I wrote last week while I was in bed sick with the ‘rona’. I will do this until I reach 50 issues. At that point, I think the habit will be fully entrenched and I will have discovered what my style and genre are. I will then reduce the frequency of the newsletter to every other week. That should allow me to spend more time on each issue and hopefully produce even better quality.
So the journey is still long, I’m excited.
That’s all I have for you this week. If you like the newsletter, consider sharing it with others on Twitter, WhatsApp or Facebook. Hit the thumbs up or thumbs down below to let me know what you think about the issue.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about this week and I wish you ever-increasing curiosity.
Until next week.
Impactful ideas that challenged my thinking.
I have a lot of interests so I'm always learning all kinds of things, some of which really challenge my thinking. In the Just Reflections newsletter, I'll be sharing with you a summary of the ideas that challenged my thinking recently and hopefully they will challenge yours too and we grow together.
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