The difference of doing something weekly

Newsletter on 3 March 2023
Artwork by Tim Murray-Browne. It shows an AI rendered image revealing trees in a broader abstract swirl

Last month was an experiment with a short weekly newsletter. Here’s the result: I’m going to alternate between the weekly and monthly format.

My creative practice has a kind of tidal nature to it. Right now, there’s too much going on to pack into a monthly missive. Other periods, like summer and Christmas, tend to be more contemplative. I’m not interested in manifesting things to say when I have none, so during those periods I’ll shift to the monthly format.

I heard people like consistency, but I think predictability is enough. I’ll be clear when we switch into monthly mode. I’ll still do the occasional longer essay as some things need more space to articulate, but never more than once a month.

With that said, let me share how it’s been.

I’m a slow writer and the weekly letter takes a lot more time. Probably I’ll get faster with practice, but it’s about 6 hours each week, plus the technical faff of formatting, putting it on my website, and so on.

And yet, it’s been creatively invigorating and most definitely time well spent. The commitment is creatively generative. I have a tendency to hoard my ideas until they’re really ready. Too often, that readiness never arrives and they get left on a hard drive. There are things I’ve put out before that I regret, but they are massively outweighed by the work I didn’t share because I just wasn’t sure how I felt about it. When I return years later, I often find these some of the best. (Example: the pic above is from January 2022.)

It’s shouldn’t be a big revelation that a consistent output is creatively generative. This lesson I have been taught many times (most persuasively by the Make Art Not Content podcast). I preach it to others. But to actually do it is really hard. Commitment helps with this, a weekly commitment way more so.

That’s from my end. What about you? A few people unsubscribed. A similar number joined. The feedback I received was little but mostly very positive. This is validation enough for me.

Truth be told, I can’t be guided by audience numbers here. It’s possible to hoard an audience as well as an idea, and just as unhealthy creatively. The ART⋂CODE letter is a way of reaching out to people with a shared perspective on art, technology, the body and AI. It’s not a product. I’m not seeking market fit. To do so has been the death of many an artist.

Yet while retaining audience is a problematic goal, creating a depth of connection is important. The connection I feel with an artist hugely influences how I experience their work. Of the personal newsletters I recieve, the weekly ones leave me feeling fundamentally more connected to the writer than the monthly ones. Hopefully, it does for you as well.

So, onwards we go.

Montreal, 3 March 2023

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