How to Write a Family Newsletter | B.A. Burgess | Skillshare

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How to Write a Family Newsletter

teacher avatar B.A. Burgess, Writer | Writing Facilitator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Welcome to the Class

    • 2. Step One

    • 3. Step Two

    • 4. Step Three

    • 5. Step Four

    • 6. Step Five

    • 7. Step Six - BOOM! DONE!

    • 8. 05/2020 Update & Check-in

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About This Class

In this class, you will be given a simple six-step solution to finally writing a family newsletter, holiday day, birthday letter, etc!

Whether you are writing weekly, quarterly, or yearly, this free course will give you a system that will help you finally hit SEND and/or drop those letters in the mail!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

B.A. Burgess

Writer | Writing Facilitator


I am a writer and founder of Pilgrim Fowl Press.  I was born and raised in Tennessee.  Despite that fact, you will never hear me say "Y'all." 

When I'm not writing, I'm working out.  When I'm not working out, I'm eating, knitting, painting, or watching Frasier for the thousandth time.

I want to help you write by showing the systems that work for me.  Maybe, they will work for you.  Maybe, they won't.  Regardless of the outcome, you will have started which is all it takes to finally do the writing you've been thinking about doing for years.

Please, enjoy my free journaling course called Simply Journaling.  This course does a couple of things:  shows you ... See full profile

Related Skills

Creative Writing Creative

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1. Welcome to the Class: hello and welcome to how to write a family newsletter sharing family news, special events and stories at a classic fashion. Everyone loves getting mail that isn't a bill, So this is an opportunity for you to put something fun or something sweet into somebody's physical inbox or digital inbox. We will be exploring both letter writing, physical liberating and email writing, so you'll have an opportunity to type if you have a whole lot to say, or you'll have an opportunity to break out that dip in that you bought at the craft store a few years ago. It haven't done anything with it since. So let's talk a little bit more about the class. Shelly. If you're worried that you aren't the right person for this class, let me tell you right now that this class is absolutely for everyone. You could be a child. You don't have to have Children. You could be a pet if you are a magical pet that knows how to write. This would be great to um, but you don't have to have Children, grandchildren, pets or even family nearby. This could be a letter for your friends in your community. It could be a letter for your congregation if you attend some sort of religious facility. Um, but it could literally be for anyone. And that goes on the receiving end. And the creating end. All you need is paper and pen or computer or a laptop or a tablet or something. Typewriters, air. Great as well. Any sort of writing implement will do. I'm not going to be picky. The only thing that I am gonna ask is that you explore your ideas either on a piece of paper first or on the screen. First, we're not going to dive into this thing and write the perfect letter immediately. It's going to take a few drafts and some work bearing the drafts and things in mind. Let me tell you what this course is not and what we will not be covering. We will not be covering drawing, painting, uh, photography of any kind or how to insert photos into your pictures because I think everybody knows how to do that now. And if you don't know how to do that, if you're writing an email and you don't know how to insert a picture, all you've got to do is ask somebody and they will be able to show you This class is specifically for the writing bit. All you've got to do is get the words on the page because putting the pictures in and things like that that's great. But if you're just gonna be sharing images, then you're just gonna be uploading to your instagram feed or your Facebook feed, and that's fine. You can certainly just do that. But we're trying to craft a letter, and the words are the most important part. Adding things, drawings, paintings, any kind of photography, including inserting digital photos or putting in Prince of Photos that comes after the letter is written. Okay, so this is specifically the writing part. One more thing before we dive in, in case you're new here and in case you're new to me Hello And Barbara, it's nice to meet you. I look forward to writing with you. I am actually writer and I'm arriving. Emissary, that means I like to teach people how to write it. Like to facilitate writing as often as possible. You may know me from my Children's books. That might be how you found my classes here. You might know me for my other writing classes. In which case welcome fellow writer, Happy to see you again. You can find all of my other stuff that's going on in the world on my personal blawg, which is hello. This is barbara dot com, where I don't only talk about writing. I just talk about life in general. It is a personal long. I cannot stress that enough. All of my creative writing starting in November of this year, anything that's published pin names or no will be listed at pilgrim foul press dot com, and I'm very, very excited about that. So it's really nice to meet you. I'm happy you're here, and I can't wait to write a letter with you, so let's go. 2. Step One: Okay, let's dive right into Step one, which is to make a list. And all of you know, if you've taken a class with me before that I love love a list. We're going to take 10 minutes to drop down, all to jump, Wow, to jot down all of the ideas and cool things that have happened to you in the previous year , the previous quarter month week. Whatever a quick note side note here on whether or not to write quarterly or yearly, it really doesn't matter which one you choose. I've done both, and every now and then I break my cycle, and I will, you know, write a letter twice a month or twice in 1/4. It just depends on what's going on in your life. Um, you don't have to feel like you have to commit to a schedule like this, but if nothing else, you can say yearly. I'm going to write a letter to my friends and family, and that seems to go pretty well. I was writing quarterly when I was traveling a great deal, so my location was changing almost week to week, and a quarterly newsletter was a great way to share all of my adventures with my family and friends, especially those who were not very. Let's call it tech savvy or Internet savvy, right? I could have blogged about it, but writing letters s so I can include personal details that are only gonna be funny to me . And my family was fantastic. Now I've moved to kind of a yearly model where I just write a letter telling my friends and family what's happened in the year. It's typically a page long. Sometimes it's three and four pages. It just depends on how excited I am about what I'm writing. So you know, I don't feel any pressure. But all these letters and all these things start with a 10 minute jot down session. And in this little 10 minute jot down session, you're going to ask yourself the big writing questions. The who the what? The win in the wear? How will come later when you're actually writing. But while you're making this list, you might think I've done nothing with my year. I've done nothing at all, but that's not true. I'm sure you've done something crazy like, you know, maybe you watched all seasons of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix and decided you were gonna become a baker. You tried to bake that one time things went awry. And now you live in a giant cupcake. Who knows? I don't know what your life is like, but something cool has happened to you. I'm sure of it. So set the timer right down the first things that come into your mind and then just see what happens. Your friends and your family care about you. The people in your life care about about you, and they want to know what's going on. Don't be afraid to write down everything. This is just the list. You can edit out all the other stuff later, so make a list and see what happens. You go ahead and do that now and I'll meet you back when you're done. 3. Step Two: Okay, you've gotten your list together, and now it's time for even more list. So you're going to take a look at everything you've just written down in that last 10 minute session. Go ahead and set a timer. Don't hit the go button yet, but go ahead and set a time of her. 10 minutes. You're going to go through your list and make little notes about all the details you want to share about each item on the list. Anything that you remember that you think your friends and family would like to hear about , or anything that you would like to share with them with. If you want to hear about it or not, because you think it's funny and this is your letter. Every little part of your memory is going to be a piece of your story in a piece of your letter. So all you got to do now is set a timer for 10 minutes and have that again. A quick note before you go off and start to look at all of your ideas in detail. How did you become more accustomed to writing these letters? These 10 minute timers will turn into five minute timers, and sometimes they won't turn into timers at all. You'll just sit down and be able to draft your letter pretty quickly. But this is the practice that it takes to get into the habit of writing a letter and crafting a letter that people actually enjoy reading. So if you're thinking to yourself, I don't want to spend 20 minutes just thinking about what I'm gonna put into your letter. I get it. But you're actually spending hours thinking about what you're gonna put into your letter as you're walking around in life, thinking about what you want to put in there. This is actually going to save you a lot of time in the long run, especially if you have a lot of details you want to share. That won't all fit into one letter. So take the time and that start exercising your letter writing muscles. This will help you get through it, and you'll become an expert letter writer in no time. So when you're ready, set your timer and have at your list a little bit and I'll meet you in the in the next slide 4. Step Three: Now we're on to step three where you're going to evaluate and make decisions. So you've got your whole list. You got everything on there. You put some details in. Now you need to take a look at your list and decide if you're going to be writing about multiple happenings in your life, multiple situations, multiple trips, multiple dinners, whatever. Or if you have one particular story that you really want to share, that might take a little longer. And, of course, you can write more than one letter. So it's not like you've written all the stuff down for nothing. You've got this list for the next time you want to write a letter. Maybe you want to send a letter a week cause your life's madness. That's great. You could do that. Um, once you've decided, if you're going to write about everything on your list, just one item are just a two or three items. You need to put them in order and order. Convene beginning middle and end of the longer story. Or it can mean what happened first. What happened? Second, what happened? Third, especially if you're writing about multiple items on your list just a personal example. When I was traveling from Tennessee to Nevada and back by RV, when I told the story in my family newsletter, I had to put it in order of where I essentially parked every night, right or where I part weekly, Because I wanted to keep the tail in order because there were things that happened, events that linked all of the locations together, and it also it kept me on a timeline. So 1st 2nd and third corresponded with, you know, dates in the beginning, middle and end of something that happened with our RV. One of our slides got stuck. It was hilarious. But anyway, that's that's just in example. But like I said, you could do this with just one idea. If your if your telling just one single story that happened in one singular location, make sure you tell it beginning, middle and end so that the people you're talking to can understand everything that you're saying. Odds are you're going to be writing to varying age levels, especially if you're sitting this out to a large group of people. So make sure your stories clear and fun all at the same time again while you're deciding if you're writing multiple or single stories and while you're putting everything in order and then encourage you to set a timer And let me tell you why, If you've never taken a class of me before, these projects can get away from you, odds are you probably sat down to write a newsletter several times and couldn't think of anything to write. So you got up and said over it later, when I have something to write, Or maybe you've gotten through the list face before and you're like, I have all these different things to talk about and I don't know where to start, So I'm just gonna go take a walk. Taking a walk is great, but if you set a timer especially a short timer for 5 to 10 minutes, you can get pretty much everything done. So set that timer for 10 minutes. Put your story or stories in some kind of order, and I will see you in the next section. 5. Step Four: Okay, we are on to Step four, which is to write, which is the best part. So now that you've gotten your story or stories in some kind of order, you need to write about the first thing or the beginning part of your larger story until you've written it in completion. And I don't mean this story in completion. Just that one part. Once you've finished that part, you move on to the second. You may only need one sentence per part to make your letter B go, and that's fine. There are no hard fast rules. If your family newsletter needs to be short enough to fit on a postcard, you can write one small sentence per part, and everything will be fine and you will be done. If you're writing on a small piece of stationary, maybe 1 to 2 sentences would be fine. If you're typing, then you can type a much as you want. You can go on forever. Never doesn't matter. It's up to you. You want to do this until all of your parts of your story or stories are completely fleshed out. There's no word count demand. Your paragraphs don't have to be perfect. You were not publishing this in em. L A. So you can just right? It's a letter. The Onley rule is to make it clear so that people know what they're reading. That's it. So again we go back to the timer. 10 minutes might not be enough time for you. So set a timer for 10 minutes to start. If you aren't really sure if you have the discipline to sit down and write the letter once the timer goes off, If you're not finished, get up for about five minutes. Take a walk. Stretch gravis, Nat, do whatever. And then set another 10 minute timer. Until you've finished flushing out all parts of your story or stories. The next part is gonna be putting in the final details and that's almost the end. So you're almost there. Whenever you're ready, get started and I'll see you in the next section. 6. Step Five: Okay, we're almost there. Step five. Remember in the beginning, when I said we'd save the how for later. This is where the how comes in. We've done all of the really hard stuff. We've listed the ideas and the things that have happened to us throughout the year, the month, the quarter, whatever. We've put them in some kind of order. We've added small details, and we fleshed out our story a little bit, but now we're gonna go a little deeper. Now it's time to add smaller details to make your story a little bit fuller and more stimulating to your reader. And we do this by asking ourselves how How did this make you feel? How did the smell taste sound? Whatever. It's not cheesy to say something smelled of roses if it smelled of roses. It's not cheesy to add in that something tasted of dirt if it tasted of dirt, these little details make the reading experience pleasurable for everybody who's reading your story and you're writing your letter for yourself first. But the moment you mail your letter or send your letter, it's for other people. So, of course, write the story for yourself first, but remember, it's going to be in the hands of others as well. So you want to make it interesting and fun for them. So to do this next part, you're going to read over your letter, adding in little details that excites the senses and the imagination. At colors It sounded smells. And then we'll get to finalize. So again we set our timer. You could set your timer for as many times as you need to to finish your letter. But once we've done that will move on to the very last step of this whole thing. So let's get started on this section of making her letter Fuller. 7. Step Six - BOOM! DONE!: and it's time for your sixth and final step, which is finalizing. So to finalize your fancy new letter, you need to read over your letter just one more time to fix any typos. And just to make sure those stories clear, I highly recommend you read the story out loud. If you can, um, or if you're typing on a computer, you can have your computer reacher story back to you. I've always found that helpful. It does help you find any kind of bumps in the language of punctuation. Odds are you're going to have at least one person who is going to be reading this letter out loud to other people because that tends to be the way of things. When it comes to like family male, that's not a bill. And then, once you've done that, the only thing you have left to do is to put that letter in the mail or hit the send button and then you're done. And today all your a person that has a family and friends newsletter, it's really not that hard. It just takes a few minutes, a little guidance and a little bit of working some some muscles that maybe you haven't worked since you were in elementary school. But congratulations to you. Finish your newsletter. That's it. You're done. Boom. It's over. Pretty cool. So thank you so much for being here in this this free class. I hope you enjoyed it. Um, I know that a lot of this information was really basic and my other classes, I do share my screen with you so you can see me doing the things that I'm describing. But for something like this, I think often times we just need a checklist or some actionable steps so that we can get the job done nine times out of 10 people know what they want to put in the letter or they know how to write a letter. They just need a little bit of structure so that they could have freedom to explore their stories and ideas. And I hope that's what this class was for you. I hope this inspired you to write letters a little bit more frequently, write postcards a little bit more frequently and get in touch either the old fashioned way , with pen and paper or digitally with email. But this is just a really nice way to keep in touch with people. It makes people feel good to receive a letter. You can always send a newsletter on people's birthdays on your own birthday. You can do it at New Year's Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever, Any time of year is a good time to send a nice family letter. If you do send a family letter, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can keep up with me and everything I'm working on at Hello. This is barbara dot com. The URL is down there in the lower right hand corner, but it's pretty simple to remember. Hello, this is barbara dot com. That's my personal website and weblogs. So if you pop over there, you'll get to read about all kinds of things, not just writing, but also things like television every now and then, politics, science and sometimes just stupid things or pictures of my dog. If you do make a family newsletter and you want to share it with me, but you don't want to share it here on this platform, you can share it on Instagram. If you're on their, um, you can follow me at. Hello. This is Barbara. Pretty simple. So again, Thank you so much. I hope you write your letter. I hope you didn't just watch this through all the way one time and say, Oh, it's too simple. But you actually watched it through once and then watch it through a second time and actually took the actions and did things with stuff. Because that's how things get done. Yes, you are a writer. You are awesome. Everything you're doing is correct. Keep going. And I will see you all very soon in another class. Take care of you by. 8. 05/2020 Update & Check-in: Barbara and I just wanted to show you something that I've made for you. So if you're watching this, then you have made it to the end of one of my courses. So thank you so much for being here. I have directed you in this course a couple of times to visit. Hello. This is barbara dot com, which is my personal log, which is essentially my blog's version of sharing my lunch with you. It's just a place for me to dump all of my thoughts. Um, but I've had some interactions with some students, all positive, where they've asked about writing advice or they've asked for more writing worksheets or something like that, just spreading advice in general about the craft in the business of Friday. So what I have done is I have created Not now. I'm writing dot com to service you in this way, So if you will go to not now, I'm writing dot com. You'll see that it is exploring the craft of business of writing with author Be a Burgess, which is me. And there's a place where you can sign up for a weekly newsletter not required, but you certainly May I also have showcased some testimonials here. I'm gonna try to switch these up. These testimonials and reviews of the courses. They're not for me, though I do appreciate them very much, but they're for people who are thinking about writing a story. So every review you leave get someone a little bit closer to finally taking the steps to writing whatever it is that they want to write. So don't be afraid to leave a review. It's helpful to the people who are looking for class to help them write their stuff. But I'm not. Now I'm writing dot com. I'll show you these top. Well, let me show you these top few. Um, I have blogged posts such as this one and this one which provide downloadable Pdf. So So some of you have asked me to make a 32 page picture book book map like the one that I show in my how to write a Children's book course. I have done that, Um, and even though you can obviously just number a piece of paper 1 to 32 I know how valuable it is to have something visual that you can look at a little guide to help you while you're writing, and this is what I've made for you. So once you scroll down to the bottom of this block post, there will be a download your pdf's here button. Once you click on that, all you have to do is download this five page pdf that includes two different versions of the Children's book map. So every Wednesday there will be a worksheet or a booklet like this that comes out. I'm not. Now I'm writing dot com, so worksheet Wednesday is what you want to look for. It is a tag that I'm using on Instagram. I think I'm using it here as well. Pardon me on Fridays. Um, I'm doing flash fiction Friday, so there will be a prompt so that you can have a reason to sit down and bang out about, you know, 500 to 1500 words. Ah, home. But these little prompts air here for you. You can use those. You can download my flash fiction e book that I wrote for Mother's Day licorice in the time of Cove in 19 if you're interested. But there are all kinds of fun things here I do hope that you decided to come over to the site and see what it's all about. And yes, OK, I think that's all of it. So just to reiterate, not now. I'm writing dot com. It's a place for all the writing, all the writing. Hello, This is barbara dot com is a personal log, and I'd still love to have you there. And if you're interested in checking out my small press, you can do that by going to pilgrim foul press dot com. And that is all I have for you today. Take care of you happy writing, and I hope to see you all in another course very soon.