A man camping and reading.
A man camping and reading.
Photo: Patiwat Sariya/EyeEm/Getty Images

If sobriety is something you’re interested in exploring as you head into the new year (and, maybe more importantly, out of the old one), Nina Renata Aron’s list of books, podcasts, TV episodes, and more will equip you with a lot of motivation. Not motivation to quit, necessarily, but motivation to stay interested in quitting.

Because this collection is shame-free.

As Aron writes: “Decoupling the concept of sobriety from the still-stigmatized disease of alcoholism has granted people greater freedom to experiment with self-restraint without feeling a sense of shame or failure if they do decide to do that tequila shot or meet their friends for a dragon bowl.” …


Writing

Drew Magary says you can write as much as 10,000 words a week, as long as you think of writing as a process, not a task

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Illustration: Heeje Min Heo

The prolific Drew Magary has written a lot of stories about a lot of subjects for Forge, Medium’s self-improvement publication, but the subject he’s written about the most? Writing itself. The most popular of those stories is about a lot.

As he writes in “How to Write 10,000 Words a Week,” the key to productivity as a writer is to think of writing as “a matter of sketching and building and arranging and fixing what is in your brain.”

Don’t think of it as art. Think of it as a process.

Drew’s process involves four steps.

Eliminate fear

“Too many writers have been taught to be afraid of writing and have had their voices suppressed as a result… If you treat your work like some impassable wall you have to scale… you’re gonna hate it.” …


The vaccine is only one part of it. The other part is up to you.

It’s hard to know when the end of the pandemic will finally come. What does “end” really mean, anyway? Is it when you’re vaccinated? Is it when most of the people in your community are?

What if the end of the pandemic has nothing to do with the vaccine at all? What if it’s not the vaccine that will ultimately deliver us from the pandemic, but our own psyches?

This is the question Rosie Spinks deals with in her most recent post on Medium, “The Pandemic Will Never End Unless You Grieve It.” For Spinks, a frequent Forge contributor, the pandemic is not a historical or personal blip that interrupted our lives. It is a cataclysmic event involving more loss than we know, and it set us on a new path. The old path is gone. …


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Photo: vgajic/Getty Images

Bestselling author Seth Godin has been writing frequently about creativity on Medium the past few weeks. This week he wrote about the importance of simply showing up. For Godin, creativity isn’t as much inspiration as it is application: arriving on time and doing the work. In a word: practice.

“When we commit to a practice, we don’t have to wonder if we’re in the mood, if it’s the right moment, if we have a headache or momentum or the muse by our side. We already made those decisions.”

It was key to his own success, he says: “Twenty years ago, I decided to blog every day. There will be a blog from me tomorrow. Not because it’s the best one I’ve ever written, or perfect, or even because I’m in the right mood. …


Tallies written with blue ink.
Tallies written with blue ink.
Photo: Jana Krause/EyeEm/Getty Images

Do you know how many posts you’ve put on Instagram? Your number of Medium followers? The number of steps you’ve taken today? Yesterday? Last Monday? Our lives are increasingly quantifiable. And the numbers can be motivating — but they can obscure the reasons why we work out, read Medium, take a walk.

In “Stop Keeping Score,” published on Forge, Paul Ollinger writes about how he’s used his Peloton rankings to compare himself to other riders. He figured out ways to manipulate his workouts to go higher and higher on the board. Going higher had replaced getting healthy as a goal. That’s because our brains will always choose the easiest path for validation. …


Man looks at his phone while sitting at his desk.
Man looks at his phone while sitting at his desk.
Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

I’ve been texting with three friends about politics since the 2020 presidential election season began back in, what was it? 1999? 2007? And I’m not sure a day has gone by without us texting about poll numbers or election anxiety.

A politics thread allows you a certain level of vulnerability and candor that Facebook doesn’t (or shouldn’t at least), yet it’s more useful and uplifting than, like, saying to your dog, “I’m cautiously optimistic about indies in Sumter County!”

It’s been the single most important source of information for me about how the election is going and about how my friends are doing. …


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Photo: JohnnyGreigg / Getty Images

For all the ways that G Drive has made our lives run better, it makes getting rid of those memories kind of complicated. The most intuitive way to delete messages in Gmail is scrolling and clicking. Forever.

So technology columnist Angela Lashbrook tried to find another way, a journey she writes about in Debugger, Medium’s new publication about consumer technology.

Turns out you need a two-part system: Let an app clear out most of the junk. Then employ search-and-destroy strategies to find groups of emails to delete all at once. Her tips are surprising but easy and effective.

The best approach, however, is the simplest: daily maintenance. “That means deleting all the emails you don’t need as you receive them so you don’t get caught up in the mess I spent the last several days cleaning up,” Lashbrook writes. …


Writing

A collection on the principles and mechanics of writing

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Illustrations: Katya Dorokhina, originally published in Forge

For the launch of Creators Hub, Ross McCammon provides an overview of Forge’s “How to Write Anything” package. McCammon is the executive editor at Forge.

Readers love to read about writing. Stories like “How to Write 10,000 Words a Week” and “Power Up Your Language to Revolutionize Your Freelance Life” consistently attract thousands of readers to Forge, Medium’s in-house self-improvement publication, and have prompted us to develop a key pillar of Forge’s mission: that one of the most important ways you can improve yourself is by getting better at expressing yourself.

No project is more emblematic of this goal than “How to Write Anything,” a collection of stories on how to write — the principles and mechanics of the process — but also about how to write now, when every single one of us writes (and reads) constantly. As we said in the introduction to this collection: “You tweet. You email. You Slack. You text. Multiple times a day, you look at a blank screen and you fill it with words — your own words written in your own style for an audience you hope to persuade, amuse, inform.” …


Give yourself a microbreak

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Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

For many of us new at working from home, there’s a peripheral, palpable energy about our days that didn’t exist when we were going into an office pre-pandemic. For me, it starts right when I wake up, and it doesn’t end until my kids are in bed. It’s 14 hours of buzzzzz. It doesn’t feel draining exactly, but it complicates a workday that’s already complicated.

Forge’s resident time-management expert Laura Vanderkam recently wrote a popular story on how to feel calm despite that buzz. She endorsed taking three short breaks each day—one physical, one spiritual, one social. …


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Photo: fizkes / Getty Images

The news that Donald Trump has been infected with the coronavirus feels like… it’s not even “too much.” It’s as if our concept of too much has been expanded to the point that Too Much is now the state of the world—and our brains.

GEN can help you process how this will upend the election. Elemental and Medium’s Coronavirus Blog can help you understand the ways in which Donald Trump put himself at risk. Forge? We can help you deal.

Like this:

See the bigger picture

What we’re experiencing is occurring on the continuum of American history. 2020 isn’t the problem. We are. …

About

Ross McCammon

Executive Editor, Forge/Medium and author of Works Well With Others https://bit.ly/2N1TWU6

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