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Amy Shearn
Content Lead for Writing @ Medium // Editor of Human Parts & Creators Hub // Novels: Unseen City; The Mermaid of Brooklyn; How Far Is The Ocean From Here

Oh, hi! Here is a long term project I’ve been working on about long term projects:

And here are some regular old blog posts about being a person in the world:

Broken, Lost, Tossed, Found
All Hail Emily Dickinson, the Quarantine Queen
Pandemic Parenting: A Hair Story
In Praise of Terrible Dresses
Everything is Made Up Anyway

And: Profile header lettering by the wonderful Sam Zabell ❤️


Kelly Corrigan, bestselling author, television, and podcast host, on how to find your audience and make work that matters

Illustration: Save As/Medium; source: Unsplash

Kelly Corrigan is a force of nature — a New York Times bestselling author, a podcaster, a PBS television host, and a prolific Medium creator. She knows, among other things, how to have a great conversation. Recently, she had some illuminating conversations on her podcast about the topics of generation gaps and love with great writers and thinkers including Tressie McMillan Cottom, Nir Eyal, Manoush Zomorodi, Will Leitch, Sarah Stankorb, Susan Orlean, Michael Thompson, Julio Vincent Gambuto, and many more.

We wanted to know how she does it all, what makes for a great conversation, and how a creator can…


I think I figured out why I love sea glass

Photo by Pete Godfrey on Unsplash

Come summertime I find myself, not a beach person, frequently at beaches. I don’t do well in the sun, and as a mother of a certain age I have the usual objections to being in public in what is essentially elastic underwear. But when you’re an apartment-dwelling parent you spend summers on the lookout for spaces in which your children can run around and scream, and on the East Coast the beach is a solid option. And thus I’ve rediscovered a long-lost love of mine: collecting sea glass.

When I was growing up I loved finding beach glass, worn to…


Or at least write a pretty good one

Photo: Krit of Studio OMG/Getty Images

It’s officially Hot Word Summer around here — right? can we get that going? no? hm — what with our Summer Creator Workshops, The Medium Writers Challenge, and the ongoing Write Here prompts.

Somehow I feel like I’ve been through a lot in the past pandemic-and-a-half. And writing is how I process things — as E.M. Forster put it: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” If that’s true of you too, then all the better reason to write here, right now.

But what about when just writing-as-therapy isn’t quite enough, and you’re ready…


Five steps to creating a meaningful personal narrative

My colleague Harris Sockel and I recently facilitated a workshop about essay writing as part of Medium’s Creator Workshop Series, and we wanted to share some of the takeaways here. (The workshop was recorded, too — you can watch it here, and we’re embedding it below.) As editors at Human Parts and other publications, we’ve read (and edited) (and written!) a lot of personal essays. Here are some things we think are useful to keep in mind when crafting a work of creative nonfiction.

Of course, you probably aren’t actually going to go through these step-by-step — and almost certainly…


Susan Orlean’s top tips for beating writer’s block and accessing the infinite well of creativity

Image: Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images

People romanticize the writing life, but it’s not all launch parties and castles in Scotland. As anyone who’s ever actually tried to write a thing knows, it’s a whole lot of hard work to even just finish a, say, Medium post. So how are we to shake off our self-doubt, get unblocked, and tap into our creativity?

Susan Orlean is the award-winning author of eight books including The Orchid Thief, a staff writer for the New Yorker, and a frequent Medium writer. I was so happy to sit down with her recently for a chat about writing and creativity for…


THE LONG HAUL

Walt Whitman worked on ‘Leaves of Grass’ for four decades. Do poets have a unique relationship with patience, perhaps?

“Self-reliant, with haughty eyes, assuming to himself all the attributes of his country, steps Walt Whitman into literature” -Walt Whitman on Walt Whitman

In 1850, Walt Whitman started writing Leaves of Grass, a sprawling work of free-verse poetry that he would keep working on until he died, 42 years later.

As I write this I’m inching towards 42 and just last night my son said to me, cheerfully, “You’re probably about halfway through your life, huh?” I thought about all the life I’ve lived in 41-and-a-half years and how honestly really a lot has happened — I mean, I started as a baby — and all the things I might do and write in the next 42 years.


Will Leitch, author of the novel ‘How Lucky,’ on balancing writing with parenthood (and everything else)

GIF illustration: Save As / Medium, Source: Getty Images

It’s a common concern among parents who are writers or want to write: how to find the time, and maybe more crucially, how to make the time when so many other things vie for your attention. But as Will Leitch puts it, “If I don’t write, I’ll be of no use to anyone, just like my wife would be miserable if she weren’t working at the job that she loves. We want everyone in this house to be happy.”

Will Leitch is a father who writes multiple pieces a week on Medium (follow him, why don’t you!), founded Deadspin, has…


HUB TALK

Medium writers share their Covid writing journeys

Photo: Tara Moore / Getty Images

In our latest Hub Talk, we asked “How has the pandemic affected your writing?” In the responses, a common thread surfaced — for many, this time has been a surprising conduit for creativity. Despite all the constraints of our quieter lives, many writers have uncovered some pretty profound lessons about creativity — along with ingenious tricks for staying focused.

Here’s a few highlights. If you have something to share, add it to the responses of the discussion here!

1. Break big projects up into smaller bites

March 2021: I finally revisit my immature book from a different angle — write articles, share them on the internet to help…


Tips for staying focused on your creative work, from ‘Indistractable’ author Nir Eyal

Photo: francescoch/Getty Images

In these very working-from-home times, distraction seems to have reached epidemic levels. “I want to focus on that big project at work, but my attention keeps getting siphoned away into smaller but more urgent tasks,” said a colleague of mine who is actually me. Whoops.

Luckily, Nir Eyal, the bestselling author of the book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, shared his best advice on staying “indistractable” in a recent interview as part of the Medium in Conversation interview series.

Eyal has tons of great advice on the subject (which he often blogs about here…

Amy Shearn

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