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Be intentional

read + write
good to see you.
This week, we have reading recommendations, inspiration, and writing advice from Riley Yesno and Troy Onyango. We’ll also hear from Adam Morgan, who writes The Frontlist. Finally, we’ve got some tips on how to measure success with your newsletter.
read + recommendations
Each week, a writer will join us to answer some questions about what they like to read.
Our first guest is Riley Yesno. Riley is a writer, researcher, and public speaker from Eabametoong First Nation. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s, and others. The first episode of the podcast she hosts, REDsurgence, will drop soon.
📸: Riley Yesno
📸: Riley Yesno
What’s the thing you’ve bookmarked, you know you need to read, and are excited to read?
This article, specifically. I have a couple of others saved too related to mutual aid and crowd-funding. I am really invested in the ways communities care for each other outside of formal institutions. It feeds a larger belief I have that it’s the genius and generosity of our communities that sustain us more than anything.
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
Oh gosh. This one’s hard — there are just so many authors coming up for me. Honestly, it’s always poetry — Leanne Simpson, Beth Cuthand, Billy-Ray Belcourt. It might sound strange that I choose poetry. I have never published any of it myself. 
Poets just have a way of hitting me right in the chest like no one else does. I want my writing to make people feel like that.  
You’re at the newsstand and have decided you’re leaving with four magazines. What are you picking up? (from any era, be as oddly specific as possible).
I love everything GUTS and Briarpatch do so I’d pick up any of their issues. I’d also grab an issue of Jarry — the magazine at the intersection of queerness and cooking; and lastly, a copy of the Walleye arts and culture mag from Thunder Bay, ON — where I grew up. 
What’s the thing you read when you need to feel something?
Old text messages and letters from people I love.
What newsletters have you continued to happily subscribe to?
I am subscribed to a bunch of newsletters from local tattoo artists — you got to snag their openings quickly! I am also happy to be subscribed to The Breach’s newsletter for their always-solid takes on the politics of the day.
What’s the first book you remember reading and loving?
Anne of Green Gables when I was like 13. It was my mother’s collection — she gushed about being in love with it when she was my age. More than the story itself, I loved being able to read it and ask her what she thought of certain characters and moments.
 What’s the best thing you’ve read this month?
Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A quick read but an impactful one. Some of the lines she has in there are so powerful. It’s not looking to provide revelatory insights or hot takes, it’s all feeling. I think everyone needs more of that.
newsletter time
Every other week, we’ll include a new Revue newsletter (new = under 60 days or five or fewer issues). 
The Frontlist
Adam moved his newsletter to Revue in December 2021. We asked Adam: In 280 characters or less, what’s your advice for anyone planning on starting a newsletter?
Be really clear about what value your newsletter will deliver to subscribers, and make sure to incorporate that value proposition into your branding, your subscription page, your subject lines, and every issue. Establish a hook, fill a need, and keep readers coming back for more.
write + inspiration
Each week, a writer will join us to answer some questions and give their perspective on writing.
Our second guest is Troy Onyango. Troy is an award-winning writer and editor from Kisumu, Kenya. His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Doek!, Wasafiri and Transition among others. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lolwe, and his collection of short stories For What Are Butterflies Without Their Wings is forthcoming in late 2022.
📸: Mark Mock
📸: Mark Mock
What’s a piece of writing advice that’s held true for you?
The one piece of writing advice that I have received so often and I stay true to every time is “Read. Read. Write. Repeat.” The emphasis on the reading is something I find very important for any writer.
What’s the thing you read when you want to remember how to write?
When looking for writing inspiration, I always walk to my shelf and pull out any book that I have read before and loved, and I open a random page and read through just to get a feel of the language. Often, I go for something that’s very descriptive or a book that, for me, works to push the boundaries of the English language like a novel by Toni Morrison or Arundhati Roy.
What’s a writing strategy you’ve developed that’s worked for you?
I always begin my work with a title. It helps me get the sense of the story being something already. It’s a kind of manifestation, in that by naming the story, I will it to be. The title may change during the writing of the story or after I finish writing it, but I always have the title.
Another strategy I find myself using in my recent stories is to take away a crucial element of the story and challenge myself to write without that element. For example, I will try and write a story without mentioning the age or gender of a character while making that aspect very crucial to the story. That puts me in a position to actually work hard during the writing and makes the writing process exciting for me.
What do you do with all the writing ideas that pop into your head? Where do they go?
I have a Google Drive folder where everything gets dumped. Often, I find use for them in a different story and merge them into one. Everything is useful and so I am never quick to delete or discard drafts of stories or ideas that didn’t come to fruition. I keep everything and find a way to make them fit into another short story.
As a writer, how do you stay curious or keep yourself curious?
I think reading is the easiest and the best way, but also moving through the world with an open mind and open ears. I listen to conversations, I watch people, I travel and interact with different cultures, and all that keeps me asking questions that I then try to answer through my writing. 
Who do you think really knows how to do an email newsletter?
How would you describe your relationship with your readers? (especially if it’s evolved)
My readers are the most generous people I know. They engage with my work in a way that makes me want to always keep writing. I receive emails and DMs from them and that kind of feedback is always validating to me as a writer. I am glad my stories have resonated with people who live in places that I’ve never been to and that people can see themselves in my work. For that, I am forever grateful.
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed enough) for a writer trying to improve in 2022?
I’d say “be intentional”. I think for a writer starting out this can be very difficult but knowing what you want to write and why you want to write it and how you want to write it sharpens your craft in a way that takes your writing to a whole new level. Asking yourself the difficult questions during the writing process helps you narrow down and be very specific to what you want a story to be.
Each week, in addition to hearing from writers, we’ll also give an update about what we’re doing for readers and writers at Twitter.
This week, we’ve searched the archive to find advice on how to measure success with your newsletter.
wrap up
Thanks for being here today. As always, you can reach us at @revue.
See you next time,
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Anna from Twitter
Anna from Twitter @revue

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