23rd Edition: How to lean in, Unleash the writer within & Choose wonder over worry
Thanks for being here
Hey everyone, hope you’re having a wonder-full week
I say that with a grain of salt as we wrestle with alternate universes.
We’re trying to support Ukraine, while carrying on with our daily lives. It’s hard to reconcile the two realities. So if you’re struggling to do so, know that you’re not alone.
I was having dinner with my parents on Thursday, when my mom said something that gave me pause.
“Imagine parents with kids like Kathryn.”
My sister got really sick when she was 12. She lost a ton of weight, and then one day she fainted, broke a record for the highest blood sugar our doctor had ever seen, and an ambulance ride later, she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (also known as Type 1 diabetes).
Most people confuse Type 1 with Type 2, and have the misconceptions it’s triggered by unhealthy eating, and that Type 1 diabetics can’t eat sugar—both are eye-roll triggers for me.
📹 Here’s a 1-minute rundown from 8-year-old Graham to set the record straight:
When I think about my sister getting sick, I remember how scared we all were. No one knew what was happening. But thankfully, we had access to healthcare and support from loved ones—hell, one of my aunts was at the hospital so fast, she beat the ambulance.
My heart breaks when I think of people in Ukraine caring for sick children amidst what’s happening. I’m at a loss for what to say, so I’ll just say this: donations are the lifeblood of our humanitarian efforts. The smallest contribution can have a huge impact taken with others.
Here are some causes you can support (though I recommend doing your own research):
🏥 Ukrainian Red Cross (You can become a monthly donor like I have)
May we continue to support Ukrainians until they’re peacefully home. 💙💛
Now, here are three gems I want to share with you:
An experience to inspire: Write of Passage mentoring
When I took Write of Passage last year, I was blown away by the org team.
On top of instructing and operations, the team “got in the trenches” alongside students to publish weekly assignments. That made me admire them even more.
It’s one reason I’m working hard to crank out each assignment as a mentor for the current cohort—the other is I love writing, and can’t pass up feedback from such an incredible community.
As proof I’m doing the work, you can read my first assignment—3 things I wish someone had told me at the start of my career—on my site.
💞 Challenge: How can you boost momentum by leaning into challenges alongside your students?
A resource to consider: My starter writing cheat sheet
I ran my first mentor session for Write of Passage a couple of weeks ago.
45 students joined to:
💯 Bust self-limiting beliefs by reframing insecurities as strengths
✍️ Write "shitty first drafts" to get our creative juices flowing
🎙️ Define how emulating other writers helps us find our voice
Here are the takeaways with links for more info:
💯 How can we bust self-limiting beliefs?
Think like a designer. When something isn't working, reframe it by coming at it from a new perspective. Source: Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. Wes Kao has a similar approach to product design.
Think about how this applies to writing, then reframe your insecurities as strengths. Example:
Insecurity: I'm not a professional writer so people won't like what I write.
Reframe: I'm not a professional writer so I don't need to put pressure on myself. I can experiment and have fun.
✍️ How can we get our creative juices flowing?
Write a "shitty first draft" you can iterate on. The faster you get out of your head and onto the page, the sooner your piece will take shape. Source: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write a shitty first draft of what you're working on. Go FAST and write as much as you can. Don’t question what comes to mind, just get it down. And don’t use backspace. You'll be surprised at the breakthroughs you have.
🎙️ How can we emulate other writers to find our voice?
It's hard to find our writing voice. It helps to pick writers we admire and imitate them. We’re bound to be somewhat off, but what emerges is our voice. Source: Imitate, Then Innovate by David Perell.
The best warm up exercise to nail your voice off the bat is one Shaan Puri shared in his Power Writing course: write out several paragraphs of a piece you're trying to imitate, and then shift into your piece.
Here’s an example of how I’ve used this (taken from a student worksheet):
I hope these tips help you on your writing journey as much as they've helped me.
📖 Resource: You can download the worksheet to bust your self-limiting beliefs, or do the same with your students.
A question to ponder: Worries into wonders
Taking up a new hobby or activity is how we develop new skills. But we tend to get intimidated by the thought of leaving our comfort zones.
We worry we’ll be bad at something, or won’t get the results we hoped for. We worry about wasting time and money, only to find out something doesn’t fulfill us.
Most of the time, we worry unnecessarily. We can’t predict how things will turn out, so we’re better off turning worries into wonders, and imagining the possibilities.
💭 Question: What worries can you turn into wonders as you gear up to leave your comfort zone?
Thanks for reading my 23rd newsletter
We’re now 111 people within this vibrant community. And my goal is to nurture the art of reflection amongst us.
I’d love your feedback on how I can make future editions beneficial. So if you have an idea or burning question I could address, hit reply and we’re off.
Have a wonder-full week,