Have you ever considered writing a newsletter? I’ve done one through my Website for a couple of years and I just love doing it. In fact, my blog is basically an extension of what I have in my newsletter. So for me, my newsletter layout gives me a guideline to follow in terms of what to write about on my blog. In the beginning, however, this hobby I love so much felt more like a chore.
My newsletter started off as a resource for writers who were just starting off on their writing careers—just like I was at the time. Unfortunately, it didn’t take off the way I’d hoped it would have. Maybe the information I was putting in there wasn’t exactly what readers wanted or, maybe, I just wasn’t as ‘into’ what the newsletter was representing. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing—it’s a big part of my life. But I’m not someone who enjoys writing about writing. And I’m sure that negativity reflected in the articles I wrote in there as well as the cut-and-dry stuff I added in. Not a great way to inspire readers to subscribe.
As time went on, and my writing began focusing more on advocating for children and families with sensory issues and SPD, the newsletter, as well as my Website and blog, followed that same path. And now it seems to be ‘clicking’ more with people. Why? Because it has a specific focus and purpose that I’m extremely passionate about and ever minute detail I add in reflects that passion.
Lesson learned? Taking on the challenge of writing a newsletter is definitely not a ‘must-do’ thing for writers. It can be a tremendous amount of work and very time consuming but if you have information you want to get out there, and there’s an audience for that information, it’s so worth it. Newsletters are a really good idea for several reasons:
* You can ‘show your writing stuff’ through articles, interviews and reviews you do yourself;
* You can get your name out there to places you normally couldn’t reach by the wonderful world of “Forwarding”;
* You can make valuable connections to many different people who can help ‘boost’ your own writing, speaking or authoring career;
* You can make connections to ‘experts’ who can help with your research for writing your books or articles;
* It looks really good on your writing resume or Book Proposal to say you have a newsletter with HUNDREDS of subscribers (Okay…hundreds is a dream but it can happen!).
Most importantly to me, my newsletter is a way to bring awareness to an often misdiagnosed and misunderstood disorder as well as to help validate the feelings of caregivers raising a child with SPD and other special needs. For example, I have specific sections in my newsletter where caregivers can send me their personal stories. These sorts of stories, at least I believe, help other people in similar situations feel comforted by the thought that they aren’t alone in the world. They can say, “Yes! I totally understand!” or “I’d never heard of that therapy/treatment option/resource.” or even, “Thank you for saying what was in my heart but I haven’t been able to say out loud.” That is why I do what I do and why I have a newsletter…because there wasn’t anything like that for me when I first started on my ‘sensational’ journey with my daughter, Jaimie. I guess you could say it’s like my mission now to make sure there are resources like this out there…my calling, if you will.
I guess what I’m saying is that if you feel passionate about something and you want more room to express that passion than in a 1500 word article, a newsletter is an awesome way to go. You can use Word to create one or go the fancy ‘plug-and-play’ route with Constant Contact. However you choose to do it, follow your heart and you’ll always be on the right track.
Chynna's newsletter, "The Gift: A Newsletter for Caregivers of Sensational Children" can be subscribed to through her Website. It's goes out monthly (usually by the 15th) filled with personal stories, interviews with experts, product reviews, "Latest and Greatest" on what's up in the SPD Community and more.