We're All We Have | Internetly Vol. 3
On imposter syndrome, anchoring yourself through self-reflection, and how to write the perfect cold pitch.
The past few days have been a whirlwind.
I was fortunate enough to receive the first dose of the COVID vaccine, which has melted away months of coagulated stress. It absolutely knocked me out. Chills, aches, exhaustion, the whole package. I’ve recovered now, but I’m mentally preparing myself for the second dose. In all likelihood, it’ll catapult me into another stratosphere.
Asides from that, last Tuesday Jimmy Rose interviewed me for his podcast, The Art of You . 😵
When Jimmy first reached out about the interview last March, it kind of blew my mind. I went from aimlessly writing online this summer to suddenly being asked about my journey. 🤯
In my mind, I’m still the girl with a low sense of self-esteem, the one who clicks “publish” and thinks, "It’s not going to go anywhere, anyways.”
It feels as though at any moment, someone will yank the sheet over my persona and exclaim “the jig is up!” And I’ll dissipate back into who I really am; an average 20-something with zero qualifications.
Of course, this isn’t true. I’ve worked on impressive projects, garnered noticeable results, made significant strides. But imposter syndrome doesn’t seem to care.
Imposter syndrome is a funny thing. It informs you matter-of-factly you are not, nor will you ever be qualified, despite any evident success. In a way, it’s right.
Think of all the successes you’ve accumulated. The awards, verbal validation, direct deposits, followers, job titles. Do these things define who you are? Would you still be you without them, if they were to vanish tomorrow?
Of course you would.
Who we really are isn’t defined by external cues. The only thing we can be sure of is we are here. We are aware. We exist. This is who we are.
Imposter syndrome takes this universal truth - our core human experience - and tells us we aren’t qualified to be anything else. This is a misinterpretation. Our pure internal state gives us the flexibility to morph into whoever. You are not an imposter. You’re not anything. Which gives you the power to flood into new identities, experiment, and accomplish whatever you want.
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: Self-Reflection is How Your Identity Becomes an Anchor
Last Wednesday, I published a new essay titled “A Guide Towards Avoiding Information Wipeout From Surfing the Web”.
I’ve coined the term “information wipeout” to describe the sensation of drowning in the abundance of information available online.
When it happens, you feel overwhelmed, anxious, and lost. You have 40 tabs open, your laptop’s fan is going crazy, and you haven’t accomplished a lick of work.
The overflow of information distracts us and drowns out our internal voices. With constant stimuli, you can’t hear yourself think.
This is why we must practice self-reflection.
That’s all good and dandy, but what does it have to do with creating online?
Well, if you want to stand out, your content must be authentic, creative, and high-quality. You can’t be authentic if you don’t pay attention to your internal voice. You can’t be creative when you’re only consuming. You can’t create high-quality content when you’re all over the place.
Journaling is how you drain the information that floods your brain. It’s how the world becomes uncomplicated. How you become clear-headed.
Ultimately, it is how you get to know yourself again. Your identity becomes an anchor in a world that is nothing but information.
Self-reflection is how you anchor yourself in a world that is nothing but information. 🌊
🥒 Content Diet
Some good stuff I stumbled upon this week.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Every other morning, I walk my old little black dog, Oreo, while listening to the audiobook version of On Writing by Stephen King.
One morning, with a deli black coffee in hand and Oreo’s leash in the other, I listened to King recount his experience with the editing process.
King’s first writing gig was for a sports magazine. One week in, King’s editor hands him back his first draft. It’s chaotic, marked in red ink with whole paragraphs eliminated.
King had never had anything edited before. It blew his mind. While the revision was brutal, it was good. His piece looked much better.
King learned this about the revision process;
“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right — as right as you can, anyway — it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.”
When you first sit down to write, lock yourself inside and pour out your soul. Be selfish. It’s for you.
But when it’s time to edit, unlock the door. Invite visitors. Edit with their attention in mind.
Write with the door closed. Edit with the door open. 🚪
Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday
The yearning for something is at times more enjoyable than actually obtaining it.
In 2012, researchers surveyed 1,530 Dutch individuals. The goal was to determine if taking a vacation could increase long-term happiness.
Nearly 1,000 took a vacation, and the other unlucky 530 stayed back home. Researchers sent each group surveys before and after their trip to determine their contentment. The result?
"Generally, there is no difference between vacationers' and non-vacationers' post-trip happiness.”
The study brought forward two fascinating results:
Vacation or not, neither guarantee happiness.
At times, planning the trip is more enjoyable than the trip itself.
Vacation is a short-term measure if one is attempting to ameliorate lifestyle and personal strains. It’s a bandaid: not a solution.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with my coach. Over Zoom, I lamented over how I wanted to settle in a new country where I didn’t know a single soul.
“Are you running away from something, or running towards something?” He asked.
“Towards something,” I replied without thought. There’s nothing inherently negative about New York City. I am simply seeking to widen my breadth of experiences. This is why I’m confident leaving America is the right decision.
If you’re in a position where you can travel, it might be worth asking yourself the same question. Chances are, if you’re running, even a 10,000 mile-long flight won’t help you hide.
Vacation is a bandaid, not a cure. 🛫
The Writing Process by Packy McCormick
Packy McCormick, the author of Not Boring, tweeted out his writing process which actually made me burst into laughter.
I didn’t laugh out of pity, by the way.
Nope, purely out of relatability.
A little too much, if anything.
Not Boring has over 43,000 subscribers, and Packy still feels like his writing is going to be junk every time he sits down. Each newsletter is an emotional roller coaster, a cocktail of ineptitude, cockiness, sabotage, and self-doubt.
All writers can relate.
Writing something is seldom a linear journey. 📉
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: How to Write a Response-Worthy Cold Pitch
I promised this last week, and I am a woman of my word.
Cold pitching is incredibly exciting. Once you’ve got the process down, you’re armed with the potential to create invaluable opportunities for yourself. But a lot of people don’t cold pitch because they’re afraid the recipients will shun them.
You’d be shocked to know 90% of cold pitches are not good. Many show no effort, no personalization, and are essentially self-serving.
I owe all of my cold pitching capabilities to Eva Gutierrez, who was my freelance writing coach back in October. She has nailed the template, and you should reach out to her directly if you’d like guidance from a real professional.
But, here’s the basic formula I can offer you.
Begin with one sentence introducing yourself and what you do. Let me repeat that - one sentence.
Follow with identifying their goal. Are they trying to gain email subscribers? Try a demo? Sign up for a 14-day trial? Signal you know what they need.
Send some ideas to help them achieve that goal. It could be article ideas, suggested copy for their landing page, new content verticals. As solopreneur Linda Zhang puts it:
Go further with one of your ideas. What would it look like? Be detailed. Do the work. Give away your information and knowledge for free.
Do not skip this step. People will be able to tell if skimmed on this part.
If applicable, send samples of your relevant work. Only two or three. Don’t overdo it. Remember, this isn’t about you.
Wrap it up. Thank them for their time and congratulate them on a recent accomplishment.
Personalize this. Were they #1 on Producthunt? Featured in Forbes? Close a significant seed round? Do some digging to find out what they’ve been up to.
Ace this formula, and you’ll be golden. Cold pitching will arm you in ways you couldn’t imagine. For me, it was how I landed my first clients at $250 an article.
I had zero experience. No portfolio. No references.
This is the power of a good cold pitch.
Nope, I’m not letting you do this to yourself. This is too good for you to skim over.
Read the cold pitching template and make an effort. It works. Trust me. 📬
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading. I hope you found this useful!
Have any feedback or suggestions? Please, do tell! I always love to hear from you.
And if you do use this cold pitching template, let me know! I am always here to help you tweak it and would love to hear your success stories.
And hey, if you liked this newsletter, it would mean the world if you shared it with others (or subscribe if you aren’t already!)
Have an amazing week,