Sunday, December 21, 2014

Annual Holiday Newsletter

Robert and Kaedence - my youngest grandchildren.
Grammy-nanny duties have been my full time job this year.
They are cousins, 7 1/2 mos apart in age.
 
It's that time of year where my mailbox is filled with cards and a few holiday newsletters of friends and family.

I used to include newsletters in our holiday cards. They were really important to me before social media.

Annual newsletters were how I remained connected with friends and family. I was the one out of town, my family was out of the loop. We were long distance, living out of state. My cousins and friends didn't do annual family newsletters because they saw each other and talked on the phone often during the year. The only way to combat my disconnect by distance was an annual family newsletter.

Since the early 1990's I was tucking a one page newsletter into the holiday cards I sent out once a year. These included grainy (dot matrix) pictures of our four girls on that paper. In the following weeks, both Ed and I would get phone calls from friends and family who we hadn't chatted with since the previous year. We could catch-up on life events, reconnect, and get all warm and fuzzy with virtual hugs that spanned hundreds of miles.

I spent a week or more getting those newsletters just right, with poignant statements and clean designs, to say a lot in the fewest words. Eventually the annual updates became more pictures than words, then there was that year I couldn't do either pictures or words. Parental funerals are tough times. And my children were designing their own lives. I was ready to move into the stage of impersonal holiday cards. Something decorative for the moment.

That's when I learned how important it was that I had made our annual newsletters personal. I had to redefine what mattered to others in relation to how much I was willing and able to do. This was a primary lesson from my childhood. Now social media has made my annual newsletters a lot easier to share!

So here is my news for 2014:

My first contemporary romance novel Checkmate First Mate has been published! And my first How-To book Author Marketing 101 is also available!

Here's a glimpse at my family today - only one son-in-law is missing, but you can read about him here - and also get advice from me on creating a business plan as a novelist. :D

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!