Reflecting on writing this newsletter for 1 year

Learnings from writing for a year...

Reflecting on writing this newsletter for 1 year

🌤️ Weather Report ☀️

  1. ✨ New ✨ Premium subscriber only content with video and keynote file from my talk with Art Institute and University of Chicago "How to design Innovation".
  2. Personal news: I am working with a surrogate to potentially expand our family.👶🏻 The vibe is like Love is Blind where I have to commit after 24 hours with 1 potential match at a time. I've committed to a family from Dallas, TX.

💌 Humble Beginnings

I sent my first newsletter on a Monday as February 2023 was coming to an end; I'm a year away from turning 40.

I used Ghost (blame Ali Abdaal's influence) instead of Substack/Medium because I didn't want to share my ideas with a large audience. My first post was deeply vulnerable, "5 reasons why designers don't need to write." I listed 20 years worth of excuses about avoiding writing.

People saw something in me that I couldn't see. Thank you for your support, Ben Brooks, Julia R, Audrey. I want you to know, I am late, and I'm here now.

"What do you write about?"

I want to publicly admit to the mistakes I made during my career and have the world read it and laugh at me!!!!!! You know about being human, writing about my fears, failures, anger, and disappointments. I don't want a debby downer newsletter, so I want to add in cats, coffee, plants, video games, data algorithms, psychology, because I'm a generalist and multifaceted person with a range of unlimited generated energy.

::: takes a deep breath :::

"I translate complex concepts into actionable insight," I said.

Well, that isn't great for marketing or SEO and it means nothing. I had to promise SOMETHING, and that something was: 1) writing matters, 2) burnout, 3) career growth, 4) north star vision, and 5) state of industry. [see original post]

Don't ask me what I write about.

💌 Overcoming Shame

I can't write well.

I assessed my progress and reflected at the 6-month milestone. I wasn't consistent with my weekly promise, sometimes taking a month off. Writing 16 pieces was the most I've ever written in my life, and they took me too long to write.

I only cared about high quality, and my delivery speed took a hit. I struggled, blamed myself, and wished I was a better writer every day. It took me ~8–16 hours to write one article because my writing skill is so low, I'd rewrite 2–3 times.

What kept me going was the readership activity, verbal feedback, and the impact my writing had. My engagement rate held at 85%+ with 27 readers. Readers gave me feedback on Slack or DM that my strategies were valuable, and they found success applying to their lives, I smiled big.

"I don't need 20 years to learn from your mistake." buuurn 🔥

One by one, readers who said, "I can't write well" are now writing a book, substack, journal, or whatever the medium they choose.

I'm smiling at the lives I'm changing.

💌 Celebrating the Win

On the eve of turning 40, I promised myself, shatter the glass of imposter syndrome.

I shared vulnerable stories summarizing my two decades in design on Linkedin, imposter syndrome for writing, and a satire about the job market. These 2 posts of garnered 57,845 impressions and 367 reactions. While I am not 100% comfortable sharing all these posts on Linkedin, I will get there.

Growth

I celebrate the win of gaining the confidence that my voice matters in a world of noise.

In my first year, even though my subscriber count is low (57), it is a 418% increase. I've made $600 through mentorship, and new opportunities have opened.

These are the 5 most popular articles of the past year.

  1. Design is governance - A story about raising the bar on quality
  2. How to tell a story - 6 arcs to help you craft a better story
  3. Summer reflections - config, authenticity, and kardashians
  4. How to get better at influence - Six pillars of influence and what it means
  5. Career growth and life strategy - Need experience for job, but need job for experience

To deliver on this newsletter promise, I've launched a page called Topics of Focus to sort by tags across 32 articles and 5 themes.

💌 Future

At the anniversary of 1 year writing journey, I am starting my Amazon Design Champion orientation TODAY! This means, I will be writing a minimum of 1 post per week on LinkedIn and increase engagement for Amazon Design and gain more follower count for my profile.

Change I am making: I am exporting all my articles and importing it on Substack. What are your opinions on using Substack? I am considering moving to grow a larger base. Good or bad idea? Any ideas to get more audience exposure? Any partnerships I should look into?

At the start of my year 2 journey, what topics are you interested in? What have I not covered that you'd like to know more about? Reply back and let me know.


P.S. AI is on everybody's minds, it's corporate Ozempic

Corporate Ozempic | No Mercy / No Malice
If you want to understand how AI is reshaping business, picture it as the other massive innovation of our time: GLP-1 drugs. Both shed weight by suppressing cravings; both exacerbate existing inequities (aka the rich get richer) before generating wider prosperity; and both are having a greater impact than projected as early adopters are hesitant […]

Have a great week ahead,