Idling thoughts on newsletters

I stumbled on this interesting nugget:

35 Lessons from 35 Years of Newsletter Publishing — CJ Chilvers

Curation matters. There’s way too many creators and not enough editors. This scarcity creates value.

The author details everything around the newsletters and encourages users to “curate”. I have been doing it for some time through a public Telegram channel – The Curious Loop. I wouldn’t say it is a run-away success, but like everything else on the planet, the ratio of active subscribers to whose who join on impulse is smaller. It happens on large platforms like Reddit, Twitter or elsewhere.

Newsletters are also encouraged to be part of the email inbox and as an extension of the “special relationship”. I prefer to blog instead and encourage readers to subscribe to the RSS feeds instead. It ensures consistency. It is one reason why I didn’t shift to something like MailChimp or mass mailers. For the same reason, I disavow Substack too. Forget the outliers and those who made their name in mainstream media. They were planted as “stars” to attract others to come to the platform.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Building up an audience is hard. As much as I hate Twitter, it allows for auto-posting, which helps me automate that interaction. WordPress, for good or bad, has now become a useful blogging platform through migration to the new Gutenberg blocks. There is a low threshold for writing, and I encourage everyone to start doing so. It is difficult to fight the impulse of being “popular”, but your own narrative/voice is unique. Add a grammar checker – I am using Outwrite and you are good to go.

Use this to build up long forms and complex narratives. Writing has helped me unravel the intricacies in the disparate threads. This blog is in effect a curation. As much as I’d like to annotate the PDF’s, I am also grimly aware of the copyright issues.

Nevertheless, enjoy the link, and I hope it encourages you to shift towards creating and editing, rather than consumption.

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