“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” - Neil Gaiman
And happy 50th to this newsletter!
If you’ve been here for a while, you know I’m not big on celebrating milestones (like birthdays.) But I thought this one was worth acknowledging.
I published my first newsletter on March 28, 2022, as I was wrapping up my first Write of Passage Cohort. I hadn’t written anything since college, had never published anything online, and had no real internet presence.
Also, and perhaps most noteworthy, I had no desire to be a writer. I simply saw it as a way to dip my toe into any topic I desired without uprooting my career and family. And maybe, just maybe, discover something out there that was looking for me as much as I was it (still looking).
After publishing that first newsletter, I honestly had no idea if there would be a second. And I’ve felt pretty much the same way after each successive edition. So, the fact that I’m sending out number fifty feels a little surreal.
One thing is certain. I wouldn’t be here without many of the amazing people I have met through my Write of Passage experience. The support I have received from many of them has helped me get from one to fifty. Whether it has been discussing ideas with me, liking and commenting on my newsletter, or just writing things that inspire me to continue my journey. Some may not even realize how much they have helped, but just reading their newsletters has had a huge impact on me.
So, to celebrate the big 5-0, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite editions of this newsletter, but then also some of my favorites from those who have supported and inspired me.
Remember, these are some of my favorites, not necessarily what others liked.
Newsletter #9 (America’s Gun Problem is a Political System Problem and Newsletter #48 (Not Even News)
When I began writing, I didn’t envision myself writing about politics or wandering anywhere close to that arena. But two things that I care deeply about are climate change and stricter gun laws. Both topics are highly politicized, so it can be difficult to write about either without politics rearing its ugly head.
Both of these were written shortly after school shootings here in the U.S. The first after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last May and the second after the recent shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. These are two of my favorites because I didn’t hold anything back. If I felt it, it came out.
If you’re easily offended, you may want to skip these.
Newsletter #18 (The Wisdom of a Child) and Newsletter #45 (Being a Parent is Hard)
These made the list because they are about my favorite topics in the world; my daughter and being a dad.
The Wisdom of a Child is about my daughter’s first day of kindergarten and my fear of losing my little girl.
While I was doing my best to help prepare her for her new world, I learned more from her than she did from me.
When I wrote this, it came out smoothly and effortlessly. It was one of those rare instances where I just sat at the computer and wrote everything from start to finish. I didn’t do too much editing to this. It felt right just publishing it as it originally came out.
In Being a Parent is Hard, I wrote about the loss of my daughter’s cat, Buttercup, and how being a parent is both challenging and painful but worth every bit of it.
Newsletter #12 (When the Past Becomes the Present)
This was about returning to the past. A family trip to what had been my favorite place as a child, after 30 years away, had me wondering if it would still be as good as I remembered.
Spoiler alert - it was.
Sometimes, disconnecting from everything can be the solution for almost anything.
Newsletter #15 (Writing Can be Hard)
I like this one because it still resonates with me. Fifty editions in, writing is still a struggle for me, and it’s still not natural for me to sit my ass in front of a computer when I’m not being forced to.
Making myself sit and write on a weekly basis instead of using that time to go for a bike ride, walk my dogs, get an extra workout in, or play with my daughter takes more self-discipline than anything I’ve ever done.
But I’m still here. And so are you. So, Thank You!
Support and Inspiration
There’s no way I can mention each person here who has helped me in some way on this writing journey. But I want to mention a few, and if you’re not on the list, know I appreciate you just as much.
Karena de Souza writes a fantastic newsletter, , focused on the future of work. That’s a broad topic, and she approaches it from many angles, but two recurring themes in her writing are climate change and parenting. Both of which I care deeply about.
She is also one of the nicest and most encouraging people you will ever meet.
My favorite newsletter edition of hers is Mind the ..Generations.. Gap. It is an excellent, in-depth look at how we are in a transition period in our world and our work and what we can do to prepare our children for that transition.
Michelle Varghoose is everywhere all at once. Between her own newsletter, and podcast to other people’s newsletters and podcasts, and even as part of some online courses and communities, including Write of Passage.
I’m not the first to say this, but Michelle is always one of the first to like a newsletter edition, comment on a tweet, and offer great feedback on a draft. She’s super talented and super generous at the same time.
My favorite edition of her newsletter is Rearranged Marriage. It’s a light-hearted look at returning to the dating scene that will have you laughing out loud.
You should also check out the Build a Wealthy Spirit podcast she does with her sister. My favorite episode is the one on perfectionism, but they are all really good and worth a listen.
Rick Lewis's comments on others’ newsletters are the most thoughtful and well-thought-out comments you will find. He goes above and beyond to connect with whatever message you are delivering and then give thoughtful feedback on it.
His newsletter,, is more of the same. His stories never cease to amaze me and always tie back to some meaningful or profound message. Not to mention he has to have lived one of the most interesting lives I’ve ever heard of. The most interesting thing of all is his long career as a street performer and public speaker, despite being an introvert.
I am as introverted as they come, and when I listen to the things he’s done, I can’t imagine myself doing them in any way, shape, or form. But his stories, which are as encouraging as they are interesting, always keep me coming back for more.
My favorite issue of his is Stop. Holding. Back. An issue about facing our fears and doing all that we are capable of.
Charlie Bleecker writes her newsletter, , under a pseudonym which helps her write with the no-bullshit style she has mastered. I love that approach, and although I don’t use a pseudonym, I want to write as though I do.
Reading Charlie’s newsletter helps remind me to do just that.
My favorite is Issue 154.
This entire issue is gold, and its attitude is a perfect example of why I love Charlie's writing.
“Then my neighbor told me about this place called Kirkland’s. “They have so many wreaths, and they’re cheap!”
I nodded my head vigorously. “I’ll have to check that out!”
What was I doing??! I don’t even like wreaths!!”
Nodding vigorously and going along with someone’s shit, so I look like less of an asshole, or just so I can avoid more conversation, describes half my life.
Sandra Yvonne was one of the first subscribers to my newsletter. And back when there were literally a handful of people reading it, she was always there with a like and supportive comment. And for that, I will always be grateful.
Likewise, I have followed Sandra’s writing since the first issue of her newsletter,, and it’s one of my favorites that I subscribe to. She is an artist with words and is unbelievably creative with her newsletter.
You never know exactly what you will get, but at the same time, you do. You know it will be genuine, make you think, and flow like an amazingly choreographed ballet.
It’s REALLY tough for me to pick a favorite issue of hers, but I’m going with Issue #27 (Tiny Changes & Primary Pleasures.)
It’s an incredible look at life and figuring out what we want out of it and who we want to be in it. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It will leave you with more questions than answers. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Rik van den Berge
I’ve never come away from a conversation with Rik where I didn’t feel like I had resolved something. I had Rik in one of my earliest breakout rooms the first time I took Write of Passage, and I remember thinking, “Damn, I think I talked most of the time,” which is unusual for me.
Later, I found out why it was so easy for me to talk so much. Rik is a coach and a damn good listener. He can help you solve problems you didn’t realize you had.
And his newsletter,,takes what he knows and puts it into practical, bite-sized pieces for the rest of us to learn. I thoroughly enjoy reading it because I feel like I learn something useful every time.
My favorite issue is Raise yourself. It’s about being a better parent, which I am always striving to do, and how we can do it by focusing on ourselves instead of our children.
I love reading's newsletter, , because I never know what I am going to get, but I know it will be good.
Charlie can write anything, from summaries of others' work to personal stories, fiction, and even philosophical pieces that will leave you thinking.
His newsletter is a great place for inspiration.
My favorite work of Charlie's is his fictional piece, The Masculine Urge to Visit a Psychic Giraffe in Khartoum
I'm not a big fiction reader, but it definitely left me wanting more.
There are plenty of others whose work is as good and has as significant an impact on me, but this newsletter would turn into a book if I mentioned them all. So, I’ll stop there.
Whether I have one more newsletter in me, fifty, or one thousand, I will not have gotten there without other writers like the ones mentioned above. Their work and the support they give by reading my work are priceless.
So, a huge THANK YOU to all those mentioned above and everyone else who reads this thing. I truly appreciate all of you.
I hope you all have a great week!
As always, I would love to hear from you.
If you read something here that resonates with you, leave a comment.
If you would like to discuss something further, shoot me an email.
If there was something you absolutely hated, @ me on Twitter.
And if there is something you think I should be writing about, please let me know.
If you want to see more of my work, visit chasinganswers.co.
Thank you for reading, and if you liked what you read, please share.
Randy, your articles are so easy to read, I loved particularly the one on your daughter going to KG, so many big themes embedded in it. Thanks you for persisting, inspiring
Congrats on 50, Randy!! You've been doing such an amazing job pushing through all your resistance with this online writing journey and getting out of your comfort zone in such a beautiful way with how you've shared personal stuff even when I know that feels weird. I am right there with you!
I'm excited to see you keep going no matter what direction you take Chasing Answers. You have such a specific writing voice, that along with your thoughtfulness, compassion, and humor sold me immediately.
Such raving reviews, what an honor to have your support!