Join me in the way-back machine for the origin story of my newsletter, Impulses: Inspiration for Creatives.
February 2001 was a big month for me. I left my job at the local cooking school. This was the last job I will ever hold. I took a trip to Paris with my friend Carl. The city was cold, a constant light mist fell upon us, but it’s Paris. I’ll take it.
There was a moment where I felt a visceral confusion: what am I doing? My business was almost two years old. I had no job. Would I be able to support myself? What is this coaching thing, anyway?
That month, I began writing and publishing Impulses. This is before blogs. Before Instagram, Facebook, or any of those mass communication channels. A newsletter is the way to connect with people who are interested in what I offer. So I plunged in! And somehow, I kept at it.
For twenty years, I have been mining the fields of my creative practice to write in Impulses about how my clients and I are winning the game of getting our work out of our head and into the world. The early issues shared info about my writing workshops and my cooking classes, which I taught until 2003.
The newsletter, my coaching business, and I have evolved. What remains is a constant curiosity about the creative process and its role in our lives. I believe in the power of making things even if you don’t plan to sell them or attain some external reward.
Twenty things I have learned from sending this missive out for two decades. I hope this list inspires your creative pursuits.
(Not a subscriber? Sign up here in the sidebar for bi-weekly inspiration.)
- It was so terrifying to send out a newsletter at first. Gut-wrenching terror.
- Hitting ‘send’ did not kill me. Not once.
- At one point, I published an additional newsletter, The Muse, specifically about writing. If you know me, I’m a ‘why not do more’ kind of person.
- Typos happen. It is not a tragedy.
- Fortunately, people will call your attention to typos and other mishaps. For instance, on January 6th, I was alerted by a vigilant reader that the copyright date in the newsletter’s footer should be changed to 2021.
- This will be both maddening and welcome.
- Most of my writing focuses on the internal landscape of the creative process. Who you are becoming and what you care about is embedded in the creative process. The emotional and psychological aspects of our creative work are endlessly fascinating to me. My articles relate to the creative process and are applicable for creatives of all mediums.
- The articles that strike a chord recently are personal essays, not how-to articles. I think this is partly due to the overabundance of how-to pieces and the desire to read real-life examples of what we want for ourselves.
- If I send the newsletter out a day late, it’s okay. I am the boss. Twice in twenty years, I missed sending out an issue.
- After years of writing listicles and how-to pieces and mapping out editorial calendars, my best writing to you comes from getting still, dropping into my heart, and connecting with what I want most for you.
- The thousands of people who read my newsletter rarely reply.
- When people do reply, they tell me how much they get from Impulses. I am grateful for that.
- This sparse response has taught me to release expectations of reward or response. Show up, put it out there, let it do its work.
- Publishing anything is a lesson in humility.
- It usually takes a full day to write, revise, revise, revise, add links and images, program, double-check, and send a newsletter. I do all these tasks myself and have accepted that it just takes time to write a solid newsletter.
- I’ve considered doing a newsletter of curated things a la Austin Kleon. It would be easier. But I am not on the planet to send you more things to divert you from your own creative pursuits. While I love sharing stuff, my work is to guide you to your original impulse, not others’.
- Sometimes it’s okay to re-publish an article.
- While it has become easier to write and publish Impulses, and it’s still a challenge. I want my words to be meaningful for you, and that takes time and thoughtfulness.
- I feel grateful for you and those who trust me in their inbox. It’s a privilege to have your attention that I never take for granted.
- Writing a newsletter is a way to connect with you and what we share: a desire to write, create and live on our own terms.
Don’t miss out on the goods! Get your subscription here.
Rewards for long-time subscribers
If you have been an Impulses subscriber since February 2001, contact me with your postal address, and I will send you a treat in the mail.
If you have the first copy of this newsletter from February 2001, forward it to me, and you will get a month of free coaching from me.