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Michelle Woo
Senior platform editor at Forge @Medium. Author of Horizontal Parenting: How to Entertain Your Kid While Lying Down, coming this August.

Or why I’m staying at Medium

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Hi, I work at Medium. As you may have heard, our editorial team has had an interesting couple of weeks. I’ve watched some of my talented and endlessly wonderful colleagues move on from this company, and that has been hard. Working with them has been an absolute honor.

As for me, I’m sticking around. A couple reasons why: First, I’m excited about our strengthened mission of supporting writers directly. If you have thoughts or ideas on this topic, hit me up and let’s talk. But also—and here is my much more selfish and personal answer—I don’t feel done.

I mean…


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Once you’ve been at a job for a while, it becomes tougher to see your role with fresh eyes. You’ve settled into your routines, developed a rhythm with your usual contacts, and generally figured out how to get the work done. So how can you find ways to grow when a comfortable groove starts to feel like stagnation?

Ask yourself this question: What would my replacement do?

The prompt, which is somewhat unsettling but strangely clarifying, comes from Dave Girouard, the CEO of the tech startup Upstart. …


Photo: Patrick Semansky/Getty Images

Today, the nation watched in awe as Amanda Gorman read her powerful poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration—and then immediately Googled everything she’s ever said and written. I ended up swiping through the young poet’s Instagram Stories, where she did a Q&A with her followers a few months ago, sharing thoughts on writing and staking a claim in the world that will resonate with anyone trying to do creative work:

On where her inspiration comes from:

Rarely does a writer say “I’m gonna have a great idea” and it comes. Instead you have to wait lovingly, preparing a place for inspiration to…


On Ryan Holiday’s Daily Stoic podcast, the actor explained how he makes his big career decisions: Before he says yes to starring in a movie, he lives his life for…


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I am a member of 170 Facebook groups. I’m following 1,476 Pages. I have 1,763 friends. I can’t even count how many articles, videos, and recipes I’ve “saved” for later. (Why did I bookmark a $9.99 plunger and that meme from the ‘I Hate Grandpa Joe From Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’ group again?)

I never meant for my Facebook feed to become an abyss of disjointed chatter and empty distractions, but that’s what it is after 14 years of clicking on things. Recently, though, I came across a tool that can help: Facebook Favorites. The feature, which began…


Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

“Revenge bedtime procrastination, a phenomenon in which people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours.” — Daphne K. Lee

BBC explains that “revenge bedtime procrastination,” translated from the Chinese term bàofùxìng áoyè, is commonly experienced by overstretched workers desperate to “steal back” their time from their employers. I think it’s something a lot of us can relate to right now, and goes beyond work. For me, that glorious stretch of time after my small children go to bed does feel like revenge…


Photo: Emily Deltetto/EyeEm/Getty Images

Sometime in the fall, when the weather here in Southern California dips below 71 degrees, it makes its first appearance. I strut around the house wearing it as my husband groans. “Oh no, it’s the muumuu,” he says.

Oh yes, the muumuu. This is the name we’ve given my fleece zip-up robe that drapes down to my ankles and has a collar, a garment typically worn by women who are 90. I bought it at T.J. Maxx several years ago when I was eight months pregnant and boycotting pants. It’s hideous, I’ll admit. But it’s soft and warm and it…


Illustration of masked figures in a crowd.
Illustration of masked figures in a crowd.
Image: Ada daSilva/Getty Images

Whenever my instinct is to assume the worst—say, a driver cuts me off on the road or a friend takes three days to respond to my text even though I know she’s read my hilarious meme—it helps me to ask myself: What if the person is trying their best? When I believe they are, I stay out of judgment and my mind stops making up unhelpful stories that likely aren’t true.

But on Human Parts, Jane Park offers a question that goes a step further. …


Resources

Sometimes hearing your writing out loud is better than reading it

Photo by CoinView App on Unsplash

As writers, we’re taught the importance of reading our work aloud before hitting publish. We need to hear our words to make sure they sound conversational, have the right cadence, and will invite people in.

But I always wished I could hear my writing read by someone other than myself. Once my work is in the near-publishing stage, I think I’m just too close to it, and so it’s hard for me to distinguish between what I’m hearing in my ear and in my head. For a while, I would read my writing in a voice different than my own…


Young Black woman looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Young Black woman looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Photo: Yadira G. Morel/Getty Images

Self-talk was once seen as something reserved for motivational gurus—perhaps you remember the SNL character Stuart Smalley staring into a mirror and proclaiming: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” But more people are learning that there are practical, measurable benefits to adopting a positive inner narrative. On Medium, Alan Trapulionis lays out the latest research on self-talk—and it’s enlightening.

Psychologists have only seriously begun analyzing self-talk in the last couple of decades, and here’s what we know:

1) Positive self-talk improves performance in most sports.

2) Questions like “Will I do this?” produce better…

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