Real Friends

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

As I enter a new season of my life, I am finding it important to evaluate which people are my true friends and which are acquaintances. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed it gets harder to make new friends because people have busy lives. This is especially true if they move away, get married or have some other relationship change, or if they have kids.


When I do take the time to meet new people, I like to evaluate whether they might become true friends, or if they will remain acquaintances. There is nothing wrong with having acquaintances. These people can be fun to do things with every once in a while, and you might see them around at events and it could be nice to have people to say hi to.


True friends, while harder to find than acquaintances, are totally worth the investment, in my opinion. I recently made a list of the qualities that I am looking for when I make new friends and reconnect with old ones.


I encourage you to think about the qualities you are looking for in your friends. Do you want them to be reliable? Is it important that they understand and accept factors of your identity or life situation?


Have you made a list of criteria for evaluating whether someone might be a true friend? What happened? How did it help you? I would love to find out, so feel free to leave me a comment!


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Qualities of an Ideal Boss

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

This week, I have been thinking a lot about leadership. I have realized that as I’ve gotten older, it is easier for me to be led by people who have personality types that I had found difficult to work with in the past. I think this is because I have thought a lot about the qualities that make a supervisor ideal for me, and I will not work for someone unless they display those qualities. For me, they are:


• Self-aware: I enjoy working for people who are aware of not only their strengths, but the areas in which they need to grow.

• Motivated: I work best under people who are motivated to see a project through to the end.

• Goal oriented: I work really well under people who know what needs to be done and have goals and benchmarks set to get us there.

• Vulnerable: I excel under people who can be vulnerable, and who can allow others to be vulnerable, about their failings, feelings, and frustrations.

• Encouraging: I perform my best under people who are encouraging and supportive.


I encourage you to think about the qualities that make an ideal supervisor for you. In order to make that list, are there some examples you can point to in your life of people who can lead well?

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The Power of The Perfect Question

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett


Last night, I was chatting with one of my friends about a past situation in my life, and she asked the perfect question. I won’t share what it was because of the personal nature of the situation, but it got me thinking about how important questions are to our growth and development. I came up with this list of questions you can use to ponder what question you need to be asked most. (I know, a list of questions about questions; so meta!)


  • What is the question you most need to hear right now?
  • What one question has had the greatest impact on your life trajectory?
  • What question would, if answered, help you determine your next action steps toward a better future?
  • What question do you wish someone would ask you?
  • What question has come up repeatedly throughout your life?
  • What is the question you hope to answer by living your life?
  • What question could help you become the best version of yourself?
  • What questions do others ask you to help them answer?
  • How do you feel about questions? Love them? Hate them? Indifferent?
  • What is your best method for answering questions? On paper? By pressing record and verbally processing? By quietly reflecting and then bouncing ideas off of friends?


The question I was asked last night has the promise of leading me down a journey of self-discovery. I hope the questions in your life do the same for you, and that you have people who can ask you the hard ones.


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Reflections on my Writing, Part 3

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett


Here is the third and final part of my essay about writing. Enjoy!


I feel my writing has become varied and diverse, and I discover more new surprises about it the more I write. Writing every day has been a wonderful challenge for me, and I hope I can continue the practice. I may skip a day or two here and there, but when I do, I don’t feel complete again until I have written something new. Topics and ideas abound, and it is my hope that I’m able to explore as many as possible. Even if I never get published again, I know I will continue to write. Writing releases me, teaches me about who I am as a person, and helps me reflect on how those around me impact my life.


So, sit down, pull out your notebook or laptop, and reflect on your writing. Here are some questions to get you started.


  • Why do you write what you write?
  • How has your writing process changed over time?
  • Are there some aspects of your writing life you’d like to change or improve?
  • What do you struggle with as a writer?
  • What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in your writing so far?


These are just a few of the questions you could ask yourself. Take a few minutes to explore who you are as a writer. You never know what you’ll find out, and chances are, you’ll be glad you took the time to get to know yourself, and you’ll discover gifts and secrets within your writing you never knew existed.


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Reflections on my Writing, Part 2

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett


Here’s the next part of the essay on writing. Enjoy!


Finding inspiration used to be one of the biggest road-blocks for me. I used to just write whenever the mood struck, but that wasn’t nearly enough to justify writing every day. Fortunately, I discovered “Naming the World,” by Bret Anthony Johnston. The book is packed with writing prompts and exercises on every topic pertaining to writing, from starting stories, to character development, to point-of-view and tone. Without the prompts to spark my muse, I’d still be sitting at my keyboard, waiting for her to show up.


As for word-count, I try to write at least 500 words per day. The guideline gives me something to push for, yet it is attained easily enough to not be an arduous rule. This is necessary as I am still adjusting to having the full-time job I started in January, which doesn’t leave me much time to write.


As with anything, maintaining balance is most challenging. I love to write, but I love to read as well—fiction and nonfiction alike. I have also decided I want to research getting an MFA in fiction, so research—not to mention applying to prospective programs—cuts into my available time. I try to write a short piece or poem each night, because I can usually spare an hour or two in the evenings for my personal pursuits, and sometimes I’ll have gained ideas or inspiration throughout the day. Then, I might read a bit of nonfiction—mostly pertaining to the craft of writing. While I’m lying in bed at night, I’ll break out a novel or collection of short stories and read a chapter or story—or two. I also read fiction while on the bus traveling to and from work, which, in addition to making my commute more interesting, buys me a little more time to write each day.


The one area which still lacks a time-slot in my schedule right now is seeking potential places to publish my work. I have the resources—I’ve gotten a few books that list literary magazines and publishing houses—but I haven’t put much effort into setting a time to do market research. Part of that might be a confidence issue. I keep wondering why anyone would want to read my writing. All writers have this problem, though, so once I get back into a critique group—and into a network of supportive fellow writers who know the struggles and set-backs writers face—I think it might be easier to have faith in my pieces as potentially-publishable works.


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Reflections on my Writing, Part 1

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett


This month, I’m posting pieces of an essay I wrote back in 2013. In these pieces, I reflect on my writing process. Many of the ideas in these posts are still true today. Enjoy!


I’m proud to say I’ve been writing every day for over a month—a practice I used to say I didn’t have time for in the past. This practice has forced me to write in more than one genre, switching between genres without more than a day between each switch. I used to focus on one genre at a time—either the novel I was working on, or a class in poetry at my high school, or personal essay when I took the “Creative Nonfiction” course at the university I attended. I never thought I would be able to switch from one genre to another so quickly, only dependent on what I felt like writing that day. I feared at first that the uncertainty of what style I would write in each day would bother me, but I found that I express myself differently depending on the genre in which I am writing. I feel that commenting on these different methods of expression, as well as on my writing process itself, will help me to get to know myself better, and in turn, will help me continue to grow as a writer.


My fiction is the place where I explore things that are as far from reality as possible. Fantasy is my escape, and almost all my characters pop in and out of mirrors, change into wolves during the full moon, or haunt people after death. I’ve tried to write “normal” fiction, but unless there’s some element of the weird in it, I just don’t feel passion for the story. My fiction is very character-driven, so without passion, the story doesn’t really go anywhere. I rarely write about scene; describing things is a chore for me. I don’t know if this is because it is difficult to describe things as a totally blind writer, or if I really just don’t care all that much about what things look like—I just want to tell the story. I can tell I’m growing as a fiction writer because when I reread stories I’ve written in the past, I’m able to find areas on which to expand and sentences to improve. I used to hate revision; whatever I had written, I had written, and I usually didn’t change anything. I’m glad to see this growth in myself, as most of writing involves editing and revision. It’s a necessary part of the craft.


Poetry is the genre in which I feel the most free to express my emotions about the happenings in my life, whether it’s a romance ending, a fight with a friend, or how I respond to situations in life as a blind person. Most of my poems are non-rhyming and non-stylistic, which gives me the freedom to just say what I want and not worry about form. I really enjoy automatic writing—just writing whatever comes to mind—and revising and organizing the pieces later. I don’t use much imagery or simile in my poems; I just write what is. My poems aren’t cryptic, and if a reader knows me at all—or has a general idea of what I’m going through personally—it isn’t hard to figure out what my poems are about, or what events might have triggered the poetry. I’m not used to being so autobiographic and emotional in my writing, but reflecting on my emotions through poetry—the rhythm and musicality of it—helps me release the feelings in a constructive, reflective way.


My personal essays and creative nonfiction pieces are mostly about people. I write about how they have affected my life, and how I think differently because of having met them. My favorite pieces to write while I was in journalism school were personality profiles. From there, I started thinking not only about what people did—which is generally the focus of the personality profile—but about how these doings impacted the lives of others. It was easiest to do this by thinking about the people who affected my own life, from the toughest professor I had in college, to the scholarship mentor at a convention. The idea resonated with me, so I just continued to consider people in that context. I’ve tried to write about stand-alone issues, but I have a hard time separating myself from my essays—that is, writing about the issue without getting too emotional and going on a long, tangential rant—so I have decided to stick with personal experiences and encounters with people until I feel ready to tackle the issues and ideas themselves.


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Reflections on The 4-Hour Workweek: Requirements for a 4-Hour Workweek Career

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett


Since I owe a lot of my success—and future planning—to the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I have decided to revisit the book each quarter in 2022. Here are my thoughts in quarter three. I hope this inspires you to pick up a book that helps you live your dreams. Enjoy!