July 6th, 2008

ozarque figure

Writing nonfiction; newslettering update...

I've been publishing newsletters since 1980, sometimes half a dozen of them at a time, sometimes only one; since January 2000 I've done three of them, six times a year. [The index to previous posts in this journal about writing newsletters is at
http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=ozarque&keyword=Writing+nonfiction%3B+newslettering&filter=all . I apologize for the link that takes you only to a "No such entry" message, but haven't been able to figure out how to delete that one from the list.]

I'm not very good at giving up doing something that I've done at least every other month for 28 years. It's hard for me to imagine not watching -- while I'm reading -- for items to go into the newsletters. Hard to imagine not marking them with Post-Its, not putting them in my hanging files and in the mailboxes I keep for them in my e-mail. Hard to imagine not sorting them and not putting them in order and not verifying their Net addresses and not doing all the rest of the procedures that go with newslettering.

However... That's my Emotional Component talking. And my EC is right up against the hard real-world facts. In just the same way that I'm no longer able to travel all over the country doing twenty seminars a year, in just the same way that I'm no longer able to get to half a dozen science fiction conventions a year, in just the same way that I'm no longer able to do my housekeeping properly, the hard real-world fact is that doing three newsletters has gotten to be too much for me. Like no longer being able to reach the top of my bathroom mirror and the top of my refrigerator to clean them, not being able to do those three newsletters just infuriates me! I look at myself in that bathroom mirror and I can only think what a frail little flower of a wimp I've turned into. I look at her and I tell her -- gently -- that she's getting awfully pitiful.

I should have done "strength training" all these years, right? I should have found somewhere to go swimming and done 100 laps a day. I should have ... I don't know what I should have done. Whatever it was, I didn't do it, and now, whether I like it or not, I have to cut back a tad. Feh. Cottonpick. But I do have to, all the same.

So what I plan to do, starting with January 2009, is this. I'm going to publish just one e-mail newsletter every other month instead of three. I'm going to give it the title and structure that my very first newsletter had -- the one that was called The Lonesome Node. I'm still going to cover all of the topics I cover now -- that's verbal self-defense, religious language, and linguistics-and-science-fiction. Two of every six issues will have one of those three topics as their theme, supplemented with brief updates on the other two topics. And I have warned my newsletter readers that that's what's going to happen.

Now all I have to do is control myself. Suppose what I do is write just one newsletter, but I make it three times as long as the newsletters I've been writing all these years. That isn't cutting back, not even by one tad, and any tendency to do that ..... any tendency for length-creep ... is something I have to treat the way I used to be able to treat weeds. My husband's prediction is that I won't be able to resist the temptation; I am determined to prove him wrong.

I just purely love doing newsletters. I can imagine myself, ninety-nine years old, sitting there talking a very long newsletter into the fancy computer I'll have by 2035 and telling it to send itself out to the mailing list. And then on the other hand, I can imagine myself, ninety-nine years old, sitting there on a rock, carving a very short newsletter into a chunk of hard clay with a sharpened reed from the river. One seems no more unlikely than the other to me, supposing I last that long.