News You Can Use — Newsletters of Note

To feed the creative fires, it helps to consume copious quantities of creations from a variety of other sources. One of the easiest ways I have found to unearth really good stuff regularly is to subscribe to email newsletters. Admittedly, I’ve subscribed to way more newsletters  than are really valuable, but a few have proven reliable in their ability to inform and amuse me. Let me share with you several I enjoy and look forward to reading each week. Subscriptions links are included at the end of each newsletter’s description.

James Clear’s 3-2-1 Newsletter

Tag line: “The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”
It certainly makes for a quick read. Using a countdown-style format, James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, consistently delivers several nuggets every Thursday.

He starts each newsletter with “3 Ideas from Me”, generally either quotes from his book or brief tweets he send out, such as this one shared yesterday:

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.
A small habit—when repeated consistently—grows into something significant.”

After the opening round, he shares 2 meaty quotes from others, mostly recently psychologist Adam Grant on how to elicit feedback and linguist/philosopher Noam Chomsky on seeking what is significant. Finally, he ends with a question for the reader to consider, such as: “Does the amount of attention I’m giving this match its importance?”

James Clear’s 3-2-1 Newsletter
(disclosure: this is a  referral link & if 3 people sign up from it, I get a free download!)

Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files

Nick Cave‘s career has already spanned decades of creative musical endeavors and recently he’s been openly sharing his thoughts about his work, his artistic process, and basically anything any fan wishes to ask him.

He launched his Red Hand Files in 2018 and has 140 issues so far. In each issue, he answers questions from fans, most recently about Carnage, a set of recent recordings he made with Warren Ellis, already available for streaming, soon to be released on CD.

“I had been sitting at my desk — suddenly and shockingly not travelling — writing lyrics and poems into a void, with no real objective other than to make sense of this stationary moment. The world felt weird. My body felt weird.”

Even if you’re not familiar with his work, these short missives make for thoughtful reading. The newsletter features a prominent button at the bottom to ask Nick a question.

The Red Hand Files

The Art of Noticing

Rob Walker, author of the 2019 book, The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Loy in the Everyday, continues to push people to pay attention to the ordinary and everyday with his newsletter. He starts with a brief essay in response to a specific prompt but also includes some regular sections, two of which he describes below.

Dictionary of Missing Words is an exercise in paying attention to phenomena you encounter — sensations, states between states, feelings, slippery things — that could be named, but don’t seem to be.

Icebreakers: Noticing is about other people, too. The Icebreaker series aims to help with that.

Walker often references others active in the “creative community,” especially those like Austin Kleon, who examine what it is to be creative as a way of living.

The Art of Noticing

Austin Kleon

Homecoming book-signing for hometown hero, Austin Kleon @ BookPeople

Austin Kleon, repeat NYT bestselling author and self-described “writer who draws,” writes about living a life inspired by creativity.

Every Friday morning, he sends out a list of 10 things he feels like sharing, with embedded links for follow-up.

These range from book recommendations to his “ear candy” for the week as well as selections from his own daily blog. Here’s #3 from yesterday’s list:

A profile of Twyla Tharp, who is the subject of an American Masters documentary coming out today. (It’s worth noting that she wrote a great book about creative work, The Creative Habit, and published a sequel a few years ago called Keep It Moving.)

To say I’m a fan of Austin Kleon is a huge understatement, so this is one newsletter I truly look forward to every week.

Austin Kleon’s Friday Newsletter

There you go, friends — please check out these creators and their newsletters.

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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