Why Everyone Should Write for Positive Peer Pressure

Long before michael saminsky and I had the idea for Positive Peer Pressure, we were just a pair of friends who like enjoyed posing together for photos.

Dear michael saminsky,

More than six months ago, we started Positive Peer Pressure (P3 — pronounced “p cubed” even though medium doesn’t do superscript :-( ) because we both felt like we had something important to say to the world but were struggling to find the courage to put our ideas out there. We decided that starting a blog together and writing with only each other in mind as the intended reader would help us overcome the fear of judgment by strangers on the internet. If we each got value out of each other’s writing, then that was all the mattered and each other’s positive feedback was enough to post it online for everyone to read. That was the premise behind P3, and it was working well for the first couple months before we lost momentum and fell off the bandwagon.

Writing is so important to my family that my Mom even wrote and self-published a children’s book about her mom, my Bubby, the English teacher (available on Amazon for those interested).

Long before I first got on the writing bandwagon, I grew up telling myself I wasn’t a good writer. Writing didn’t come as easily to me as math, and I disliked it and discounted its value for a long time. But writing was in my family; my Bubby was an English teacher, and my mother an English major. Still, from when I learned to write in elementary school until junior year of high school, I didn’t respect writing or have anything to say.

That all changed the first day of my junior year of high school when I met my English teacher, Mr. Chinosi. He flipped everything I knew about writing upside down and transformed me into a writer in the process.

Up until that year, the essays I wrote for school were written in one rambling stream of consciousness written as quickly as possible until the assigned number of pages were reached, never mind the logical flow or clarity of the writing. Mr. Chinosi refused to accept that work. He taught us that you start writing only after you have something to say, and that the length of every writing assignment is “as long as it needs to be.” I thought he was crazy at first, but he won me over by helping me discover that I loved writing. Under his guidance, I came to treasure the joy of an idea well expressed. For the first time, I noticed improvement in my writing skills and this began to crack the foundation of the story I told myself that I was a bad writer.

My senior year high school and for four college, I wrote more and more for history, philosophy, science writing, and fiction classes. I even started writing in my free time — opinion articles for the The Tech, creative writing, and about my experience wrestling. I worked for more than a year on my wrestling story, and the process made me start trying to convince other people to share their own Wrestling Stories. The more I wrote, the more I came to value my own voice and want to share it with other people. I began to nurse the dream of starting a regular blog, but it was so scary and fragile that I didn’t act on the dream for more than two years until you shared with me that you had the same dream. Together we came up with the idea for Positive Peer Pressure.

We started Positive Peer Pressure because we both felt like we had something important to say to the world but were struggling to find the courage to put our ideas out there.

Since we implemented the idea for P3 this past spring, we’ve gotten strong positive feedback from our friends and networks about our writing, and the friends we’re asked to do guest posts had similar experiences. We both believe we are onto something special, and that we are ready to share this opportunity with as many people as possible. That’s why I am writing this letter to you to encourage you to invite as many of your friends, family, and connections to write letters for P3.

We want people to write letters specifically because we believe this format best captures what makes Positive Peer Pressure different from other blogs and places to publish writing. P3 is all about using the support of a friend to discover the courage within you to share your ideas. Writing a letter to a friend lets you focus on pleasing just one single reader rather than potential critics, haters, and trolls. Knowing that your friend values your writing and getting their blessing helps you then share your writing with the wider world, while emphasizing the context of its intended reader. Every good writer writes with an intended reader in mind, and a letter is the most explicit version and logical conclusion of this essential element. We believe letters are the natural evolution and future of this blog.

Writing a letter to a friend lets you focus on pleasing just one single reader rather than potential critics, haters, and trolls.

We hope this change will resonate with our friends and readers and inspire them to start writing their own open letter. I will be personally reaching out to family and friends in the coming days, weeks, and months, but I also want to invite anyone else reading this letter who wants to join us to contact me and get started today. We’re on a mission to build an inclusive, positive community that recognizes writing as a personal gift to be treated as sacred through the blessing of Positive Peer Pressure. We need your help.

Our vision is a place with millions of regular writers sharing their work and helping others find their voice. We can start with just ten writers who believe in our mission, and by growing to 100 and then 1000, we’ll be well on our way.

Time to get started!

Sam Shames

(Why) You Should Write a Letter Positive Peer Pressure

  1. Your story is valuable. You has something to say worth sharing, and that writing is one of the best ways to do so.
  2. You’re afraid of sharing because of potential negative and critical feedback, but you’ll see the only feedback that matters is the judgment of your friend.
  3. You’ll discover and strength the courage to express your idea and be vulnerable by confidently knowing your friend will provide positive feedback and be supportive.

(How) P3 Writing Process Works

  1. You pick a close friend or member of the P3 community who you know would benefit from hearing what you have to say and tell them you’re planning on writing them a letter on your subject of choice. (Bonus points if you give them a date by which you will ship the letter.)
  2. You write your letter, and focus only on pleasing your friend. You use that focus to persevere in the face of the fear of judgment, and you get the writing done.
  3. You share your letter with your friend and get their positive feedback. You work with your friend to make revisions and edits until you both agree it is ready to share with everyone.
  4. You can your friend’s final blessing and publish it to the wider internet
  5. You can positive feedback from the P3 community and beyond and are inspired to write more letters and invite more writers to join the fun.
  6. Repeat Step 1

(What) New Letters Every Saturday

  1. Read our letters each week (and subscribe if you want)!
  2. Share our letters with your friends (even a one minute Facebook post)!
  3. Write a letter (you know you should)!