I Cheat at Improv

cheat

I’ve recently learned (and recently introduced my students to) a new improv concept—when you’re on stage, you can really only do one of two things: copy or complement.  Improvisers are naturally drawn to that latter function, complementing. If their scene partner initiates as a drunken, disgruntled pilot, they’ll respond as a young, bright-eyed trainee, intentionally playing up the contrast. It’s … Read More

What Have You Done in the Last Five Years?

five years

In 2012, President Obama had not yet been elected to a second term. The U.S. had just won the London Summer Olympics. No one knew Edward Snowden’s name. And I was still in college…well, technically, I was on a leave of absence from school interning full time at an advertising startup (that would go under a few months later). Back … Read More

How To Resist Temptation and Get It All Done

temptation bundling

In my junior year of high school, I joined the cross country team.  Unfortunately, the simple act of signing up did not magically make me a runner. But that was alright. I didn’t really join the team to become a runner anyway. I joined the team to make friends and get out of the house. My best friend from middle … Read More

If You Can’t Embrace Uncertainty, Manage It

uncertainty

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was FaceTiming my parents from Montreal to tell them I’d gotten engaged (it was…), but already, my fiancé and I are buried in wedding prep. Venues, DJs, caterers, photographers…on it goes. Every day, a new quote lands in my inbox—five hundred dollars for four hours of this, twenty five dollars per … Read More

I Got Engaged! Here’s How My Future-Wife Subtly Changed My Life.

engagement

Last week, I wrote about the “maker/manager schedule,” the idea that “managers” fill free hours while makers need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get lost in their creative work. For me, Saturday mornings are that time. And my fiancé, Julia, makes it easy to stick to my maker schedule because she spends that time at craft fairs…(not that she’d … Read More

Why You Should Think About Your Schedule in Batches not Blocks

batching your schedule

Photo by Luke Palmer on Unsplash Photo by Luke Palmer on Unsplash Saturday is my favorite day of the week. Well, not all of Saturday…more like Saturday morning from 8 AM to noon. Each week, I eagerly anticipate that time block because it’s four hours of guaranteed, uninterrupted time to work on my projects (like this blog). And when I … Read More

Why Too Much of a Good Thing is No Good

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, this newsletter has—once again—become a weekly affair. Hopefully, you see that as a welcome change.  In part, I’ve switched back because I’m finding this new format easier and more fun to write. But there is another reason; a few weeks ago, I got an email from a newer reader. In it, he said, “I don’t think … Read More

How to Be Authentic in Everything You Do

be authentic

There’s something in the air. Maybe it’s summer giving way to fall. Maybe it’s school supply season. Or maybe it’s some creativity-inducing virus or bug. Whatever it is, everyone seems to be writing again. And everyone seems to want to be authentic. In the past two weeks alone, I’ve had two friends restart their newsletters. Now, they’re back. But their … Read More

Don’t Waste My Time. Be Brief.

a brief letter

In my high-school Spanish class, the teacher assigned us weekly homework. Each student was to write a fifty-word essay using at least five vocabulary words we’d just learned. I realize fifty words doesn’t sound like much (it wasn’t), but on that first week of my freshman year, I wasn’t sure I even knew fifty words in Spanish. Once I actually … Read More

On Puzzles

puzzle

“You start out thinking, ‘You know the nice thing about paper is I can do whatever with it,’ but the irony becomes, ‘Yeah, but I don’t want to screw up this pretty notebook that I kind of don’t deserve.’” (source)Merlin Mann Starting a new project (in this case, I’m specifically talking about a piece of writing) is awful. You have … Read More