I have a newsletter with a small subscription list. These are people who are trying hard to support me in my creative endeavors. These are people I have promised secret information and discount codes to (if I ever get my prints made…another story waiting to be told). These are people sticking by me even when I make mistakes by using bad links and over tweeting and spelling things badly. These people are my heroes. They really are. Without their support I might have given up on this whole blogging, artist, trying to be cool and popular and funny and authentic journey thing I have set myself upon. The funny thing is, even though my subscribers are my top supporters, every week I am scared to hit send on my newsletter. Each week I worry and have doubts and get nervous. I’ve decided to write about it here and to make a list. Maybe offering it up to the Internet-Universe will help me conquer my weekly stage fright or at least let go of it so I can get on with things.
So, here are the 10 things that scare me about having a newsletter:
1. Having permission to arrive each week in a persons email inbox is a great honor. That person is trusting me to do what I promised to do, to be as excellent as possible and to give them something special that they can’t get from my website alone. I feel very humbled by this. I think it means something. I am afraid I will let people down. Terrified actually.
2. Sending an email seems much more personal that posting a blog. A blog post on the Internet is available to all, but an email is written to a reader. It’s more special and more intimate. I am scared of the vulnerability I feel. Will I be rejected? Will anyone open and read the contents? Will they laugh at me and my inexperience? Will they not laugh at my bad jokes? The pressure to perform and be accepted seems higher.
3. What if my newsletter is too long or too short or too imperfect or too much like Spam? Is it spam? Am I spamming my favorite people when I ask them to visit my Zazzle shop? Are they tired of me promoting myself? Do I not promote myself enough? These questions arise every time I go to write my newsletter because I am trying to find that perfect balance, but that perfect balance is a myth because what one person finds appropriate another does not. My desire to please people is countered with my desire to please myself and I struggle each week with where to draw that line. I am scared I will fail and draw that line in the wrong place.
4. I haven’t quite figured out the purpose of my newsletter. Is it just to inform people of all of the blog posts I have written that they might have missed? Do I focus on my other contributions that are not on my blog? Should I use it to tell people what I am doing with my artwork this week? It feels a little fragmented and so I sit and wonder what do people want to know about me? What would I want to know about me? Then I wonder why would they want to know anything about me at all? That’s when I start thinking about all of the other people doing amazing things over the Internet and I want to share my experiences with those websites and blogs instead. I am afraid that I won’t be able to find my voice when I sit down to write my newsletter. I am afraid of the blank screen.
5. The top bloggers are always saying to just write well and the readers will come. Don’t worry, if your content is good you will be successful. This gives me hope and worry at the same time. If my readership stagnates for a long, long time, does that mean my writing is poor and my content less than acceptable? The same worries arrive when I get ready to write my newsletters. If people are not signing up for my newsletter is it because people do not enjoy it or are bored with it? Are they bored with my blog? Or, am I not advertising it enough? How do you know if you are a good blogger or not? How do you know if you can write a strong newsletter or not? I am afraid I may be doing it badly, but nobody will tell me and I’ll just keep doing it badly.
6. Technology fails. I am scared my newsletters won’t arrive where or when they are supposed to. What if I write a subject line that tosses my email into the spam folder every single time and that is why it rarely gets opened? How do I know the difference between a content fail and a technological fail? I am afraid of not knowing the difference and making a decision based on false information.
7. I am afraid my newsletter will look like every other newsletter. I may not stand out in a crowd of information.
8. I feel embarrassed promoting my work. I feel strange saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” so much throughout the day. I wonder if people find me annoying. I wonder if I would find myself annoying. Then, when I go to write my newsletter it feels like a very focused and loud “LOOK at MEEEEE!” It’s uncomfortable and weird. I want people to think I am awesome and not like a little sister who is constantly nagging them to pay attention to her. Will my newsletter be an annoyance? Will people start to think I am self-absorbed and self-centered. Am I self-absorbed and self-centered? Yikes! So many questions to ponder as I stare at that blank screen. I am afraid I will be annoying and I really don’t want to be.
9. I am afraid I will break my own newsletter rules. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have standards and rules for my blogging and for my newsletter writing. I sometimes break my own rules and usually regret it. I don’t want to disappoint myself by lowering my standards or doing something like a gimmick just to get attention. I have tried some of those things in the past out of curiosity and maybe desperation. Wanting to be successful can sometimes push you to do things you might regret later. I am afraid I will succumb to the dreams of newsletter glory and make decisions that I regret later.
10. I am scared that I will give up on it. I know giving up won’t make me a successful newsletter writer, but every once in a while I hear that voice in my head telling me to stop worrying and toss the newsletter into the wind. I don’t want to do that though because like I said in number one up there, it’s a great honor to send a newsletter into an email inbox. Giving up would be like saying those amazing people who have been supporting me and bolstering me and answering my many questions don’t count as much as they should. I refuse to do anything, at least on purpose, that will let those people down. I am too grateful to them for bestowing such an honor upon me.
Want to be brave and sign up for my newsletter after witnessing the above neurosis? Click Here and fill out the form.