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I write about writing, ideas, creativity, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher https://www.buymeacoffee.com/paulryburn Twitter: @paulryburn

When you reach a certain point in your writing career, it’s better to write less and aim for quality

hands counting from the number one to the number five
hands counting from the number one to the number five
Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay

One piece of advice new writers hear from writing experts is this: If you want to get serious about writing on this platform, shoot for a set number of times to publish per week. 5 (or even 7) is ideal, but if you can only write a few hours a week, pick a lower number. Pick a number that will stretch you, but which is achievable.

In the beginning, they’ll tell you, quantity matters more than quality. It’s better to publish 5 C-plus pieces a week than it is to aim for one A-plus piece in the same time frame…


Cutting them off sets you free — but what if it leaves you feeling empty?

woman holding palm out in front of her, as though to say “no” or “you’re cut off”
woman holding palm out in front of her, as though to say “no” or “you’re cut off”
Image by Ana Krach from Pixabay

A big part of the reason we keep toxic people around is that we figure we can’t do any better.

Without them in relationships, we worry that we’d be single for life. Without them in friendships, we worry that we wouldn’t have any friends at all.

So we let them trample all over us in a one-sided manner. If we do something that offends the other — which eventually we will do, because we’re all human — we’re expected to atone for our sins. …


Your body may be telling you with less than one word

employee, head on his forehead, sighing, burned out at work
employee, head on his forehead, sighing, burned out at work
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Imagine working in an environment where you don’t belong for years, even decades. Subconsciously, you know you should get out of there, and your body sends you signals many times throughout the workday. Yet you fail to acknowledge them. You fail to hear the message in all those signals you’re sending yourself.

I worked in a field I didn’t enjoy for close to 20 years. I held several different jobs throughout that period. My body sent me the same signal at all of them, although it sent the signal more at some jobs than others.

I missed the signal at…


By someone who has spent the last 20 years of his life as a frequent restaurant and bar patron

Diners and servers at tables in a busy restaurant or bar
Diners and servers at tables in a busy restaurant or bar
Photo credit Hello LightbulbISORepublic

I am so incredibly proud of my restaurant and bar service-industry folks as we come out of the COVID pandemic.

You were hit with reduced seating, limited hours, mandatory food purchases with alcohol, and all sorts of regulations that targeted your industry. You faced surprise inspections, sometimes multiple times a week. You lost employees to jobs in other industries.

And yet, you survived. You’re still here. That’s amazing. I want to see you do really well this year. I want it to be your best year ever.

Recently a general manager of one of my favorite restaurants asked me, “Paul…


Some people don’t understand that friendship is a two-way street — here’s what to do about it

Woman, confused and frustrated by one-sided, unbalanced friendship
Woman, confused and frustrated by one-sided, unbalanced friendship
Girl photo created by freepic.diller — Freepik

Spending time with great friends should leave you feeling emotionally charged — in a positive way. You feel great. You feel like your life is better for having spent time with them.

With some friends, though, that’s not the way it works. After spending time with them, you feel drained. You feel frustrated. You find yourself wondering why you bothered to spend time with them at all.

Some friendships are inherently one-sided. One of the participants will never get to enjoy their full 50% of the friendship as it is constantly dominated by the quirks of the other person.

Today…


And 3 words you need to hear if you put up with their antics

Manipulative duck not taking responsibility for his behavior toward his friend
Manipulative duck not taking responsibility for his behavior toward his friend
Image by Here and now, unfortunately, ends my journey on Pixabay from Pixabay

Do you ever feel like you’re in a one-sided friendship or relationship?

They have glaring faults. Their behavior is atrocious at times. You’ve tried to point it out. But, every time you do, they seem to find a way to get off scot-free while you end up feeling worse than you did before.

It keeps happening over and over again. You let it happen over and over again, thinking, just maybe this time they’ll change. This time they’ll grow into a more mature person.

Yet someday never comes.

Worse still, if you manage to wriggle away from one such person…


How a good-but-not-great talent got paid handsomely — and you can too

Getting paid handsomely — $50 U.S. bills sticking out of a jeans pocket
Getting paid handsomely — $50 U.S. bills sticking out of a jeans pocket
Photo credit MarkgrafMorguefile

Many freelancers and independent contractors find themselves in a seller’s market right now. Numerous companies want their services, are willing to fight to obtain them, and are willing to pay a premium for them.

It’s in the interests of everyone seeking independent contractor work to learn the extent to which companies are willing to compete for their skills. Freelancers need to make sure they get paid every last dollar they deserve — and perhaps some they don’t deserve.

The fiercer the competition, and the more leverage you can dangle in front of the organizations making the offers, the higher your…


The biggest mistake you can make with a narcissist is assuming they think like you do

A statue with its face in the “wrong” direction (upside down)
A statue with its face in the “wrong” direction (upside down)
Image by bernswaelz from Pixabay

The reason this whole “society” thing works is we have a shared value system.

“Right” and “wrong” are concepts that don’t intrinsically exist in the universe. We made them up. We’re able to live together, collaborate together, and progress as a species because we agree that these concepts exist.

It’s generally considered “wrong” to physically harm another person.

It’s considered “wrong” in most cases to lie — especially if lying unfairly damages someone’s reputation.

It’s considered “wrong” in our society to “leave them worse off than you found them” — to walk away from someone in a worse physical or…


I did these in college. You could do them today — or 50 years from now

tutoring session or resume writing session
tutoring session or resume writing session
Image by Nicholas Jackson from Pixabay

“Trade in your hours for a handful of dimes…”
— The Doors, “Five to One”

When it came to summer jobs in between my years of college and later graduate school, I was not going to settle.

I did not want to trade in my hours for a handful of dimes. Not, that is, if someone else was making the schedule. I wasn’t willing to miss out on the big concert because a manager told me I had to stand behind a register and ring up orders from 7 to midnight nightly.

Furthermore, as my learning scaled up, I wanted…

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

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