Craft By Zen

4 min read

🔖newsletter   🔖season_1   🔖letters

A Year of Jear-Bear Letters

Dear Reader,

Let’s keep this a bit informal. I’m thankful for a year of newsletters, thankful for all of you reading, and thankful for all of the support y’all have given me. Without your support, I don’t know if I’d be writing essays every week. This weekly piece of writing is a way to bring together as well as synthesize what I’ve learned throughout the week. Now that it’s been a year, I wanted to look back at what I wrote and take a look at the journey.

The Numbers

Since last year, I’ve sent 45 letters. That tells me I’ve missed 8 letters. Back in October, I announced I would cut back on my load of work by publishing an essay once every other week. However, I want to challenge myself in the month of December to bring to you all original essays once a week again.

Challenge Accepted
Challenge Accepted

When I started, I had six subscribers. Today, as of November 29th at 8:15pm, it’s 36. The thing I love about these letters is I get to share it with all of you. Yes, I’m pandering, but it’s also the truth. I get this thrill that rushes through me when I hit send, and subsequently hit, “Yes, send it now” because Tinyletter wants to make sure I don’t send a bad message to you folks. It’s saved me on two separate occasions.

Combined, the total word count for my letters is 48,476. Keep in mind I love to lift quotes, passages, and re-post other stories my friends have written. That’s pretty close to the NaNoWriMo goal of their 50k word count. To give some perspective, “The Great Gatsby” has a word count of 47,094. “Slaughterhouse-Five” has a word count of 49,4459. You can check out Commonplace Book’s website for more novel word counts.


Between December to June, I was releasing these letters on Medium. I stopped posting in June because I wasn’t getting much readership on Medium. When I published on Medium, I hoped more strangers would read what I posted. I tried advertising on social media, but did not have much luck besides two posts, one in which was recommended by Dave Hoover and another which was following the Caltrain suicide news circus. With Tinyletter, it’s guaranteed these emails will reach my particular audience. I will only post to Medium today if I think the post has a clear message and should reach a wider audience. Most of my posts on Medium have on average 5 reads. It should be noted a read is when a user scrolls through the article from top to bottom counter to a page view which could also include a bounce behavior, i.e. a user clicks on the article and immediately goes to a different website or closes the tab or window of the browser.

And it should be noted I’m not trying to write for an unknown audience. I’m writing for my friends and whoever wants to join in on my essays. I’ve stated on the Tinyletter landing page that I’m not going to social media to post a longform essay, because no one will read it there either. On Facebook, we are inundated by the endless scrolling content where a wall of text would not appeal to anyone’s eyes. That post would be surrounded by an environment of short, multimedia content that shouts, click on me, and has a shelf life of two seconds.

The last thing I will say about writing this piece every week is I really enjoy the writing process. I’m selecting my words carefully, trying not to use too many adverbs and quips that add no value to the writing. One of my friend’s pet peeves is the world albeit. “We can go to the store, albeit by the time I get there, I may have to use the restroom.” In this context, albeit was not necessary to get the point across. On that same thought, I try not to use words like “just”, “finally”, and “definitely”, which are overused in my writing.

Again, thanks for all of you for reading my posts. One year goes by so fast, I forget easily how much I’ve written. I hope you continue to join me for the next year as I have more to share with y’all.


Jeremy Wong