I started editing the Quote-Unquote Apps newsletter Inneresting last July. Each issue has a themed collection of links aimed at writers and people interested in writing.
I wanted to collect a few thoughts about what works for me since it might help other people.
1. Sustainability > Perfection
For the first few issues I wrote a blog post to go along with the theme.
It slowed things down—It was doing the work twice.
Thoughtful copywriting for links shows the curator’s intent in fewer words.
And thoughtful doesn’t mean obsessive.
I take more than one pass on every line to make sure I’m happy to see my name attached to the work, but I won’t tweak it until I miss my deadline.
2. If it’s interesting to me, I won’t be alone
Even if something isn’t perfectly on-brand.
I’ve seen positive responses to links that were off-topic for the week’s theme, or outside the wheelhouse of the newsletter.
But only if the item is “I-need-everyone-to-see-this” level interesting to me.
3. It’s okay to not read the whole internet
I collect most of my material from my RSS reader and web searches.
It’s easy to go down rabbit holes, or think I need to look a little longer for just one more article.
The internet goes on forever, but I can’t. Eventually I need to shut tabs or Mark All As Read.
Some newsletters use a set number of links per issue—I focus on word count. My feeling for the point of diminishing returns comes from how much I know I’ll have to write to set up each link rather than how many links I plan to share.
4. Finding your voice is more archaeology than architecture
I never sat down and thought “This is the voice of Inneresting.”
One week I might get feedback about trying a different tense.
Or I’d look at the previous weeks and try a different paragraph structure.
Looking back on previous weeks, I picked out pieces of what felt right.
The more I wrote, the more examples I had to draw from to figure out how write the next one.
5. Read Several short sentences about writing
Verlyn Klinkenborg changed how I think about writing.
The book encourages you to see sentences as more than just conveyor belts to move “meaning” from writer to reader.
Klinkenborg disabused me of the idea that “the point” is something you only get to at the end of a text.
Every sentence should have a purpose on its own, not just push the reader forward.