Monday, March 30, 2009

The newsletter dating game

While on the beach at the weekend I found a clump of fresh seaweed, still green for the most part. I love these little plump buds of bladderwrack that are so green and fresh before the sun and air turns them to burnt umber. I managed to get this one home and take some photos before its transformation into a brittle mass that will go into the compost.

The photos will be cropped and arranged until I find a composition that appeals to me and will try a drawing of it, likely coloured pencil. I can't resist trying to capture that fresh green of the fronds.

I'm overwhelmed with email. Its become the scourge of my existence at times, especially today. I think its slowly crept up on me, insidiously creeping into the inbox, through filters, to clog my life with drivel.

Now I don't mean the mail from friends and family who I always enjoy receiving mail from, but I find that more and more documents are send via email, from newspapers to local supermarket flyers to newsletters. Which brings me on to my next topic.

I have been asked if I will produce a newsletter from this blog. At this moment, I have to say no. There are a lot of newsletters out there and it seems few are long lived or, to be honest, worthwhile reading. When I consider what would make me stick with a newsletter it would have to provide the following, which almost sounds like the dating game. Aren't these the qualities you look for in a partner?

Consistent. I want a newsletter that will arrive on time, when I expect it, not at the whim of the producer. I want to know what to expect in terms of content and writing. If you let your 4 year old write a column, you'll just confuse me.

Content. This is vital. Content must give me something that I cannot find elsewhere. It can be about you and your art, how you produce it, where you get your inspiration etc. Inspire and entertain me. After a long day, I want that. Don't tell me about your social life, your food, your pets or your children unless they are in your art.

Visual Appeal. You are an artist, so make your newsletter live up to your reputation or the reputation you want to create. No blocks of newspaper text with poor quality images. Make me want to see more through high resolution images and imaginative layout and design.

Make Me Feel Special. I have entrusted you with my personal information - a direct line to me. How are you going to treat me? Are you going to give me special tidbits of information and perhaps a little tutorial tip. Or maybe a discount on the purchase of your art each month?

Don't Dump Me. I have stuck with you, so don't suddenly disappear without warning. I deserve more than that. Provide me with a warning that you won't be producing your newsletter anymore, don't just walk away and leave me hanging, wondering what I did wrong or that you're lying dead in a ditch somewhere.

I won't produce a newsletter just for the sake of doing so. I have seen them come and go, often with good intentions, but often as not simply because its the current trend to do so. I can't produce a newsletter that will please readers on a consistent basis for the long term at this point in my life. In the future, if I have something I need to say on a regular basis, I may consider it, but not now. I'd break every rule in the dating game!


"JeanneG" said...

You are so funny comparing to dating. I can't even remember the dating game as I have been married so long. Besides I'd want to know about your life, cat, chickens, pigs, geese, ducks, moose, cat, cat, cat. lol

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Excellent post Jeanette - one for my post next Sunday!

I think what I like best is that your blog strikes the right balance between stimulation, reflection and a little bit of context for life as it is lived in the Jobson part of the world. Which basically means I agree with Jeanne - I love all the tidbits about your life and weather and animals in Newfoundland.

I mean - let's be real here - when you go out dating - you have to interview the associated dogs and cats too!

Anita said...

I love this - very funny. One of these days I will do a newsletter - one day!

Jeanette said...

Well Jeanne, as a newsletter reader I know what I like and I want the content, the look, the feel to be art related if that's the aim of the writer. My blog is where I let Tripod take over sometimes. :) (she says as she removes his tail from her cup of coffee...)

Thanks Katherine. I guess you caught me in rant mode on this post. Mondays at work do that to me sometimes! If I ever produce a newsletter that is art related, it has to remain that, not become a gossip sheet.

And of course, you'd need to delve into the animal keeping habits of anyone else to truly know them. :)

Glad it made you smile Anita.

Charlene Brown said...

You didn't mention one important component in newsletter content (and dating) although your blogpost has a great example of it -- anticipation! I think we're all looking forward to seeing how those beautiful greens come out...

Billie Crain said...

Clever comparison, Jeanette.:D I detest news letters that don't offer anything contructive or truly interesting. They remind me of those awful photocopied letters people send out at Xmas. I call them Brag Letters.

I'd never be able to maintain a bews letter anyway. I'm much too inconstant.

Stacy said...

Jeanette, thank you for this post! I have read the advice about artists writing newsletters and I have seen many people take that advice while I have passed on it. And I have to admit that I have felt guilt about that decision, like I am not doing all I could or should. But my resistance has always been because I think I would write a crappy newsletter! I mean let's face it, I'm not the most reliable or prolific blog poster.

Reading your post has crystalized my thoughts. So for now I am sticking to my guns on this decision and ditching the guilt. Because I believe that no newsletter is better than a crappy one. :D

Jeanette said...

You're right Charlene, anticipation is big. That seaweed is on the list of things to do!

I haven't got time to write a newsletter either Billie and I don't thing anyone is missing out because of it. One day maybe, but not now.

Stacy, I agree, it takes commitment to write a newsletter and write it well. It also takes a chunk of time and effort.

When the time is right, it will come.