August 2021: end of Season 2
Packing up the newsletter for a while and experimenting with a notebook blog instead.
A year or two ago I read Robin Sloan’s Advice for newsletter-ers:
Here’s my piece of advice for newsletter-ers, new and aspiring:
A personal email newsletter ought to be divided into seasons, just like a TV show.
By “personal” I don’t mean “diaristic” but rather “produced almost entirely by one writer, in order to pursue some interest and/or establish a small business.”
Here’s what you get from the nomenclature, the metaphor, of the “season”:
a sense of progress: of going and getting somewhere.
an opportunity for breaks: to pause and reflect, reconfigure.
an opportunity, furthermore, to make big changes: in terms of subject, structure, style.
When do you break between seasons? Anytime! When life gets weird. When you’re feeling burnt out. When you sense a new obsession taking shape. When you want to bring in a guest writer. When it’s raining outside. Really: anytime.
I’ve had this stored in my mind as a potential good idea for a while, and it feels like the time to act on it. The main reason is that I ‘sense a new obsession taking shape’: in the last few weeks I’ve got really into posting on a notebook blog and I’m enjoying it a lot, and I don’t have mental space for both.
I’ve called this Season 2 because I also had a ‘Season 1’ of just sending out an email to a few people, and then a break before getting a Substack. So I think the season model is probably a good fit for me.
Season 2 has been… not the most inspired. Mainly because it was mostly written in not-the-most-inspiring situation of endless lockdowns while stuck working from home fixing Java bugs. Still, I think some of it came out well, and overall it was better for me than not doing it. I hope it was interesting to at least some of you.
In the meantime, I will be spamming out notebook blog posts. The main project on there at the moment is an attempt to make some sense of Derrida’s Voice and Phenomenon - here’s the tag for them. I’m also experimenting with making lots of quick passes at various other topics, which so far include:
an attempt to explain what I’m currently On About, and why that involves reading Derrida
a discussion of Bret Victor’s old Kill Math project, and some objections by Evan Miller
Anyway, thanks for reading! I will probably do a Season 3 at some point, and whenever that is I’ll let you know on here.