Move over Gutenberg, there’s a new sheriff in town for the printed word – email newsletters! That’s right friends, we are living in the renaissance era of newsletters. Finally, a platform where every random thought, half-baked idea, and proclamation we make can be distributed to thousands of inboxes around the world.
It all started innocently enough with writers wanting to connect directly with their readers without the pesky editors or publishers meddling with their brilliant words. But soon, the newsletter gold rush was on. Mere mortals everywhere realized if they could capture just a fraction of their word genius and distribute it via newsletter, they too could build an audience, get Patreon supporters and quit their day job.
Before long, every social media influencer, lifestyle blogger and middle manager with a Twitter account realized they needed a newsletter stat. Expertise in a topic? Optional. Witty prose? Not required. Ability to say something meaningful? Often lacking. But darn it, they have OPINIONS and those opinions need to be shared!
Now we are inundated with more newsletters than we could read in 10 lifetimes. There’s the ex-Buzzfeed writer regurgitating the same listicles but now with a $5 price tag. The mommy blogger sharing groundbreaking thoughts like “Here’s 10 ways I get my kids to eat vegetables!” The wanna-be Tim Ferriss types spewing productivity porn. And who could forget the endless crypto-bro newsletters analyzing coin charts and prices to the nanosecond. Revolutionary stuff here, people!
Lest we forget, even the robots have joined the newsletter craze. Why pay a measly human writer when AI can churn out mountains of content for a fraction of the cost! Who cares if there’s no original insight, wit or soul. The AI overlords have come for newsletter domination – run humans run!
But fret not fair reader, for hope remains. We must wade through the torrential downpour of newsletters overflowing our inboxes in search of a few precious gems. For buried amongst the rehashed drivel are genuinely interesting writers sharing ideas and building communities. With a little luck and a very good spam filter, we may just make it to the other side with our sanity intact! But for now, brace yourselves… the era of the newsletter is upon us.
The Curse of Content Creation
In the dark ages before the internet, writers had limited options to reach an audience. You could submit to publishers and pray your book or article got accepted. Maybe you could self-publish on a photocopier or submit pieces to small niche newsletters. But distribution was difficult and plagued with gatekeepers.
Then the digital revolution came along and promised to liberate writers everywhere! No more gatekeepers, now you could post your brilliance online for the whole world to see! But this utopian vision soon morphed into a different beast – the hellish Content Creation Machine we see today.
Caught in its jaws, writers are compelled to churn out endless content just to be heard above the digital noise. Quantity over quality becomes the name of the game. Thoughtful reflections give way to clickbait headlines and retreaded ideas. Passion projects get shelved for whatever gets more eyeballs. Your most divine inspiration becomes just more “content” to feed the ravenous beast.
And what of this content deluge? It floods social feeds and overwhelms readers, yet produces no lasting value. For it serves only the false idols of Likes, Shares, and Followers. As the Red Queen said to Alice, in the digital world “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”
So be wary, dear scribe, not to get caught in this trap. Strive not for virality, but depth and meaning. Cherish craft over algorithms. Nurture your gifts, not your metrics. Then perhaps we can stem the deluge, and let truly great writing rise above the churn once more.
The Plight of the Overstuffed Inbox
My poor inbox. Once a pristine and orderly digital space, now bursting at the seams, ready to explode in a cascade of newsletters. Daily it groans under the weight of:
- The productivity guru touting the system that will Finally Help You Get It All Done! (If only I had time to read about it…)
- The breathless crypto bro prophesying dollar signs in the charts (yeah, gonna pass)
- The zealous foodie insisting I MUST try her life-changing lemon zest air fryer chicken recipe (hard pass)
- The earnest blogger sharing deep thoughts like “The Power of Showing Up As Your Best Self” (who has time for self-improvement anymore?)
- And the AI startup using bots to analyze how many seconds I spent reading their spam (delete, delete, delete!)
My inbox suffers from newsletters run amok. Everyone with a pulse and a mailing list assaults it daily with their knowledge bombs and capitalized Call To Actions. DELETE has become my fastest keyboard shortcut as I engage in ruthless inbox triage.
But what about the poor newsletters I never read? Do they feel dejected, abandoned in the clutter? Perhaps the spammers assume I eagerly await their drivel, only for my dreams to be crushed as they’re insta-deleted?
Alas, despite my inbox begging for mercy, the newsletters keep coming, undeterred. For now my fate is sealed – locked in eternal battle with the ever-replenishing tsunami of unread emails. The Horror! The Horror!
So I implore you, newsletter creators of the world, PLEASE…take pity on our poor inboxes! Hold back your epic poem dissections and minimalist recipe guides just once a week. Give us time to finish the last issue before the next arrives. Our inboxes will thank you for the breather. And who knows, we may just become one of your regular readers!
A Day in the Life of a Newsletter Overachiever
6 AM – Wake up, meditate and visualize my newsletter going viral. The world NEEDS to hear my thoughts on proper sock folding techniques!
7 AM – Make an artisanal pour-over coffee while reading my favorite productivity gurus’ newsletters. Must optimize morning routine!
8 AM – Knock out quick workout while listening to podcasts from my newsletter idols. Someday I’ll be as successful as them!
9 AM – Sit down to write my daily newsletter. Stare at blank screen…no spark of genius coming yet. Scroll social media instead.
10 AM – Check email stats from yesterday’s newsletter. Only 2 new subscribers? How is this possible?! The people need my brilliance!
11 AM – Spend an hour trying to craft the perfect clickbait headline. Nothing grabs attention! What would Tim Ferriss do?
12 PM – Panic sets in as deadline nears. Quick, better plagiarize an AI-generated article and pass it off as my own!
1 PM – Phew, newsletter sent! Time for a quick avocado toast break before moving onto the next hustle. Can’t rest on laurels!
2 PM – Engage in some “growth hacking” i.e. spamming people with requests to subscribe. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!
3 PM – Check email again. Subscriber count unchanged. How can this be? My MA in English Lit makes me an expert!
4 PM – Attempt genuine human connection by calling parents. End up just talking about my newsletter woes and marketing strategy.
5 PM – Make cup of herbal tea while reflecting on my failure to build an audience. Where did I go wrong?
6 PM – Light evening yoga to unwind. Someday this newsletter will take off and I’ll show all those naysayers!
9 PM – Pass out exhausted after spending entire day on newsletter. The grind never stops! Surely my Pulitzer is just around the corner…
So you see dear reader, the life of a newsletter entrepreneur isn’t all grande soy lattes and mornings spent lounging in your tracksuit. It takes grit and perseverance to make it in this industry. But just you wait…someday I’ll be a newsletter icon! Then you’ll all see!