Newsletter Writing: the tension between the poetic and the precise
Exploring the challenges in crafting a message online
I am struggling with my newsletter this week. Not in its writing, but because I'm fractured between voices. I'm pulled in twin directions: Abstract Reflection vs Concrete Communication The latter shapes my writing on social media. It's intentional, economic, and every sentence is wrung of excess. I want to offer something there. Something specific and instructional. As artists, we offer interesting things. That is different to the business approach: They want to offer value. To clarify, let me give an example. On Instagram, if I post a nice picture or song people give a lot of "likes" but no one will ever save it. However, if I offer a guide or a step-by-step: Half of the engagers will save it. Take my post "How to Start My Week" for instance: It was liked 698 times. It was saved 1288 times. The average scroller likes to be entertained. It might brighten their day. It could even save a life. But offer something of practical use and they will actively save that content. The difference? You provided value in an actionable way.
For an artist to reach a wider audience in the digital age, there are two routes: - Either commercial backing to help you through the swamp of content. - Or a message that is useful to people. On social media attention is at a premium, and space is short. How to compress meaning into the tightest space? As such I now approach my Instagram with two crowds in mind: 1) My audience who follow me as an artist 2) And niching towards artists themselves - who I want to help and give value to. I'm driven by: What I want to give. What I want to get. I find the deepest reward in communicating with artists. I see them struggling everywhere and I'm determined to encourage them. And more so, to encode my discoveries into guides. To chart a course for others; An unexpected yield from my lost years. However, this form of writing clashes with the other side of my brain: Widescreen, cryptic and wrestling with the intangible. Though I understand an instrumental newsletter would help gain followers, it would sacrifice the insights I claw from writing it. We must guard the poetic. Everywhere it is under siege. So many newsletters are how to's. How to do this. How to do that. But want about the experience of living itself? It's as if everyone is so audience-obsessed they forget. Let's talk about "how" to make something rather than creating something. Let's write about "how" to build an audience rather than tackling subjects that matter. Below I offer an alternate route. Read on to explore: 1) The transformative power of "rewriting" oneself 2) How poetic writing unlocks the deepest insights 3) The"potential true self" across different cultures and belief systems. 4) The dangers of modern tyranny and the illusion of status 5) ...and to support the love I put into this newsletter!
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