The Why Behind My Newsletter

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That's why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

- Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman, The Bare Necessities

I got the genetic lottery for my newsletter name: The Baer Necessities.

The monicker is pretty fitting too. The Necessities fits my personal interest in living a minimalist, simplified lifestyle.

But there’s one challenge that pops up every week as I write my newsletter:

The name “Baer Necessities” itself gives me creative limitations. It’s a subtle reminder that I can only write what is necessary for my readers.

I have this false belief that if I write any original work that it will distract from the goal of sticking to the “necessities.”  I think people might tune out. But I hate this mindset.

So I want to reframe this limiting mindset by asking myself a question:

How can I make this email as high signal and low noise as possible?

In other words, how can I write this email with the most value-per-word on the internet (as James Clear says about his email)?

I want every word in the email to be of substance.

Rather than coming from a limited mindset, I want to write from a mindset of genuine helpfulness for my readers. To do that, I want to make sure that what I write is clear, concise, and helpful.

It doesn’t mean I can’t write original work in my emails. On the contrary, these constraints unlock freedom for more original work.

Seth Godin explained it perfectly in a blog on Embracing Constraints from 2011:

“Embrace the constraints you’ve been given. Use them as assets, as an opportunity to be the one who solved the problem. Once you can thrive in a world filled with constraints, it’s ever easier to do well when those constraints are loosened. That’s one reason why the best filmmakers learn their craft making movies with no budget at all.”

Constraints are a good thing. If you don’t give yourself constraints, you actually put more stress on yourself to write about whatever you want. That’s a tough place to put yourself in as a writer with too much freedom.

I’m sure the content of my newsletter will continue to evolve as the year(s) move forward, but it’s always important remind myself why I write it. That’s why I wrote this piece.

My goal with the newsletter is simple: to spark conversation by leaving you a tad bit happier, knowledgeable, and curious than you were before.

That's why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

Just the Baer Necessities of life.

And remember that I love hearing from you. Feedback, ideas, and questions are always welcome to any of my writing or newsletters.

Published by Jonah Baer

Florida State student | Memphis, TN native

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