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Jessica, I love this connection but am sure I’m treading where I have no right to (basic insecurity gremlin). I’ve watched you grow and admire your competency and grace! I have a website, Mailchimp account, five subscribers. I’ve tested a newsletter twice to 30 friends and family (outside Mailchimp) and didn’t get any angry responses. With such non-feedback, how do I dare think anyone would care to read ‘author updates’ and such described as evergreen content. Right now, my blog posts are essays or reveries that express my voice and relieve a bit of tension. Do you have suggestions about mindset for a timid author-creator?
Great to hear from you Carol, and I totally understand what you’re feeling right now. It feels weird, and strange, and somehow pushy to get our work out in the world–especially when we’re starting out. Because when we write our work is us, and it feels like we’re saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” Which is super awkward for a bunch of hermit introverts who are most comfortable crafting words into stories talking only to our cats all day long.
But here’s the thing we often forget. Non-writers think being a writer is really cool. Think of how many movies (like Adaptation) and books (here’s 50 must read books about writers and that doesn’t even scratch the surface) are about writers. Hell the Beatles even sang about us. (Paperback Writer anyone?)
The non-writers of the world are curious about what we do. They want to get inside our heads. And even better if you start out sending a newsletter to your friends & family they want you to succeed.
Stop. Read that again.
There are people, including me, who want to see you succeed as a writer. They are in the sidelines cheering you on with each newsletter, post, and share. So my first bit of mindset advice anytime you notice that insecurity gremlin showing his nasty little face remind yourself, PEOPLE WANT ME TO SUCCEED. Say out loud 3 people you know believe in you & your writing. “Jessica wants me to succeed. Bob wants me to succeed. Dawn wants me to succeed.”
There are many times I want to give up on writing all together, but it’s my friends and family and readers who keep me coming back. Because on the days I can’t believe in myself I borrow my readers excitement to give me the courage to do the next “writer” thing.
Now that you’ve sent that insecurity gremlin back to his hovel, here’s my business-y newsletter advice.
1) Commit to sending a newsletter on a regular basis. Set a schedule and stick to it. i.e. my newsletter goes out on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 a.m. no matter what. External accountability is a great motivator, and your readers will notice if you miss a post. 2) Your newsletter content doesn’t have to be perfect. Do the best you can, but when deadline comes around send it. With each send it feels less awkward. I promise. 3) Make it easy for people to sign up for the newsletter. (Perhaps a popup form on your website. Yes, they’re annoying, but they are statistically speaking very effective.) 4) Start with baby steps for marketing. If asking people to sign up for your newsletter feels too big, try asking people to go look at your website. “Hey, did you know I have a website for my writing?” and then share your url
You can do this. Your work has merit. Some reader needs your story, your insight, your voice. The only way that story will ever find it’s reader is if you’re brave enough to send it out to the world. Be brave. You’ve got this. I believe in you.
BTW, I still miss Bob Crisman too. Have you read Dawn Downey’s essay about his funeral? Perfect.
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