Alexander Boswell

Struggles with mental health and identity

Illustration of author sculpting himself from rock.
Illustration of author sculpting himself from rock.
Illustration by Author

If you walked up to someone on the street and asked them to talk about a time they overcame adversity, they might become quite uncomfortable. But, somehow, it’s pretty normal behaviour to see online—stories of personal heroism, David v Goliath battles with society, truth and self.

I’m no stranger to baring the details of my body and soul for the world to see. When I came out as transgender only a little under a decade ago, it wasn’t as common a thing as it is now. People were interested in my life story even if just out of pure curiosity.

Despite the sunshine and rainbows present in the LGBTQ+ community, flying the flags wasn’t always a source of pride and joy. …


A useful trick to get into the flow state.

Image of a stack of vinyl records
Image of a stack of vinyl records
Photo by Umberto Cofini on Unsplash

I come from a musical family, and though I was the only one to pursue it at university, most of us can play the piano to some degree and have basic knowledge of music theory. It was this background in music that taught me to appreciate it both emotionally as well as practically. One of the best lessons I learned while studying music was its ability to command emotion and states of mind (and how to manipulate them).

We all sort of know this anyway, right? Hollywood has taught us if we hear some slow piano and violin, something sad is happening. If we hear blaring brass, that typically means some adrenaline-pumping action is about to take place. There’s a whole body of knowledge and professional practice that studies and implements this area of research — music psychology. …


Plus some video marketing tips!

Illustration of author holding a camera towards the viewer
Illustration of author holding a camera towards the viewer
Illustration Courtesy of Author

A little while ago, my brother introduced me to a show on Netflix:

“Hey, you do marketing, right?”
“…yeah?”
“Have you heard of the show Madmen? It’s about those slick marketers of the 60s in America.”

I watched a few episodes, it was alright, but I never got stuck in (though I’m thinking of revisiting). But it did get me thinking. While the medium of branding and advertising has changed quite considerably since the 60s, the human elements remain the same.

That is if you want to build an audience (or customers), you need to be relatable. It’s a no brainer, sure, but I wouldn’t be able to count the times I’ve seen brands communicating at their audience instead of with them. …


Tips from Chris Anderson, Head of TED

Illustration of someone speaking in front of an audience
Illustration of someone speaking in front of an audience
Illustration Courtesy of Author

At this point, TED Talks have become a household name. After taking over and making it a nonprofit in 2001, Chris Anderson managed to turn TED into the juggernaut it is today.

TED Talks have been viewed over two billion times, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The world will always need great ideas, and TED’s motto, “ideas worth spreading”, certainly showcases their dedication to the cause.

The Talks are famous for being able to concisely take us through an idea in a way most people understand and help us come away feeling enlightened. But what if you’re not much of a public speaker? …


Malcolm Gladwell on the secret stories of success

Photo of a man playing guitar with an old brick wall background
Photo of a man playing guitar with an old brick wall background
Photo by MITCH BOEHN on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered why some people are more successful than others? How the likes of Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller became so much more successful in their fields than people who were just as good as them?

Did you put it down to natural talent? It turns out, while talent does have a degree of contribution to success — on its own, it’s not that important. But we already sort of know that deep down, right? But why?

Recently I finished reading a book called ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’ by Malcolm Gladwell, who helps us navigate the roadmap of the successful ‘Outliers’. In the short, but incredibly engaging read, Gladwell takes you on a journey looking at the patterns that emerge from people in all different kinds of industries: from scientists to computer programmers like Bill Gates to rock stars like The Beatles. …


You might have noticed some delays

Hi again Brave Writers! It’s me, Alexander Boswell.

This week has been a little quiet on our front with the academic term coming back into full swing as well as some behind the scenes illnesses. As a result, we’ve been a little slow sometimes in responding to private notes, publishing and posting articles on Twitter (we tried automating this but it was a bit nightmarish — if you have any automation tips let us know!).

So if you’ve noticed things taking a little longer, I’m sorry for the delays.

But enough of that, let's get down to business.

We’re almost ready to finalise our new writers' application process as well as giving our Submission Guidelines an update. Next weeks newsletter will summarise both of these changes in more detail. …


It gets better.

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration of the author with teenage self. Courtesy of Author.

Being transgender is just as confusing for me to understand as it is for you. Trust me. Beyond the socio-political context of being transgender, I do often wonder what has gone on in my brain or body to have wrought gender-dysphoria in the first place.

Even so, life is what it is. Thankfully I live somewhere in the world that has been able to provide me with medical assistance and therapy to help me live as comfortably as possible.

Now I’m on the other side of transition (which, in truth, never really ends), I can honestly say it feels as though I have already lived two different lifetimes. …


When you’re not feeling inspired, try these

Illustration of a fountain pen tip on a yellow background
Illustration of a fountain pen tip on a yellow background
Illustration Courtesy of Author

Sometimes you wake up and go to sit at your desk, fire up your device of choice, open up your editor, face the white screen and — blank. You might find you didn’t even make it that far.

Maybe your brain psyched you out of sitting down to face the work altogether.

I can tell you; you’re not broken. It happens to everyone. If you ever meet someone who says they’ve never struggled with the feeling of demotivation or a creative block, they’re either lying or not human — cue the X-Files tune.

So what do you do when you’re not feeling up to the task? When motivation appears to have eluded you at that moment? …


And how you can use it for your writing

Illustration of author with thought-bubble above his head contain logos of popular apps and Notion
Illustration of author with thought-bubble above his head contain logos of popular apps and Notion
Illustration Courtesy of Author
Disclaimer: This article is NOT affiliated with Notion. There are no affiliate links included.

What is Notion?

Notion.so is both a web app plus a software app you can download. It’s a little difficult to summarise what it is in one neat sentence though because it has so many possibilities. In their words:

“As a first step, we are blending much of your workflow into an all-in-one workspace. Want a task list? A product roadmap? A design repository? They are now all in one place. You can even customize your own workspace from dozens of LEGO-style building blocks.

Solve your problems your way, bounded only by your imagination.” …


Our Slack group launch and other news

Hey Brave Writers,

It’s one of your editor’s here, Alexander Boswell.

We’ve had a pretty interesting and busy week here at The Brave Writer, particularly with the launch of our community Slack group!

In the group, we’ve been sharing stories from across Medium as well as talking about Medium strategy. The space is available for both writers and readers who want to share stories, provide or seek feedback as well as share any ideas you have for helping this community grow!

We’re also creating a new feature called ‘Community Pick’, where you as a community can vote in the Slack group for your favourite Brave Writer story of the week to be featured!

About

Alexander Boswell

Aspiring polymath | Marketing Academic | He/Him | polymathing.dev

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