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If dinner conversations can change the world

Social media is abuzz with prevailing issues. How to provide platforms for underrepresented voices. How to protect those speaking out against injustice. How to tip scales and create balanced systems of power.

Maybe it’s overwhelming to expect or look for answers. Maybe the best we can do is focus on finding solutions through awareness. From awareness comes discussion.

If people aren’t encouraged to tell their stories for fear of retribution or alienation or ostracism, how can we fight for change? If derogatory names are spat freely, if media remains unmonitored and unchecked, how will anyone find the people they need — those to assemble, those who create, those who listen.

One day, legislative change. For today, maybe it starts with a conversation at dinner.

The focus of your narrative

We all tell stories; about ourselves, about others, about our businesses, about our relationships, about our work. The focus of these stories reinforce our behavior and help create our future.
What are the stories you tell about the world around you? About your successes? About your failures?
Remember: We have the ability to direct our concentration and focus.
Outline the stories you want to tell. What narratives do you need to change?

Ask yourself these two questions before writing marketing material

1. Who are you writing for? [audience]

Think about the audience you wish to target. What do they want? What do they need? What makes them care? What do you want them to do? What happens if they don’t do anything?

Know who you are writing for and tailor your messages accordingly.

2. What is your purpose? [aim]

To inform
To convince
To persuade
To propose
To invite
To ask
To confirm
To approve
To deny

Only after you have identified your audience and your aim can you produce writing that is clear, efficient, and results in desired outcomes.

What if nobody knows?

What if nobody knows you’re the one who dropped the ball?
What if nobody learns about the mistake you made?
What if nobody finds the great work that you’re doing?
What if nobody compliments you?
What if nobody knows you failed?
What if nobody clicks “like” or responds to your email or answers your call?
What if nobody sees the progress you’ve made?
What if nobody buys your product?
What if nobody recognizes your worth?
Would you switch your goals? Would you make different decisions? Would your behavior change?
You’re the one person who knows all of your mistakes, all of your successes, all of your growth and progress and milestones.
Remember whose opinion matters most.

Let’s go to an art residency for one hour, every day

Writing residencies spoil people.

I just finished one month completely devoted to artistic creation. The schedule was up to me, when I wanted to work, for how long and on what. I was surrounded by other energetic artists who were on their own programs — some stayed up all night holed up in their studios, others spent afternoons baking cakes and cookies in the communal kitchen. I could go for long walks in the morning or take a yoga class at night. Aside from a weekly group check-in, the agenda was totally up to me.

The setting was magical (Woodstock, NY) and buildings historic (founded in 1902), but the greatest gift was time. I was taken from my day-to-day responsibilities and placed in an entirely new environment. My sole aim: To focus on the creative pursuit of my choosing.

It was luxurious.

And I realize, not entirely practical.

Two days before the residency ended, I panicked. How am I going to finish what I started? I am going back into the “real world” where tasks and duties and meetings and schedules and a full email inbox await. I understand residencies are temporal and intermittent and not everyone can take a month out of their life to do art.

A fellow writer at the residency had a invaluable answer I want to share with you.

One hour.

One hour a day, she said, whenever it suits you. In the morning, in the evening, in the late afternoon. Set a timer and write. No more, no less. One hour. When that alarm goes off, you turn off, put the pen down, close the computer and walk away.

I can do that, I think. And so can you.

For this next month, let’s commit one hour every day to focus on our goals. To create. To write. To do the work, whatever that means to you.

Note: I’m not saying a finished piece in thirty days. We’re only holding each other accountable for clocking in time. Sixty daily uninterrupted minutes. We’re creating our own artist residency together, and it doesn’t require travel or communal living or time off from work/school/family.

Let’s do this. Tweet me, message me, let me know what you’re working on.