Case Study:

Shanu Mathew

“After taking the course, you realize that there isn’t some black box that separates you and your favorite writers. You can achieve the same result if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.”

  • My personal newsletter is The Balance  
  • One of my favorite blogs/online writers is Tim Urban, creator of Wait But Why
  • Best book I’ve read recently is Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
  • My current job title is High Yield Credit Associate at THL Credit

Why did you first sign up for Write of Passage?

I am an avid reader and always had such admiration for my favorite online writers, but always thought it was something of a pipe dream for myself. I thought, “I don’t have the background, the expertise, the connections.” WoP was marketed as a way to demystify the inner workings of how all your favorite online writers approach their craft and show that you can do it too — with hard work and practice, of course. 

What did you like most about the course? 

I most enjoyed the instruction videos that broke down David’s writing process The videos explained the “why” of writing (age of leverage, serendipity vehicle, etc.), provided a systematic approach to creating your own writing framework, and explained the benefits and possibilities of launching your own writing career. Another benefit was meeting a bunch of other intellectually curious folks that were interested in a lot of the same topics as me.

What’s your #1 takeaway or lesson learned from WoP?

The #1 lesson I took away from WoP was the realization that writing sharpens your thinking and mental clarity unlike anything else I’ve come across. In a world where there is infinite information at your fingertips, attention and time are your most precious resources. Most of the systems around us are built to distract you, provide meaningless dopamine hits, or inundate your mind with useless information. Writing has forced me to think about the most productive use of my time – reading and writing about the topics that resonate with me the most. 

“Writing has forced me to think about the most productive use of my time – reading and writing about the topics that resonate with me the most.”

A second takeaway is the cost-benefit of writing is asymmetric: one great idea/piece/stream of consciousness can open up so many doors for you that otherwise would never be open. This could include connecting with a mentor, discovering a niche community, getting new subscribers, etc. Meanwhile, your bad ideas simply fade into the background without any negative cost to you, other than the time and effort put in.

What surprised you about the course?

After taking the course, you realize that there isn’t some black box that separates you and your favorite writers. Your favorite writers have just taken these steps ahead of time, put in the effort through hours of dedication, and refined their processes over the years. You can achieve the same result if you are willing to put in the time and effort.

“The cost-benefit of writing is asymmetric: one great idea/piece/stream of consciousness can open up so many doors for you that otherwise would never be open.”

How has Write of Passage impacted your creative output?

WoP has encouraged me to share more of my insights with the world and be comfortable writing longer-form pieces. Before Write of Passage, I mostly just shared other people’s work and maybe included a personal thought or two. WoP gave me the confidence to believe in my own work and create a process for sharing my ideas, which leads to better ideas in the world through the process of discussion, soliciting differing opinions, and feedback.

Have you seen new opportunities as a result of your writing?

I have been able to grow my newsletter subscriber base as a result of publishing more. I plan to write a few more long-form pieces that will appeal to people that work in my industry. Fingers crossed!

What advice would you give to a new Write of Passage student?

Use the course and interactions with classmates as accountability. If you half-ass the class, you won’t get the results. I remember for one of the first assignments, I admittedly threw together a last-second document and David’s feedback was along the lines that “the lack of effort in organizing your thoughts was apparent and as a result, the reader cannot be expected to take this work seriously”. That really struck a chord with me and for the rest of the course, I made the assignments a priority and poured in a lot more effort. The results spoke for themselves as I was able to generate higher quality work throughout the remainder of the course. Write of Passage gave me a reason to prioritize writing tasks that I otherwise would have pushed to the side.