Hello! Welcome to my new newsletter. I thought a nice way to inaugurate it would be to tell you about how I almost didn’t send this out.
I struggled for years to start a newsletter. To me, publishing blog articles is easier than sending an email because articles just sit there waiting to be discovered, or you might perhaps send the article to someone when you already know that they would be interested in it. That’s why I have been blogging for 4 years, publishing 400 articles, but have never kept a regular newsletter.
I find newsletters scary because I keep asking myself, how can I keep the quality high? That then leads me to more questions: quality- what? Quality anecdotes? Quality articles from the web that I enjoyed? Original ideas? And quality to who? Who are these people reading an email from me?!
I think part of the confusion comes from me being unsure of what I want out of a newsletter. I know, conventional marketing wisdom says that a newsletter should be about you, the person reading these words. I should focus on bringing value to you. But I’m not going to lie, because that would be a poor start to a relationship. I am also thinking about what I want and what I can get out of this work. I know I’m not the only one who thinks about this.
And I know what I want. I dream to become a published author, and having a newsletter is a way for me to have a direct connection with you, someone whom I think might already appreciate some of my work. Rather than tweeting publicly, I can reach out to you privately at any time to tell you what I have been working on and what has been on my mind. I can tell you about my struggles writing fiction and sneak in an early preview for you to critique and give feedback. Also, to be an author you’d need to write a lot. A newsletter makes me write and put out more than I currently do (one blog article every Sunday).
I almost didn’t send this newsletter not because I was afraid that I would run out of things to say every one or two weeks, but because I am afraid that it would disappoint you. That the quality of the ideas, stories, and things that I transmit to you will be lousier than what they should be. What I could be.
So I drew a table in my journal and scribbled “why do” on the left and “why not to” on the right. The latter took my mind but the former won my heart.
And so I told myself, fuck the fear. Just write as you would to good friends, heart to heart.
Heart to heart means caring about the idea or story first, and fact-checking when you have pockets of time to google. It is about intuiting and feeling first and making research a follow-up action.
Heart to heart is how two people connect in an ideal world.
So, welcome to the first issue of Heart to Heart! It is going to get messy in here but you are welcome to stay.
One last thing while you’re here - check out the section below for some things I discovered this week that I wanted to talk to you about.
Thank you for reading, and have a good weekend.
PS. You can reply directly to this email. I will be reading every reply.
What I have been reading —
How to Configure Your iPhone to Work for You, Not Against You. I’m a big no-notifications guy and disable notifications for all apps by default on my phone and laptop (including the one I use at work) and it helps me focus. But apparently there’s a bigger attention robber buster out there — Tony — and he wrote a guide for iPhone users. I applied 4 new ideas that have helped me focus even better: 1) add the Screen Time widget; 2) schedule Do Not Disturb mode; 3) turn off App Review Requests; 4) disable event illustrations on Google Calendar.
What I published on the blog last week —
Notes from The Courage to Be Disliked by Kishimi and Koga. This is my summary of an easy to read philosophy book. The key idea is that all problems are interpersonal problems and separation of life’s tasks helps you curb your desire for recognition from other people and thereby, live more in accordance with your principles. End result: you like yourself more and are happier because of it.
What I have been surprised by —
Andy Matsuchak’s notes website. I have never seen a website that tried harder to help the reader browse a series of connected notes. Check out the website to see what I mean. Paying attention is not about having unrelenting focus on one point but about repeated scanning of the surroundings with shifting focus from one area to another. That’s why we think so much better when we have paper laid out on the table than when they are all stacked up. Andy’s website is an example of how things could be, and he seems to have made “making tools for thought” his goal. I bookmarked his site.