The article I wish I had when I started my newsletter.
This article is the one that you should read if you want a start a newsletter, or you are struggling to keep up with it 👇👇👇 Let’s dive in!
This week at My open brain. I’m going to share how doing impossible things brings you closer to success, in my case my newsletter.
In the beginning seemed impossible. My first article took me more than 10 hours to write. Can you take 10 hours per week for writing a newsletter? Me either. How am I able to continue writing for more than 16 weeks? Thanks to these three concepts.
1 — Transform I don’t have time to I don’t want to do it.
You keep telling to yourself that don’t have time to do more things even if you know that it will improve your life x10 What if I pay you €100,000 to do it? So, it’s not a problem of time it’s a problem of priorities.
Start a new habit or a new thing during the week is so hard. It is easier to say that you don’t have time, rather than prioritize the important stuff over anything.
In the Ted talk: “How to gain control of your free time” by Laura Vanderkam. Vanderkam said: “Could you find seven hours to train for a triathlon?” “Could you find seven hours to mentor seven worthy people?” I’m sure she would’ve said what most of us would’ve said, which is, “No — can’t you see how busy I am?” […] [If you have to] find seven hours because there is water all over her basement, […] [You will find] seven hours. And what this shows us is that time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.”
The key to time management is treating our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater. — Laura Vanderkam
So, after four articles, when the real struggle began, I treated writing the newsletter as if the water broke, and I keep spending 10 hours or even more to write the articles, but something changed 3 articles ago. The 10 hours turned into 7 hours, the quality of my weekly articles improve, now I’m able to write in English rather than Spanish, my mother tongue, and now I’m enjoying so much writing that I’m learning faster, so I can keep writing.
2- Once you started delivered practice will make you better and will make it more enjoyable.
The right sort of practice carried out over a sufficient period of time leads to improvement. Nothing else will — Anders Ericsson.
Anders Ericsson in his book: “Peak: How to Master Almost Anything” explains that deliberate practice pushes you out of your comfort zone, and practice between what you can do, and what you can’t do give you more complex and sophisticated mental representation.
A metal representation is knowledge that sets expert performers apart from everyone else. The quality and the quantity of their mental representations makes them take better decision so achieving better results.
In his book, Anders explains a study with an undergraduate. In the study, the participant, Steve Faloona came into his office multiple times a week for one hour at a time to listen to a string of random digits and repeat them back. If Steve got that right, Anders would add a digit if Steve got it wrong he would take off two digits in the next session.
Steve got to the point where he could reliably recite seven digits like many studies had shown that the capacity of human short-term memory was about seven units of information.
Steve tried to improve beyond seven digits session after session. He would run into a wall of frustration being unable to recall more than seven digits, but because of this, he came back each week trying to improve. One day, he got 8 then nine, 22 digits, 34 digits, and all the way up after two hundred. Numbers that are not supposed to be able for the human brain**.**
Showing up daily and practice over and over with instant feedback could be the key to impossible things because it forces you to find creative ways to solve the problem.
Steve creatively came up with a way of seeing the numbers attached to branches of a tree- This was a mental representation to condense and simplify incoming information, a way to see four digits as a single unit at 22 digits seen the digits as a part of a branch.
How you can do better-delivered practice.
- Well-defined, specific goals: Steve’s short-term goal was extremely obvious. If he could recall 13 digits, he knew his next goal was 14.
- Focused: Steve’s practice sessions were intense periods of undistracted focus for an hour all he would focus on was trying to remember digits.
- Frequent discomfort: Steve received feedback after each attempt in other words his feedback was immediate and easy to understand.
- Immediate feedback: Steve was constantly being pushed outside his comfort zone by operating just near his abilities and he frequently made mistakes. He would move up one, move up another but then go back.
3 — Planned as little as possible
Ali Abdaal is a famous YouTuber who has more than one million and a half subscribers. He started on YouTube with one clear goal: to upload from 1 to 3 videos a week. He didn’t care about views, instead of that he focused on keep uploading videos each week, and three years after, Ali can earn more than million a year from his YouTube account.
If you don’t have time, the best thing you can do is focus on what produces the most value. Noah Kagan in his YouTube channel talks about the law of 100 that proves quantity is always better than quality when you are starting.
The University of Miami had a photography class, and they broke it up into two groups:
- The quantity group had to take a hundred pictures to get by the end of the semester.
- The quality group could turn in just one photo by the end of the semester, but it had to be perfect.
The quantity group kicked the quality group’s ass because the quantity group experimented more. They learned from their mistakes, and they got better with time. And that’s what the law of 100 is about so, the solution for you is to start with your first 100 whatever it is for you with complete disregard of your results.
My current goal is simply to publish 100 articles, one’s per week. Until I don’t achieve 100, I cannot decide if you want to give it up or not.
What makes this goal so good is that it is trackable, it has instant feedback, and it can be turned into a habit. I focus on that goal because I want to make this maintainable. I’m improving the area of publishing weekly rather than get more views.
Tricks that help me publish articles each week.
1 . You don’t need to be Cervantes for writing a newsletter.
Professional copywriters don’t start with a blank page, they ended up using copy frameworks made by them or others. Copy frameworks are pre-made structures that allow you to write compelling articles with coherence and quality in a matter of minutes not hours. I will probably try to personalize a framework for myself, but I started with the most common, and it’s working astonishingly. The one I used is called: “AIDA”. AIDA is an abbreviation that stands for:
- Attention: Grab consumer’s attention.
- Interest: Increase the interest.
- Desire: Make it desirable
- Action: Make the action that you want.
Usually used for marketers to sell more, but I’m using it for my newsletter like:
- Attention: Grab attention in social networks to get the click.
- Interest: Increase the interest in the article enough to keep reading until the end.
- Desire: The outcome they are going to achieve if they understand the concepts.
- Action: Make an exercise to fully absorb the knowledge.
2. Islands and Bridges Strategy by David Perrel:
As David Perrel says, “There are two kinds of articles: Clear Thesis articles where you know exactly what you’re going to say before you start writing, and Foggy Intuition ones, where writing helps you discover what you think”.
I’ve never been able to write a clear thesis, so always I write foggy Intuition articles. These articles are trickier because you don’t have all the answers at the beginning, and that forces you to keep learning and investigate ideas that may or may not enter the final article.
These ideas David Perrel call them: “Islands” at the start of the article I write a collection of islands and I keep trying to connect them inside the AIDA structure.
Steps of the “Islands and Bridges Strategy”:
- Write down a collection of islands that you feel like you will connect to them eventually.
- Read as much as you can about each concept.
- Explain each concept to a person rearranging the order of the islands to find a structure for the article.
- Connect the islands with bridges, which are short transitions that connect two. The longer your piece, the longer your bridges need to be.
Now it’s time to work.
You are going to write an article, it’s simpler than you think. Just follow the structure:
- Start with desire: What outcomes I can offer to the user?
- What exercise will help them to understand the concepts?
- How can I increase their interest when they start reading the article?
- How do I grab people’s attention?
- Publish the article!
Thank you for reading the article, join our group to be in contact with more people building a second brain ;)