It has been stated a lot lately that Newsletters are the new blogs: online spaces for intimate conversations. In a time where trolling became a nasty side effect of publishing thoughts, newsletters might feel safer, especially for women. It seems contradictory that in an age where the inbox zero becomes a productivity goal, newsletters are making a comeback against all odds. But if we think about it, the popularity of thoughtful newsletters, which are not trying to sell us the latest stupidity, is not that surprising. In a time where there is so much internet noise in the online space, people become very selective about which sources they decide to follow, trust and where they want to get their information from.
I love well crafted newsletters with the right mixture of personal thoughts, recommendations and sharing of curious findings. I feel that they can work as an extension of a notebook where the reader gets a behind the scenes of the thinking process and we can find some treasure we might never have found. The internet is not as varied as we might think, after all, we barely get out of our internet bubbles, but newsletters might be a chance to find new curiosities and new ways of thinking.
Here are some of the newsletters in culture I enjoy reading covering a big ranch of culture related topics. Culture defined as a broader thematic approach.
Reading, Writing & Sharing
Austin Kleon's weekly Newsletter
In short: A writer who draws and shares some of his journal pages, lots of reading and findings. The newsletter comes in a list format, sharing around 10 things that he found interesting during the week.
Manjula Martin's 3 cents
Manjula talks creative work, money and love. She is the editor of the anthology Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living. She walks her talk and shares radically honest her own economics, things she learned and lots around a writer's life.
Glory Edim's Well-Read Black Girl
Everyone can use some variety on the bookshelf, as we need to keep our mind woke. Glory Edim is the founder of the Brooklyn-based book club and active online community (#wellreadblackgirl). The newsletter highlights Black women writers who do not get the attention they should get in mainstream culture. This letter will hit your inbox bi-weekly every Friday.
Art & Culture
Maria Popova's Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings is an inventory of the curious mind of Popova reading books and sharing wisdom from the most inspiring human beings from literature, science, art, history and general knowledge. The distilled wisdom is often accompanied with commissioned illustrations by wonderful artists. The newsletter arrives every Sunday highlighting the pieces of the week, best served with a cup of coffee in PJs.
(My own) Anabel Roque Rodriguez': Labor of Love
A monthly Newsletter with a short essay on a particular cultural topic like labor issues in the arts, art during these times or some lessons of the month, internet findings, podcast recommendations and lots more. I called it Labor of Love as I got used (even though it still gets frustrating) to answer on a regular base if one can make a living in the arts. My monthly letter is thought to go against marketing emails, I am so sick of, and focus on things I find relevant. My definition of relevance is defined on metrics that focus on the long-term: love, passion and curiosity. On a side note, YES one can make a living, and money is essential to make every profession sustainable. Find the letter at the end of the month in your inbox.
Journalism & Everyday Culture
Ann Friedman Weekly
Ann Friedman is a journalist and co-hosts with her long-distance BFF Aminatou Sow the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. This weekly is in a broader sense a cultural newsletter - let's not be so narrow-minded about what belongs to culture - dealing with politics, thought-provoking articles, life advice, GIFs, pie charts, calls to action. I love the variety, it's like a treasure chest and you never know what you dig into.
Meg Kissack's That hummingbird Life Newsletter
That Hummingbird life is about creative entrepreneurship, establishing a sustainable work-life that doesn't leave you drained, giving you the right dose of motivation, self-care and honesty. Her weekly letters arrive every Sunday and come with 3 intention setting questions for the week.
Mathias Jacobsen's Think Clearly Newsletter
Think clearly is a hand-written page around one specific thought or question. It's around creative business, intentions and more clarity. He publishes once a year his yearly reports, sort of intimate journals, where he takes the reader on a journey through his year with all its lessons, what went wrong and what he is grateful for. His annual reports were my motivator to start a similar process at the end of the year.