The Writing Studio with Michael Dean
🖋️

The Writing Studio with Michael Dean

2021-10-26 Kick Off

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Miro Icebreaker!

(For some reason Miro only worked for me in Chrome in Incognito mode.)

Learn to drag and drop

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Learn to create notes and drag them around

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We all love David Sedaris apparently

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Examples will be based on David Sedaris' writing

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The Writing Studio method is like doing studies/sketching before putting together a final draft

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  • We can flex on topics until week 3
    • Should bring in some "unique perspective" similar to Write of Passage prompt

2021-10-27 Live session 1

  • Miro-based exercises - (I skipped the ones with personal info from other students)
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2021-08-28

I drew below in Figma to help myself remember the POP techniques

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Personal:

Dear Diary: Confessions, Vulnerability, Taboo Topics

Placemaking: Sensory descriptions of a place

Hard-Earned Wisdom: Behind the scenes of an author's thinking

Observational:

Analogies: Linking an abstract concept to a relatable symbol

Twilight Zone Epiphanies: A realization you have that others might not be aware of.

Expert Edge: Insights that come from your life experiences (ie: a job, travel)

Playful:

Pop Culture: Pair your ideas with cultural symbols that share characteristics

Casual Talk: How would you talk to a friend in real life (vs. writing an academic thesis)

Dr. Seuss Mode: Having fun with words (rhyme, alliteration), "glittering golden plates and goblets..."

2021-11-01 Live Session 2

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  • Erik Hoel breaks equilibrium with contrasts

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  • Alliteration

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Running Questions in my head:

  • I feel when I write in fragments sometimes they don't "glue" together really well. How can I improve in this skill?
  • How can I improve "place making" for "personal" writing?
  • How can I use "hard-earned wisdom" more for "personal" writing?
  • It's challenging to write these exercises quickly in Miro...
  • How can I write like poetry, write like rap?
    • Different sentence length
    • Different sentence type
    • Different syllables

2021-11-03 Live Session - Storytelling

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  • Reader is the hero

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  • analogies for constructing an essay using microsketches
    • it's like finding sasquatch - you see little signs like footprints
    • it's like writing music for an orchestra - finding the leimotif
    • it's like being an explorer - takes time to explore terrain before we can create a map/guided tour for others

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  • Nucleus is like a shiny dime but has electrons around it

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  • Use the Dean's Razor to cut unrelated points! Almost always, cutting brings clarity

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  • Example breakdowns
  • Now I need to take my essay and create the electrons

2021-11-10 Live Session 5

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Step 1: Write a one-sentence nucleus

3 minutes

Ex: (0) Social media networks treat people as atomic units, when in reality, our identity is multi-dimensional, context-specific, and always evolving.

(0)

Step 2: List your Electrons & DNA

7 minutes

  • Ex: (1) Fernando Pessoa wrote under 73 different pen-names
    • Case Study: The true nature of our identity: it’s multi-faceted
  • (2) Social media has turned into American idol: consumers upvote celebrities
    • Problem: Our networks encourage niche identities instead of fluid ones
  • (3) Segmented “content streams” could remove self-censorship
    • Solution: A new social graphs would let creators uncover new identities
  • (1) Electron (main idea of this section)
    • DNA (link back to nucleus)
  • (2)
  • (3)

Step 3: Write out your Map as a paragraph

Hint: Label your map components with numbers (1), (2), (3)

Ex: We’re entering the Age of the Pseudonym, and it’s because our social media networks are broken (2). From MySpace to TikTok, all networks share a broken social graph that results in celebrities and self-censorship (2). But social media isn’t doomed, we can fix it. (3). Fernando Pessoa, a little-known writer who published under 73 different pen-names, gives us a model for how the creative spirit actually works. (1) What if we re-built Twitter with an understanding of Pessoa? (1/3)

5 minutes

Step 4: Fill Out Your Outline

15 minutes

  • Ex: (1) Fernando Pessoa wrote under 73 different pen-names
    • Case Study: The true nature of our identity: it’s multi-faceted
      • Introduce Pessoa as a mystery
        • Mysterious character in Portugal, no one’s heard of him
        • Ranked in the top 25 writers in western canon
      • Wrote under many names
        • 73 pen-names - a fake newspaper like “The Onion”
        • He’s different from other Euro-writers who wanted privacy
        • Exploring his soul & mind through characters
        • Pessoa was a chameleon - adopting a voice per context
      • Western psychology thinks multiple identities is psychosis
        • But the creative spirit is about play and “fluid identities”
        • Reflect on Michael Dean’s many masks in last 10 years
  • (1)
    • fd697727d1b944ff8aa9b180664ece6e

  • (2)
    • 542a720d13c6477c99e4dd142bb8577e

  • (3)
    • 7473a07fbeef405dac3eb5e12c18ee58

Homework:

Post to Geneva

After our live session is over, post this document in Geneva under “Assignment 3.”

Share your experience.

What was difficult about this?

What did you learn?

Book a 1:1 Outlining Call

After you book, you can continue working on your outline, and complete the steps below. The more you can attempt to do before our call, the better.

Tie back to DNA

Read each section of your outline.

How can you better relate bullet points to it’s sections DNA?

Design a verse.

Try revising a few of your electrons so there are some similarities between them.

Is there a pattern in one electron that would be good to replicate in the others?

  • Open with a quote?
  • Open with an image?
  • Open with a joke?
  • Include a personal experience?
  • Include an image or sketch?
  • Close on your nucleus/DNA?
Look at your fish

Go through your Miro map, early sketches, and notes.

Is there anything else that wants to be included in this outline?

Outline Your Introduction

In addition to your map, what should go in your intro?

What are the kinds of things you can do to grab attention?

  • Hint at the reader what emotion they will experience
  • Include a shocking claim that you don’t resolve until the end
  • What is something in your essay that the reader might relate to?
Re-read your outline

Take a break (at least a few hours) and come back.

Does the flow of ideas make sense?

Work on some transitions and revise as needed.

2021-11-15 Live Session

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Practicing writing with different masks - topic: product >>> distribution...

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Michael wrote these...amazing!

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2021-11-22 Live Session

  • David Perell tips for continuing to write
    • Validation through resonance - test writing with real life people to see if their eyes light up
    • Finding the emotion within me that the idea needs to be heard
      • That there is something injust about the world unless this idea is shared
      • But a lot of life beats that out of you
        • Like a kid throwing a tantrum
    • See writing as an act of service - it's for other people to read and to feel moved
    • Bias towards publishing more and earlier
      • If something is making you publish less or later, write it out as an argument and fight against it
    • Use e.g. essays vs notes to distinguish between writing with higher or lower levels of certainty/craft
      • Or https://nickyoder.com/drafts/ or whatever system you want to invent
      • Certain publishers may not allow pre-publishing but it's better to ask
        • Always an option to publish on a URL that isn't linked on the main site, but you can still share with friends

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  • A lot of people don't continue to learn! We are part of a minority who think a lot about adult education
  • Practice analytically, perform intuitively

  • Breakout room: How are you a different writer from when you started?
    • Learning to love the musicality of words. Seeing the importance of structure and learning to embrace it
  • Learn to use more tools for the right job
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