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October 1, 2008 - Issue #31

Welcome to the Working Solo Minute, the 60-second newsletter designed specifically for solo entrepreneurs. To unsubscribe or change subscriber options, see the bottom of this issue.

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How to Write a Weekly Newsletter (Part 1)

Several readers have asked me to explain how I write this weekly newsletter, since they're thinking of taking the plunge. So here's a two-part overview: today I focus on the writing part; next week we'll look at the production and distribution end.

Elaine Floyd, longtime Working Solo colleague and publishing guru, says to think carefully before you launch a regular newsletter: It's a commitment. It can also be fun and personally rewarding. The challenge is to create a system so that you don't reinvent the wheel each time you sit down to write. Here's a peek at my system:

1. Keep an idea list.
I keep a running list of 3-5 ideas that I think would make good newsletter topics. Some of these arise while I'm coaching soloists, others spring from questions folks email me, my conversations with colleagues, or issues I encounter in my own work. When it comes time to write the weekly Minute, I scan the list and choose a topic. Some ideas are used right away; others may linger, ultimately to be discarded or inspire related topics. The goal is never to be sitting with a blank page and an impending deadline.

2. Answer the "Who Cares?" question.
Newsletter topics must pass one important test: Will you, my readers, find value in spending 60 seconds with me? Sometimes topics will start out one way, then morph into something else as I realize that the information I want to share can become more valuable if presented slightly differently. Ask yourself: How can I best serve my readers?

3. Make it short and actionable.
I know soloists are crunched for time, so the Working Solo Minute is structured with short paragraphs, often with action steps. When I'm writing, I visualize individuals reading the newsletter instead of thousands of email in-boxes -- it personalizes the writing and makes the task less daunting. And yes, when it's done, I time it to see how close I've come to my 60-second target.

4. Let it sit before final edits.
In all, it may take an hour to write a complete newsletter. Some are written in one sitting; others come together in several short blocks of time. I try to allow enough time so the issue can sit for a while, enabling me to make any final clarifications and edits with fresh eyes.

Next week, I'll review what happens when the words are complete and how each issue makes it to your individual email box.

-- Terri Lonier

Next Issue:
How to Write a Weekly Newsletter, Part 2

Working Solo Minute is published each Wednesday by Working Solo, Inc. and is based on the work of author and small business expert Terri Lonier. Copyright 1994-2008. All rights reserved.
Working Solo is a registered trademark of Working Solo, Inc.

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