Last week, I started writing letters to my email list in response to the recent political events. I got a landslide of replies, and it seemed fitting to share these essays more broadly. “Writer Fuel” is a series of posts where I adapt essays from my newsletter to share as blog posts here on the website.
Newsletter subscribers get a sneak peek at these essays before I post them. They can also help crowdsource this column, by replying to my emails or sharing their perspectives in our Facebook community. Want in? Click here to join.
Dear word nerd,
“Dream big, execute small.” These were the words of Leah Busque, TaskRabbit founder and speaker at the 99u conference in 2013. While I don’t remember the minutiae of her presentation, this message stood out. In fact, it’s probably one of the few direct quotes I still remember from the entire conference.
In light of everything that has happened these past weeks, I have clung to these words now more than ever. Right now, emotions are running high. I have people I care about on both sides of the political divide, and I have a hunch that regardless of where you stand, you’re likely feeling angry, hurt, or unsure of what will happen next. Like many I have found myself asking: Where do we go from here and what’s my role in our world going forward? I have been wanting to write to you about this all week, but it’s taken me until now to find the words.
A lot of of my colleagues in the entrepreneurial or writing space have gone forward with business as usual. I respect that. There’s something comforting about picking up and going forward regardless of a political outcome. But for me it would be disingenuous to act like nothing has happened and everything is back to normal. Whatever your political beliefs, I think we can all agree that this election has been like no other (at least in my lifetime) and as a storyteller I can’t help but think that we have crossed a significant threshold, a “point of no return” in the narrative of human history.
This week has sent me into an introspective tailspin of sorts. While on the surface, I’ve kept my political opinions fairly private and played my cards close to the vest, there’s been a lot of internal turmoil that only those closest to me have been “lucky” enough to witness. These last few days I’ve ping-ponged between two poles. One minute I’m thinking: “Let me grab the world by the balls and change the status quo!” Then, next moment: “What’s the point? I’m just one person. What could I possibly do?”
This is when I stop, breathe, and say to myself: “Dream big, execute small.”
While I might be an idealist, I’m also a pragmatist at heart. I know that where I am right now, I can’t change the whole world, but I can take one small step. So that’s what I’ve done this week. I’ve gone back through my inbox and answered notes that had long been pending. Instead of hopping on my soapbox and blasting my opinions at the top of my lungs, I’ve focused my energy on serving individual people, one at a time.
Service is the operative word here. In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing something new with you, a new program I’ve created to help authors build their platforms. Over the past few months, I’ve faced a huge shift in how I see my own platform and platform-building in general. I used to think it was all about marketing and selling books. Now I realize that when you have a mission and a message you must share, platform isn’t about sales. It’s about service. My goal at DIY MFA is simple: I want to serve my word nerds in the best way I can. Everything else is secondary.
I am writing you today to tell you that you matter. Your voice matters. Your story matters. Hold fast to that and don’t ever, ever let go.
I also want to say thank you. Thank you for being a word nerd. Thank you for allowing me to serve you and help you grow as a writer. Thank you for trusting me to lead this community. It is truly a privilege, and also a responsibility I do not take lightly.
And if you have found value DIY MFA–be it the website, the podcast, or the newsletter–if these resources have served you and helped your writing, then I’d like to ask you a favor. Please share this website with one person who could use a boost right now. I’m not asking you to tweet it out to the world or post about DIY MFA on Facebook. You don’t need to tell dozens or hundreds of friends.
This is not about BIG. It’s about taking one small meaningful action to lift up and encourage another writer. Imagine the impact we could have if we each focused on serving just one other person today.
Finally, if you’ve stumbled on this website through social media or because a friend told you about it, I would love for you to join our community. Sign up with your email to get an invite to our private Facebook group. There you can connect with other likeminded writers.
Remember that the world needs your voice. Keep writing, keep questioning, and keep using your words for the power of good.
Loads of literary love,