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Amy Shearn
Topic Lead for Writing @ Medium // Editor of Human Parts // 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:

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 ❤️

🌱 Today’s tip: Fake a “reset” with a haircut or room re-do

In many parts of the world, people are getting vaccinated, things are opening up, and plans are reappearing on calendars as rapidly as they disappeared last spring. But what if you aren’t sure if you’re ready for reentry? Research suggests that you can trick your brain into registering “temporal landmarks” that motivate behavior changes — the way spring, or a new school year, can make you feel like making a fresh start. Force a “fresh start” feeling by making one tangible change.

“Even simple changes like getting a…

🏡 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, what would you do if it was your first day here?

Do you ever look around your life and feel sort of deeply, existentially meh about it all? You’d be forgiven for feeling this way, especially if you’ve been in the same place with the same people for over a year now.

Ross McCammon writes in Forge about a time when his children were bored, and he presented them with a mental challenge: “Pretend this is the first time you’ve ever been to this house. This is an Airbnb now, and you just walked in…


Photo: Yannick Pulver/Unsplash

I’m going to admit something very annoying here: I’ve gotten a lot of writing done over the past year. Yes, I write as part of my job, but I mean my outside-of-job writing — fiction and essays. The quieting of New York City, the decrease of weekend options, the difficulty of social interactions, and the constant reminders that life is short so we’d better live our values now — somehow, it’s worked for me. (Don’t worry, I accidentally murdered my sourdough starter and I still can’t run a mile; it’s not like I’m doing universally well.)

But I know many…

🐱 Today’s tip: Make time for play.

You make time to work, and probably you make time for your Important Hobbies with Tangible Results (quarantine macrame, anyone?) But what about just regular old pointless play? Ruth Terry writes on Medium about how in pandemic times, she’s learned life lessons from her cats, including the importance of play. As Terry puts it, all work and no play can lead to “depressive boredom, a ‘mix of lethargy and agitation and restlessness,’ that studies show can have negative mental health effects.” That’s why it’s actually important to play like cats do, “with no…

💭 Today’s tip: Find your 3Cs.

In Forge’s new five-day course, What Should You Really Be Doing With Your Life?, Felicia C. Sullivan shares a brand-building approach to help you ignite your purpose at work: “Taking inventory of your professional assets and achievements is like searching for a favorite sweater buried at the bottom of your closet…the things you love have always been right here.”

Use Sullivan’s worksheet to help you define your 3Cs: your company (you), your customer (your client or boss), and your competition (your peers or co-workers). “This exercise is about more than pulling out your résumé…

📋 Today’s tip: Fill in the blanks to figure out your focus.

In Forge’s new five-day course, What Should You Really Be Doing With Your Life?, Felicia C. Sullivan suggests a thought exercise to help identify your purpose at work. Try defining your purpose in a simple sentence: I seek to ______________ (your contribution) so that _________________ (impact).

As Sullivan puts it, “Your ‘why’ keeps you focused and helps you evaluate roles and opportunities to determine if they’re speaking to your core.” …

🗓️ Today’s tip: Balance your time with a “one for them, one for me” approach.

In Forge’s new five-day course, What Should You Really Be Doing With Your Life?, Felicia C. Sullivan offers lots of great, actionable tips that can help you find your focus and live the life you want. Sometimes, she reminds us, living the life you want has a lot to do with managing where you spend your time.

Sullivan shares a tip from brand designer and illustrator Krista Elvey: The struggle between chasing your wildest, weirdest creative impulses and paying your bills is very real. So…

📱 Today’s tip: Send a quick check-in text to a friend you miss.

In general, the pandemic has not been great for friendships. Allie Volpe writes in Forge, “when we fail to see and even keep in touch with our connections, they can fray.” But, Volpe suggests, “instead of mourning relationships I’m not even sure I’ve lost, I’ll do little things to remind myself of the opposite, like send a quick check-in text. Even if I don’t get a reply at first, inevitably, it does come.”

Text someone you’ve been missing, and think of the text exchange as a place…

📖 Today’s tip: Curl up with a good novel.

Good things happen in your brain when you read. “Many of us turn to self-help books for personal development and for good reason,” Ashley Abramson writes on Forge, “but if you want to actually practice becoming a better human, the immersive emotional roller coaster of a novel can be just as effective.” Reading fiction gives your brain the kind of workout it needs to stay healthy: Research has shown reading can make you more emotionally intelligent and empathetic, and can shape the way you perceive and engage with reality. …

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