Blogging, Jane Friedman, newsletter

Newsletters Are the New Blog?

photo by Suzy Hazelwood

This question seems hotly debated (okay, maybe lukewarmly) between online experts like Jane Friedman, Quora, and others. The answer comes down to what’s important to the writer of said blog or newsletter.

For me, I thought I’d try to ease into a monthly newsletter format. I sent out my first newsletter at the end of July. Honestly, it was kind of scary to do so, as are all first times (for me).

An area that was easy and fun to talk about was a June trip to Scotland and Ireland. We had adventures in a tiny stick-shift car driving on the left side of the road. Soon, we returned to the US, and the horrendous news on TV left me deflated.

A newsletter I read helped me re-center myself. The writer had reposted “A Letter to a Young Activist in Troubled Times.

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”  

Dr. Clarrissa Pinkola Estés

That quote gave me hope, which I wrote about as a topic in the newsletter. And those are the kinds of subjects that are important to me. How do we cultivate hope and resilience in our life.

I ended with an update about my book with the question: “What Do An Elephant and I Have in Common?”

No hints on the answer. You have to read the newsletter 😉

August’s newsletter arrives on the fourth Saturday of the month. There’ll be another question having to do with Skittles, but you need to sign up for the newsletter.

Sign up above the teal button on the right margin (for laptops). On your mobile device, the sign-up shows at the bottom of the page. Thank you, and I hope to share a bit of time with you via the newsletter.

Ira Glass, Jane Friedman, steps to storytelling, storytelling, Writing

Storytelling in 4 Easy Steps

I love it when I find a video that helps me learn. On Jane Friedman’s post the other day, she listed her favorite online video’s. This took me to four short video’s made by Ira Glass on the building blocks of a great story.

The first one, shown above, leads to the other three on YouTube. In all, you’ll spend approximately 18 minutes of your time hearing his thoughts on storytelling. If you’re like me you learn best when you hear and read material. To really make the lesson stick I also need to be in motion (take notes). That makes me an audio-visual-kinesthetic learner. What can I say, I need the extra help.

My new index card of notes is now up on my physical bulletin board, covering up the last few inches of the cream diamond pattern.

In abbreviated notes, here are the four easy steps to storytelling. Each one corresponds to a video segment:

  1. Anecdote leads to sequence of actions that throw out questions that leads to interesting moments of reflection.  
  2. Abandon crap. Failure is a big part of success. 
  3. Develop good taste. You can tell when your stuff isn’t as good as it can be or it’s missing that special thing. Everyone goes through this process.
  4. Don’t imitate, be your own person. Be interested in the story, not your ego. Interact with others.
That was easy, right? Do you have any favorite online video’s that you’d like to share? Perhaps I can make a list and share it next month.