For Real This Time...

First Things First

Having spent 10+ years on Twitter, 15+ years on Facebook (and MySpace, and Black Planet, and Dallas Peeps, and Xanga, and...), and after frequently and ruthlessly curating my online experience - I realized that despite my best efforts, the quality of my time online was getting worse and worse. Taking into consideration all that we know of 2021 - surviving a pandemic, the continued decline of our nation, and the hell pit that is our news cycle - I still feel like one of the things that impact me most (through volume and persistence) is the constant onslaught of people sharing, in great detail, the things they don’t like. I could spend all day explaining how that’s affected me and the way digital media has evolved to amplify, reward and re-circulate negative content, but you’ve likely also experienced this first hand.

In an effort to reshape my experience online, invest in more positive digital community building, and in my continued pursuit of a consistent writing practice, I’m going to be sharing the things that I like, love, and absolutely adore, right here with you. Which is to say, me, because not many people read this yet. I’m not going to tell you how frequently because I’ve proven to myself that that kind of accountability from me doesn’t work for me, but I also can’t keep investing in 9-5 work and other external things more than I’m investing in myself. So trust that I’m going to stick to this one and give me some grace if I backslide on occasion. I don’t wanna ramble, that’s the gist, so thanks for reading with me!

The Podcast That Changed My Life

Aimlessly scrolling and wasting time one Saturday, I came across this article by Fast Company titled “These 6 Podcasts Will Make You Smarter”. Feeling challenged, I clicked it and was surprised at how well the list was curated, but the show that really stood out to me was Start With This.

The premise of this pod, which hovers around 30mins, is to give you a kickstart into writing. As one of many writers who’ve done countless challenges, keeps a running list of ideas I’m actually excited about, and genuinely believes myself to be a good writer, the discipline to sit down and actually write is the only ingredient missing between our bowl of batter and success soufflé. That was terrible, but you get it.

In Start With This, they have smart conversations about the writing process, finding inspiration, coming up with new ideas (which can be different than being inspired, TO ME), editing, and a host of other things that makes writing the difficult, lonely, torturous and all-consuming thin that we still run to. It’s an easy listen, super accessible and, for me so far, has pretty effectively defanged the blank page. One thing I TRULY enjoy and appreciate is that they end with a segment giving you something to think on and something to do - I may incorporate that into this newsletter at some point too (or tonight??? so be on the lookout.) Give it a listen and let me know if you hated it or what you wrote after listening.

Sounds Exciting!

This is gonna be my music section. That title was clever and writing it made me smile🙂 I don’t know how often I’ll do this, but for today, this is dedicated to Mustafa The Poet’s debut release When Smoke Rises.

If you’ve been following any of my written work since 2018 (which has been few and far between, I know…we’re working on that!), I’ve been in my Blue Period. Which is to say the focus of my writing, for now at least, is primarily centered around grief. I talk about grief in love stories, in everyday stories, in random musings and vignettes about events I’ve made up to explore real feelings. Mustafa’s album talks about grief inspired by the loss of a friend and the fear of the same circumstances taking himself or others. It’s a quiet, melodic melancholy that’s warm and suffocating. Jamie XX, Sampha and James Blake are all on the album, so if you’re into any of them and you’re in need of some deeply introspective tunes for sad boy summer, give this one a few spins.

Closing Thoughts

This newsletter isn’t going to be about the business of writing. There are innumerable resources for that from people who’ve had less than me and made it further. Laying it all bare, I’ve come up with full marketing plans and rollouts for projects that’ve not even seen pen-to-paper. No more hustling backward, babes.  This is going to be dedicated solely to clarifying and cementing my writing process - locking down the actual work of this thing that I love so much. I’ll be flattered if any of this resonates, but if there’s one thing I want anyone to take away, it’s that you just have to keep trying. As long as writing is all you can think about, keep trying. Keep writing down your ideas, keep going to sleep with them at night. Keep thinking about the things that you can cut out of your life to make more time for writing and getting more and more serious about every time you come back to “for real this time.” Because one of those times is for real going to be the time and things will just start to click. I’m already proud of what this is going to lead to in my future and being able to look back on this release and think “that was when things changed.”

honestly, i love you.

r.