How are you? I hope all is well and you're finding a way to enjoy what will hopefully be the last days of lockdown.
It’s not only habit that brings me to your inbox today, but news. Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge said,
“All news is old news happening to new people.”
So I’ll get on with it and not take up too much of your time.
I've decided to change the frequency of this newsletter from weekly to quarterly.
Yes. You did read that correctly.
Rather than sending a weekly post, I’m going to write to you once every three months.
It's a huge change - I know. The decision is not one that I have taken lightly however, all things considered, I think it is the best option. Let me explain.
Life has changed in 2021. Life will change as the year progresses, too. And while on the surface everything looks the same at the moment, there is a lot of activity happening just below. A bit like spring soil; just out of sight all kinds of energy is burning to create a fresh crop of beautiful flowers, tender new shoots, and nourishing vegetables.
Though lockdown persists into this new year, there are new goals, new priorities, different avenues to investigate and unexplored edges of my comfort zone that need to be prodded in a way that they were when I started this letter.
If I'm totally honest, something has been bugging me for the last month or so. Something has been ticking away in the back of my mind, and I've not quite been able to put my finger on it until now.
I’ve talked before about James Kerr’s book, Legacy. He examines what makes the All Blacks such a phenomenal rugby team. It’s well worth a read, even if you’re not much into sport, or even rugby. I’ll give you a clue: the answer to Kerr’s question has little to do with either sport or rugby.
One of the points Kerr makes is that when the All Blacks are on top of their game, they change their game.
I need that too. Not that I am suggesting that I'm even remotely close to the writing equivalent of an All Black, nor that I am on top of anything other than my office chair, currently. When I started this newsletter, I was terrible at putting my own words out there. Ironic, given what my job is. I could write all day long for other people, I could help put them out into the world, no problem. But myself? Not a chance. This newsletter was an opportunity to right (write?) that wrong.
The truth is, I feel good writing this newsletter. It feels wonderful to connect with you amazing humans that have made this journey what it is. I have loved the thrill of putting out words and the instant feedback you generous souls deliver. The thing is, the actual writing, the putting out of the newsletter feels too good. It isn't challenging me like I want it to any more. It feels good in a bad way, because I'm comfortable here. And it feels like a challenge in the worst way, because I can feel that comfort is taking over and the will to give the newsletter my best and, let's be clear, that means my ability to give you my best, is receding. And that is not the kind of newsletter that I want to write. It never has been.
So I'm changing the game.
And please know that changing the game is on the wider agenda too. This isn't a case of ‘can't be arsed.’ There are things that I want to explore, work that I need to do. There are words that need writing, content to be created that is helpful, detailed, worth its weight in gold. In a nutshell, there is only one of me, only so many hours in the day and sometimes you just gotta prioritise. So says my alter-ego, The Time Management Guru. Jokes aside, I need to make a difficult decision now, that will afford me the time and space to have a deeper impact later.
The projects that are simmering on the back burner are from the heart and they are pushing my comfort zone. I’m loving it. And it's asking a lot of me. Which means all the space that was available to mull over witty tales for the newsletter, useful pointers, food for thought and so on, isn't there any more.
And if turning out a really dull newsletter with zero flair, zero interest, and zero personality is the alternative... well, I'd rather not, thanks.
What does the new world look like?
Here’s what I’ll do.
You’ll hear from me at the end of each quarter. A bigger gap between editions gives space for the creativity to flow, for patterns to emerge, and for me to impart some (hopefully!) useful insights.
And if I have anything to share that's simply too good to keep to myself in the meantime? Don’t worry, I’ll dash into your inboxes quicker than you can say ‘newsletter.’
Isn’t there another way?
Not at the moment. I thought about outsourcing this newsletter and keeping it weekly, or maybe fortnightly. But that is exactly the opposite of the newsletter’s purpose! I write to connect with you; you read to connect with, if not me, my work. I hope! Maybe there are other reasons you read, and if you feel so inclined, I’d love to hear them.
I thought about making it a monthly occurrence. I thought this could be more manageable, but not right now. That space that I was banging on about? It’s still important. And forcing something with an iron will and the battering ram of a schedule isn’t the spirit of the thing.
Was it all a big ploy?
Hit the birthday mark then jack it in? No. I wish I could say I possessed such a sophisticated level of forethought. My god, I’d make a dangerous Bond villain with that kind of mind and a mighty pen in hand.
As with everything related to this newsletter - from its conception to each edition published to now - changing the frequency has been guided by an intuitive decision and seat-of-the-pants action. The nagging feeling in the back of my mind hasn’t resolved itself until the last few days, and action has followed hot on its heels.
Look, maybe I'm mad. Perhaps in a month I'll realise that what I've decided doesn't work at all. It wouldn't be the first time; I doubt it'll be the last.
I have learned a lot from writing a weekly letter, and I'll be back at the end of this month - the end of the first quarter of this year - with what I hope will be a rich insight to the world of newsletter-writing. Should you feel interested in pursuing such a path yourself, I hope it will be helpful. And if you’re simply curious, well, there’ll be some gold in there for you too.
For now, I’ll say thank you. Thank you for sticking with me week in, week out, for telling your friends about this little letter and simply for reading all of my weird and wonderful words.
Have a fabulous weekend, a great month and a happy reunion (fingers crossed, touch wood, wish upon a star) with the ones you love.
Your words will always matter,
The Weekly Writing Reflection
Changes are a bit bleh, aren’t they? I thought about choosing something profound, something meaningful here… but it didn’t seem right. It seemed a bit… morose.
So! My prompt this week offers you some choice – what sporting, recreational or outdoor activity do you love to do, that life or lockdown, both, has kept you from? What makes you feel amazing, what makes you strut like Jagger, curl your lip like Elvis, or swing those hips like Marilyn Monroe?
I’ve picked a quote about skiing and its hazardous side effects to get my imagination pumping. Feel free to use the quote as it is, or swap the sport and the danger (fun?!) it poses to something that suits you.
Here we go:
“Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.”
You could switch it for…
Mountain biking / bruising the earth with your shoulder…
Skateboarding / denting the concrete with your elbow
Fell running / skewering the horns of passing goats with your backside…! (I don’t fell run, clearly)
And your writing prompt:
My worst day on skis is still better than…
That’s all for now. I sincerely hope that when normality returns, when the wind is still and the powder deep, we’ll have a chance to ski together and knock down many-a-tree with our faces.
Ciao darlings, with love.