Posts in career
The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Book Club at Work (+FREE Checklist)

Starting a book club sounds like a simple endeavor. The rules are simple: choose a book, pour wine, and talk about it, right? But if you’re planning to manage an office book club, there are a few more considerations (like looping in human resources!).

I’ve started three book clubs over the years, but I chaired this post the longest while working at a family foundation who supported humanitarian work in developing countries. During my first week, I asked the HR manager if there was a book club, and when she shook her head, I asked if I could start one. She thought it was a great idea, so I chose a book and sent an email around to the other 15 employees to see who might be interested. By the time I left more than five years later, the book club was still running, and our staff had tripled in size.

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Why You Should Conduct a Writing Annual Review (+FREE Workbook!)

In the corporate worldwhere goals, benchmarks, and achievements are highly valuedan annual review is one step in helping align our own ambition with our company's broader mission. It's typically led by the human resources department, and ideally, you sit with your manager to have a productive and reflective conversation about the year ahead.

As a writer, you're in charge of your own growth.

No one sets up meetings or looks out for your professional development, and it's up to each of us to manage our goals and expectations. This is one step towards professionalizing your writing practice, something I discuss a lot in the Write Where You Are course. The problem is, we rarely sit down to really think about how we're feeling creatively. 

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7 Supportive Facebook Groups for Writers

Social media often conjures up feelings of inadequacy, urgency, and anxiety. Everyone else’s living room is more beautiful than yours (based on Instagram). There are more cat videos than you can possibly devote your time to (according to your Facebook feed). And you create boards for vacations you won’t take for years (thank you, Pinterest).

For writers, social media provides an additional dilemma to grapple with: distraction.

Twitter feeds draw us into conversations, some valuable, some not. RSS feeds pull us into reading blog posts when we should be writing our own. Pinterest offers inspirational quotes to stick on our mirrors, but can’t do the work for us.

It’s a fact of the modern writer’s life that social media makes us procrastinate.

But when you’re intentional with your social media consumption and strategically participate in conversations where you can both be of service to others as well as find support for your own projects, everything changes.

As my friend Kasey Fleisher Hickey notes, “the key to using Facebook with intention is Groups, Pages, managing your settings, and unfollowing when you see no value add.”

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How to Use a Rejection Letter to Empower You

I took a creative writing workshop my sophomore year of college on the topic of publishing. Fifteen eager undergraduates arrived with notebooks and pens, ready to learn exactly what it would take to see our names in print.

My professor pulled out a thick manila folder and set it out on the table. “I brought you all of my rejection slips,” she said, and proceeded to pass them around the room. Some papers were small and hand cut, where an editor would print four rejection forms to a page to save paper. Some were printed on extra thick blue or yellow paper. Some were handwritten and rather thoughtful. Others simply read:Thank you for your submission. Your work is not a good fit at this time.

As it turns out, rejection is an inevitable part of publishing, and of life.

Even our well-respected, widely-published professor had a large amount of rejection slips saved in her drawer, and these weren’t even the entire lot. Although we discussed cover letters, researched literary magazines, and debated the merits of having an agent, what we really spent the quarter learning about was confidence.

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Why You Should Call Yourself a Writer (Even If You Don't Feel Like One)

I started doing yoga for one reason: my back hurt.

Wait, isn’t this a post about writing?

Yes, it is. Stick with me.

My back hurt because I was spending nearly two hours in the car every day commuting [link to commuting post]. What began as an experiment to see if this working arrangement might be tolerable gradually turned into chronic stress that manifested in several ways, including lower back pain.

Once I realized something needed to change, yoga seemed like a viable solution. It would help me unwind after a long day, stretch my body, and ease my mind.

Yoga soon became my exercise routine, self-care practice, and stress reliever. On Tuesdays and Thursdays—the night’s of my local class—I looked forward to yoga on my drive home (especially on the days when I was sitting in traffic and trying to distract myself with NPR or Adele’s latest single).

At the beginning though, I felt like my body didn’t get it. Mentally, I was there. Well, mostly there. I emptied my mind as best I could and focused on my breathing, but a consistent yoga practice makes you do something that might be really uncomfortable at first.

It changes your posture. 

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3 Ways Commuting Can Enhance your Creativity

I once spent a stretch of my career commuting two hours round trip, often sitting in traffic on the afternoon drive, lamenting the lost hours I could have been writing. 

It made me angry, cranky, and tired, mostly.  

I was frustrated for months before I decided to do something about it. Isn't that usually the way it goes? We reach the end of our rope, and finally decide to use our strength to climb back up.

This was my turning point, because once I shifted my outlook, everything changed.

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