Dreaming about leading a workshop or retreat? Here’s a checklist to keep it simple (for your brain) + gentle (on your heart).

 
 

Beautiful humans from last year’s workshop tour. First shot by Kyeli. Others by Catherine.

 
 
 

Want to teach something? Good. Then you definitely should.

You don’t have to be an expert. You don’t have to be a master.

You just have to know … a little bit more than the people you’re teaching.

Enough to save them a little bit of time, a little bit of confusion, a little bit of suffering. (A “little bit” is still a gift.)

Start with love. Keep it simple. Teach what you know + care deeply about.

You really can’t mess it up.

But if you’re (still) worried that you will … here’s a checklist to ease your mind + heart.

 
 

Step 1. Make sure you want this.

 
You think you want to teach a workshop, a class or retreat. And maybe you do.

Or maybe you’re just craving human connection. Or a sabbatical from your computer screen. Or a healthy dose of attention.

Maybe, really, you want to start a book club. Or throw a potluck dinner party. Or grind up against somebody cute at a dance club.

Whatever you want … is beautiful. Just be clear about what it actually … is.

 
 

Step 2. Find the space.

 
And if at all possible, find a space that’s free … or cheap.

Your backyard could be magical. Your mama’s living room could be perfect. Public parks are … open to the public.

If you’ve got a budget to work with, eVenues is a simple place to start your search. AirBnB works, too — particularly for cozy, slumber-party-style gatherings.

A pro tip: call a local hotel and say, “I have a group of ___ people. We need a conference room for ___ hours, and we’ll need food + beverages, too. Do you allow people to book board rooms in exchange for meeting a food / bev minimum? If so, what’s the dollar amount we’d need to hit?” They may be happy to work out a deal. And you’ll essentially get a “free” venue, in exchange for buying food. Which you probably would have bought anyway. You’re welcome.

 
 

Step 3. Decide what it’s “all about.”

 
Don’t overthink it, or feel like you’ve got to overexplain it.

Maybe your workshop is all about … squishing your toes in the mud + learning how to take photos in the rain. Because water from the sky is amazing, and making art feels good.

Or maybe your workshop is all about … learning how to write love poems that make people blush.

Who gets excited about complicated, endlessly-long, brain-hurting curriculums? No one.

The simpler your concept, the better.

 
 

Step 4. Surrender to whatever it wants to be.

 
Even with the best venue, the best concept, the best of intentions (and promotions) … ultimately?

Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen.

I’ve had workshops sell out in less than three hours — with a waiting list. And I’ve had workshops I couldn’t fill to save my life.

I’ve led workshops that felt like sensual, poetic jamfests. And I’ve led workshops that felt like get ‘er done motivational crank-a-thons.

I’ve taught workshops where nearly everybody cried. And ones were we couldn’t stop giggling. And ones where people (literally) burst out singing.

You can’t force the sales. You can’t force the feeling. You can’t force … anything, really.

All you can do is set the stage + come prepared to share.

The very best thing you can do? Is actually care about the people who are there.

 
 

Step 5. Be humble + be generous.

 
There are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day, and infinite things we can all do with our time.

When a fellow human is willing to spend a portion of their LIFE in your company — giving YOU their full attention — that’s an honor.

Be humble + be generous.

Give them something to remember.

 
 

xo.

P.S. Workshops. You like ‘em. I teach ‘em.

My 2014 Write Yourself Into Motion tour is in full swing, with 3 countries and 10+ cities … and a sparkly, fresh + simpler curriculum. (Yep. Debuting some new material. ‘Tis different from last year.)

Write Yourself Into Motion is a place for people who don’t write as much as they’d like, as well as they’d like, as fast as they’d like.

It is especially wonderful for business owners, bloggers, aspiring authors, or anyone with a big mission that’s tricky to put into words.

Here’s everything you want to know: WriteYourselfIntoMotion.com. (Thank you + I can’t wait to meet you. Or meet you, again.)

 
 

Why I want to be a “Daymaker.” And why (maybe) we’re all asking the wrong questions. (See also: how a haircut changed my life.)

 
 

I’ve had a lot of haircuts in my life.

I don’t remember most of them.

But this one? I’ll never forget.

He was a hip young stylist — eager, ebullient, not more than twenty or twenty-one.

I recall a polka dot shirt, a vivid purple bow tie, a rockabilly ‘do + a whole lot of flair.

 

His passion for his craft beamed through every pore.

It was there, in the scalp massage he extended just a feee-ew minutes longer than necessary.

In the way he lovingly worked in that aromatherapy conditioner — adjusting my neck in the cradle, just so.

In the way he trimmed my bangs with careful precision — and even offering to add a touch of make-up, at the end.

Completely above and beyond, in every way. And the kicker? He was just an apprentice. The lowest-paid stylist of the bunch.

 

As he brushed a few stray hairs off my shoulders, I noticed a gleaming trophy by the mirror.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that?” he said. “That’s my Daymaker Award.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Well,” he said, matter of factly. “When a stylist does a great job — you know, really makes someone’s day — they get nominated by the customers and also the other stylists. The person with the most nominations gets the Daymaker Award.”

“Well, you definitely made my day.”

“Thank you. May I have your address, so I can send you a ‘thank you’ note?”

“You have got to be kidding me … YES!”

 

. . .

 

When you meet a true Daymaker, the soul-residue doesn’t wash off after a couple shampoos.

And that fateful haircut left me wondering about things. Big things. Deep things.

Like what if, maybe, we’re all wasting our time + spinning our wheels, agonizing over questions like:

“What is the secret to happiness + success + wealth + greatness + impact + legacy + leadership + innovation + how can I fulfill my highest purpose, every day?”

When really, all we oughta be asking is:

“How can I make someone’s day?”

xo.

 
 

“What should I write about?” 33 prompts to unlock new blog posts + stories that need to be told …

 
 


Scribbles, ahoy! Photo by Leslie from Shuttersmack.

 
 
 

“What should I write about?”

It’s a question I hear … quite a lot.

Second only to:

“How do I decide what to write about, first?”

No matter which question you’ve got on your mind, these prompts might unlock a few answers.

Just fill in the blanks — and pay attention to the phrases that make your heart beat a little faster.

THOSE are the topics to focus on, first.

(And if “writing” isn’t your preferred mode of self-expression, just swap in another verb that suits you. Like “explaining” or “teaching” or “performing” or “singing” or “painting” or “podcasting” or “taking a photo.” You know what you like. Go make something good.)

 

. . .

 

For years, I’ve been saying, “I ought to write a book about ___________________.”

 

I care deeply about helping people ___________________.

 

I (secretly) want to write about ___________________.

 

People are always asking me how I ___________________.

 

I wish people would ask me how to ___________________.

 

I don’t know EVERYTHING about ___________________, but I know enough to give somebody a considerable head start.

 

I don’t have anything particularly “innovative” to say. I just want to remind people that it’s OK to ___________________.

 

I don’t have anything “radical” to say. I just want to show people how to ___________________ and have fun doing it.

 

I have SO many great tips on how to___________________.

 

I have THE funniest story about that one time I ___________________.

 

I know a TON about ___________________.

 

I really want to be known as an expert on ___________________.

 

I really want to be known as someone with a fresh twist on ___________________.

 

I seriously believe the world would be a much better place if we could all just ___________________.

 

I think people might be inspired by my story about ___________________.

 

I will never, ever get tired of talking about ___________________.

 

I’ve got a weird, inexplicable obsession with ___________________.

 

I’ve got super-strong opinions about ___________________.

 

If a friend of mine was too afraid to ___________________, what I’d want to tell him / her is ___________________.

 

If a space discovery program asked me to write a short essay about “what it means to be human” — a message for alien races + future human generations to read — I’d tell the story about that one time I ___________________.

 

If I gave people a secret glimpse into my ___________________, what they’d find inside is ___________________.

 

If there’s one recurring lesson in my life — one that I’ve learned over and over, in different ways — it’s definitely
___________________.

 

It probably doesn’t “make sense” in terms of my business / career, but I’m just dying to write about ___________________.

 

It’s not “fancy” or “special” or even that “unique,” but I suspect people would be really curious to take a peek at my ___________________.

 

Most people think that ___________________ is really complicated, but I know that it can be ___________________.

 

One thing I’m tired of seeing in the world is ___________________.

 

One thing that makes me absolutely sick is ___________________.

 

One thing that I think is completely amazing — that everybody should know about! — is ___________________.

 

The worst break-up / fight / conflict I ever experienced was ___________________ and what I learned was ___________________.

 

When ___________________ happened to me, I felt so ashamed / alone / angry / frightened. I’d like to share that story, so that other people know they’re NOT alone.

 

When a friend of mine is in pain because of ___________________, what I want to tell him / her is ___________________.

 

When my heart is breaking, what I wish somebody would tell me is ___________________.

 

When I’m ready to leave this world, and my dearest friends surround my bedside and ask me, “Do you have any last words of advice? One last secret to share? A story to tell?” I’ll smile and tell them all about ___________________.

 

. . .

 

Want even MORE prompts? Read THIS.

Feeling stuck, scared + blocked? Read THIS.

Worried that your audience is “too small” — so what’s the point of even writing? DEFINITELY read THIS.

 
xo.

P.S. What are YOU going to write about today?

 
 

To Fred, with love.

 
 

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the passing of one of my heroes: Fred Rogers, the creator + host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

If you flipped on a TV set anytime between the years of 1968 and 2001, you’re probably familiar with ol’ Fred — his signature red cardigan sweater, his puppets, his songs, his heartfelt lessons on kindness + kinship, forgiveness + friendship.

For me, Fred’s “neighborhood” represented the safest, most encouraging place on television.

And my admiration for his work has only deepened, through the years.

Fred once said:

“Fame is a four-letter word. Like tape or zoom or face or pain or life or love, what ultimately matters is what we do with it.”

 

I think about those words, often.

I am not “famous” — at least, not when compared to many others.

I do not believe that becoming “famous” is a particularly nourishing goal.

At the same time, I am aware that having a “platform” — of any kind, of any size — is a privilege. And not one to be taken lightly.

More than that — simply being alive is a privilege. One that lasts as long as it lasts, and not a moment longer.
 

So, how will you spend your time, today?

What will you do with your energy?

Your connections?

Your creativity?

Your freedom?

Your fame?

Will you, like Fred, strive to create “a daily expression of care” for the people who need the unique gifts that you’ve got?

Will you give that “expression of care” … everything that you’ve got?

I trust that you’ll try.

And so will I.
 

I love you, Fred. And I miss you.

Thank you for all that you did — and all that you still do.

May we all be the kind of people that you’d be proud to call your “neighbors.”

xo.

P.S. That photo of Fred was taken in the late 1960s. It’s part of a special collection at the University of Houston Library — and is available for public use under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Thanks, Internet.

 
 

My {new} favorite tools for writing, creativity, productivity + whatnot.

 
 


Someday, my desk will be as beauteous as my friend Leslie’s. Photo by Shuttersmack.

 
 
 

Only the FINEST for you, friends!

I am constantly gobsmacked by how many tools, apps + helpful treats there are on the Internet — readily available + often cost-free!

Here are a few that have brightened my world, recently.

 
 

COFFITIVITY

http://coffitivity.com/

Ever notice that it’s much easier to concentrate when there’s a bit of ambient noise around you — instead of pure silence?

There’s a scientific reason for that. And the folks at Coffitivity are making it easier to hit that sweet spot between “too quiet” and “too loud,” with looping tracks that mimic the sounds of coffee shops + bustling cafeterias.

I’ve got them playing constantly!
 
 

eVENUES

http://evenues.com/

Looking for a meeting space for your next team pow-wow, workshop or class? Find + book venues online — just like a hotel room — with this amazingly time-saving tool.
 
 

UNROLL.ME

http://unroll.me/

Drowning in mailing list subscriptions … that you can’t even remember signing up for?

Unsubscribe from dozens (or hundreds!) of mailing lists with a single click.

You can also create a Roll-Up — a consolidated daily digest of the messages that you do want to receive.
 
 

CRATEJOY

http://cratejoy.com/

Ever fantasize about starting your own Cheese / Wine / Book / Candle / Bath Soap / Curated Chocolate Set Gift of the Month Club … but get overwhelmed by all the logistics?

Rekindle that dream, because CrateJoy is streamlining the whole process — with pre-paid print-at-home shipping labels and empty boxes, delivered to your doorstep.

(This service is launching soon — and you can sign up to be notified when they do. I’m on the list, waiting with bated breath!)
 
 

TASKRABBIT

http://taskrabbit.com/

Got a sickeningly-long to-do list? Find a local TaskRabbit to help you with random, time-consuming jobs — from waiting in line for concert tickets, to cleaning your apartment, to driving your car to the repair shop across town, and beyond.

All TaskRabbits go through a background-check process, and you can “meet” folks online before you choose who to hire.

Once the job is complete, just log-in to pay (and include a generous tip). Life changed, in two clicks.
 
 

HEARNAMES

http://hearnames.com/

Got an upcoming meeting with someone … with a cool + unfamiliar name? Want to impress them by actually knowing how to say it?

HearNames is a database of audio clips that demonstrate the correct pronunciation for thousands of names.

(You can even listen to the same name, pronounced in different dialects from all over the world!)
 
 

SELFCONTROL

http://selfcontrolapp.com/

Use SelfControl to block certain sites on your computer for a specific amount of time — removing habitual distractions + allowing you to focus, focus, focus.

(I’m using it to block Twitter right now, while I’m finishing this post!)
 
 

xo + happy creating.


 
 

P.S. Craving more tools, apps + treats? Here’s another round-up of my favs.

P.P.S. Which tools are rocking YOUR world, lately?