Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.
I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.
Today we get to meet Alexandra Franzen!
Alexandra, take it away!
How are you changing the world?
(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)
I’ve been a professional writer for about 10 years. I write about lots of topics – creativity, motivation, personal growth, relationships, and love, for starters. I write novels, personal stories, and essays – plus lots of articles, speeches, and educational materials that various clients/companies hire me to do.
As a writer, one of the messages that echoes continually through my work is: “TODAY IS NOT OVER YET.” It’s a message that I want to share, and share, and share, in a thousand different ways, with as many people as possible. It’s a message that I often need to hear, and re-hear, myself.
No matter what time it is, and no matter how badly your day has gone so far, it is NEVER too late to do something kind, creative, and beautiful for yourself, or for someone else. It’s never too late to turn things around. It’s never too late to create a positive ripple effect in the world. It’s never too late to write one “thank you” note, or drink a glass of water, or exercise for 5 minutes, or call your mom for a long-overdue chat. Things can change right now… if you say so.
I try to model the “TINOY” message through my writing, but also through my daily actions. It’s a mantra that I say to myself, almost every single day!
What challenges your heart in that journey?
Feeling overscheduled and overwhelmed. If I feel like I’m drowning in too many projects, I start to wither inside.
What inspires you to keep going?
That feeling I get when an email pops into my inbox and someone says, “You don’t know me, but I love your writing, and that one thing you said really made my day better…” I love those moments. Knowing that I’m “helping” someone, even just one person, feels so incredible. That’s my fuel to keep going.
How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?
What nourishes and replenishes you?
I’m a simple gal! I love the basics: sleep, sex, water, good food, a long sweaty run or weight lifting session, or a walk through the woods. If I’ve got the basics handled, I typically feel pretty terrific.
How do you experience care within community?
How do others support you in your journey and practice?
I invest in services that make my life awesomer. For example, I hire a housekeeper to “deep clean” my bathroom and kitchen every other month or so. I pay (happily) for yoga and fitness classes at beautiful studios. I hired a professional accountant this year (finally!) and that has cleared a lot of stress out of my life. Everyone needs a “village,” you know?
Also, I’m blessed with a small, tight-knit group of friends who support me 100% and genuinely want me to succeed with all of my goals, and vice versa. I have about 5 peeps that I can email any day, any time, and I know that whatever I say, they’re going to respond with, “We believe in you and we love you.” I’m so grateful for those relationships. I couldn’t make it without ’em.
What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?
Be focused and disciplined. If your goal is to write one “thank you” note per week, schedule the time and really do it. If your goal is to launch an after-school mentoring program for kids, schedule the time and really do it.
The word “discipline” sometimes gets a bad reputation, but I think it’s a beautiful word. It’s like devotion. It’s like meditation. Apply yourself seriously and wholeheartedly to whatever task you’ve chosen. Focus and do it. You’ll feel so proud of yourself for keeping the promises that you’ve made to yourself and to the world.
Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.
I want to live in a world where… emails are short, love letters are long, and people stare into each others’ eyes instead of just smartphones screens. Heaven, right?
Alexandra Franzen is a writer based in Portland, Oregon. She lives with her partner Brandon and a very pretty fish named RuPaul.
How to connect:
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