can you turn that annual family newsletter into a gift that friends and
family will want to read? Here are a few suggestions:
Make it a family affair.
everyone sit down at the kitchen table on a blustery Saturday afternoon,
provide plenty of popcorn and hot chocolate, then brainstorm topics for
the newsletter. Write down everything and anything that everyone suggests;
you can hone those ideas later.
Make this a fun, creative way to find content for your newsletter. Some
of the more obvious events might include:
2. If possible, try to discern an overall
theme for your newsletter, based on the events that filled your year. (For
example, "a year of changes," or "a year of additions—to
family and home.")
3. After you have finalized the overall theme
and article topics, assign each person a job. Depending on your
family size, one or two people can write articles, another can edit them,
another person might do the layout and another might search for photos and
graphics to go along with the articles. (If your family is small, you will
obviously have to double up on the responsibilities, but that’s part of
the fun of teamwork!)
4. Set a final deadline based on the date you
would like to drop the newsletter in the mail. Then work
backwards from that deadline to set smaller goals, such as when to have
all the writing done, all the editing done, and the layout completed.
When writing articles, remember these
1. Write conversationally, as if
you were having a one-to-one verbal conversation with the reader.
2. Strike a balance between writing too much
and writing too little. Try to retain the facts that will most
interest the readers; delete those facts that will elicit yawns and moans!
3. Be careful not to boast! State
the facts and then move on. Don’t elaborate too much on how little
Johnny won every possible award in this year’s music contest! Better
yet, have your child write a little bit about their accomplishments. (Most
children write in an unsophisticated, humble manner.)
4. Include humor! Don’t be afraid
to laugh a little bit at yourself!
5. Instead of just stating facts, talk about
your feelings or experiences. For example, instead of just
stating that you spent a week at the ocean this summer, talk about how
wonderful the cool ocean breezes felt on your face when you walked on the
6. Keep the author’s voice consistent. Use
either "we" for the entire family or "I" throughout
the newsletter. (If you use "I," give a byline to the writer so
the reader knows who is ‘talking’ to them.)
When it comes to laying out the newsletter,
keep these tips in mind:
1. Use a lot of white space around copy. White
space makes it easier for the eye to focus on the words in your story.
2. Create more interest with photos and
graphics. The reader’s eye always goes to the graphics/photos
first and then to the article to ‘fill in’ the details left out of the
3. Try to use no more than two typestyles
throughout the whole publication.
When you’re all done, have the newsletter photocopied (or produce it
on your inkjet printer). Be sure to save a copy for your scrapbook. You
will enjoy reading it again when the next holiday season rolls around!