Hello fellow learn-it-all,
Greetings from Delray, Florida ☀
L️et's C E L E B R A T E!
It has been officially one year since I started writing these letters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for signing up to be a part of the ride each week.
On a different note, I completed a mini-triathlon over the weekend for my own amusement. I biked 6 miles, ran 3, walked 3 on the beach, and swam for 30min (it's a shrimp pool so counting laps feels pointless). It felt fabulous to be moving and grooving like over the summer.
Oh, and I bought an online PADI course this weekend just for fun. Curious if any of you are divers, and what the coolest fish you’ve seen or place dove? I've been loving my shell shopping each day and think it'd be even cooler to be able to go out deep into the abyss and see creatures I've never seen before.
If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:
Now, what's in store for this issue?
- Six lessons and three wins from 52 weeks of letters
- An essay I am working on the power of a personal website
- Some insights from my writing group on your research mindset and feedback
- Two ponderings about the Internet and the waves
- A quality that I harness as an output of this newsletter
- A quote about the language we know and use
- A question about joy
- A sunrise photo
- Some shoutouts to OG readers of these letters
Now, let’s dive into letter 52 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
📧 Newsletter Learnings
I shared at the start of this year some reminders of why I started these letters in letter 40. Below are six high-level learnings from over the past year:
- Have a filter of what to include in the newsletter. Error on having less rather than more. Ask yourself: What would my future self deem worthy to read again and again?
- Allow it to bring you joy. You won't want to miss it if it means you'll be having less fun. It's like missing recess time out on the playground. The swings set called my name each day and there’s no way I’d miss it. These letters have made learning more enjoyable knowing I can share the knowledge with others.
- These are like a digital postcard, where I allow it to change and to run experiments. This allows the letters to feel a little more alive rather than a dusty old book. Use the fact that these emails have a fleeting life span to try out what makes it more enjoyable. For me, that has been incorporating questions I ask myself, the ponderings, and words I'm fascinated by. Adding pictures to these letters has added some color to the text and made it more joyful.
- Recognize the structure evolves with you. My first letter was pure curation with links. I was hiding behind it to avoid sharing more personally. Eventually, I realized that since 2018 I've been taking different classes online to satiate my curiosity. I can start to pull from those and share more learning in public along with my own personal take.
- Be observational and crystallize your thoughts. Go deeper to surprise the reader with things you notice in life that they might be missing. Be like an astrologer looking up at the stars making sense out of the known and the unknown. Creativity gets sparked from noticing things.
- Build relationships through your writing. This newsletter is not about strategizing the distribution or growth hacking my audience (as if I knew how to do that). I am showing who I am and how I think each week. I am not just telling you what I think. The second might attract an audience, but the first two build friendships between reader and writer. I’ve never felt regret for opening the door to connecting with you all.
- I discovered my voice through writing consistently every day this past year and publishing my best bits each week with you.
- I broke 200 readers — 206 to be completely transparent.
- I built trust through my consistency and feel confident to help others to create their own means of sharing online.
With all of this said, I am still by no means an expert and would love to hear from you. Please let me know if there's anything you’d like to see changed.
The assignment this week for Write of Passage is to share about how the world is changing. I've been writing about the power of having an online website and presence. I believe you are doing your future self a disservice without being online. The magic of the Internet cannot take place without buying your domain of real estate and building your personal home.
It has unquestionably changed my life, professionally and personally, to have an online website and proactively share. People will inevitably Google you so why not be in control of what they see? I wish my parents bought me a domain name before they took me to college shopping across campuses. It feels as if I have gotten more job opportunities from my website than from any of the career guidance counselor tips, resume workshops, or career fairs.
The future is moving towards the fact that if you are not on Google, you do not exist. '
I'm in a bit of a block with writing this essay. I feel too biased in that I've had a website for over a year now. I'd love your help! If you don't have an online website, what has been holding you back? If you do have an online website, what is the main reason that forced you over the edge?
👩🏻🏫 WOP writing group
My third writing session this past week centered around feedback and how to go about researching for your writing. David Perell coined the phrase of using the Content Triangle.
Rather than attempting to write a whole entire book in the dark in caveman mode, as I failed miserably in 2019, break down your writing. Figure out what the smallest idea of it that you can start sharing is. Test it with conversations at dinner or during the small talk on Zoom calls. Share it on your social networks. Write about it as you go and integrate the feedback while you create. Finally, once you put all this time into the content, be sure to distribute and share it with the world to see.
I also reinforced the power of ambient research rather than the academic-like way of active research. It tends to be something I dread and procrastinate. Much of the research for what someone might want to write about can be done more ambiently when you follow your curiosity and trust your intuition. If you set up systems in your life to more intentionally converse and share ideas, then all that is left is a way to capture those insights and incorporate them into writing. You don't need to be a professor or a fancy pants analyst to conduct research. Make it enjoyable, you'll want to do more of it, and you’ll get better at it.
- Waves on the ocean are quite calming. No matter if it’s a stormy day or a calm one, there is always a tide. It reminds me of my waves of emotions. They're always there as the waves. Whether they be happy or gloomy ones, emotions keep flowing in and I can't control the tide. Notice the waves and let them be.
- Where would I be without the Internet? I wouldn't be employed. I wouldn't be able to send this email to all of you. I wouldn't feel this sense of connection across my social platforms. Moral of the story: I would be lost.
🔎 Word to define
Chutzpah: Bravery that borders on rudeness; "impudence or gall." It can also mean having self-confidence, audacity, cheek, effrontery, gall, hardihood, nerve, and temerity. Chutzpah is an informal equivalent for effrontery or flagrant boldness.
If you have chutzpah, you say what you think without worrying about hurting someone's feelings, looking silly, or getting in trouble.
It rhymes with "foot spa."
Etymology: late 19th century: Yiddish word from Aramaic ḥu ṣpā.
Example: These letters each week have given me chutzpah. I would have never discovered my voice without them. I would've never known I could actually pursue being a writer or creative.
🌟 Quote to inspire
“The limits of language are the limits of your world." -Wittgenstein
❓ Question to think about
How can I make my life more enjoyable?
📷 Photo of the Week
I've been slowly becoming a morning person these last few weeks in Florida. I made a new friend named Roger who is the rescue patrol to help the sea turtles that hatch along the shore. We walk the beach each morning on the lookout for baby little fellows.
I may not have encountered sea turtles just yet, but I did almost step on a pufferfish. They look a lot cuter in movies. It's lovely how animation makes most things much more pretty.
- To the early readers of this newsletter who validated that I wasn’t writing into a void. These folks are true OGs: LR, Kristen Pavle, Charlie Bleecker, Lev Naginsky, Ben Bradbury, Linda Abar, Shelby Smith, Josefien Vermet, Billy Welsh, Ally Van Deuren. If I missed you, know that I appreciate you as well.
- To my Dad for introducing me to the Word to Define: Chutzpah
- To David Perell for sharing the quote to inspire in class
I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.
Never stop learning 😁
Until next week,
P.S. if you're interested in starting a newsletter or have any questions about my journey, please reach out :)
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