i'm xandra robinson-burns,

Writer & the Protagonist of Heroine Training

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a real-life fantasy world

a real-life fantasy world

When I was fifteen, I visited Oxford for the first time. I was enchanted by the place that inspired Narnia, Wonderland, and Middle Earth (to name a few), and made it my mission to return one day as a student. ✨

And so I did. I moved across the pond for an undergraduate degree in English at the University of Oxford. 📚Living in this magical place shaped me as a writer, of course, but also as a mini adventurer.

Oxford taught me to seek portals to fantasy worlds, wherever I am. 🗝 I was surprised to find little hints of magic even outside this wondrous little city – as far away as the familiar suburbs that I came from.

Going to Oxford was the first big thing that I knew for certain I really really wanted. I worked as hard as I could, and developed a personal process for achieving my dreams. It was also the only thing that I sought with unquestioned fervour. Once I arrived I learned what it was like to live my dream on a daily basis. What’s left when I have everything I ever wished for? 🤷🏻‍♀️

At Oxford I got to write essays, over and over again, for three years. They were academic, literary essays, but I loved the medium nonetheless, and what I learned about my writing process holds up today. In my final year, the focus shifted more towards performing well on exams, and I could feel the dreamy part of the place fading away. I knew that I needed a personal project to fill me up with inspiration on top of my degree, so I founded my first website: Fashionably Light. 💗

Fashionably Light

Fashionably Light

Iwas obsessed with minimalism, first in theory, and when it came to moving across the ocean, I adopted it in practice. I was very much a fan of not having to lug so much stuff through Heathrow Airport several times a year. ✈️ I was also still learning how to reconcile that with my colourful, feminine lifestyle, when all the examples I saw online were in black and white.🌷

During my third year at university, I published a blog post every day. I gave myself a daily deadline, and a maximum of 150 words. 📖I look back at many of these posts with reverence – wow, I was so wise. I look back at others like eek what was I thinking. I’ve kept all of them there, the brilliant blogs and the cringe-y ones, alike. They’re all part of my heroine’s journey, and it’s pretty cool to have such a comprehensive log of my consciousness. 💖

After graduating I did what I saw other minimalist writers doing online. I published an ebook about minimalism. I had so much to say about simplicity and decluttering, it all spilled out. But something was missing. I kept asking myself why it’s important to declutter, why I was compelled to be A Minimalist. The answer I settled on is this: to be my own heroine. When I clear away the clutter, when I’m left with only what I truly love, I am my own heroine. So Fashionably Light became Heroine Training. 👑



Fun Fact: As a senior in high school, I loved writing college essays. 😆 I loved doing SAT practice essays. And I loved Ralph Waldo Emerson.

For years I searched for the perfect copy of Emerson’s essays. I finally found it on display at Brickback Books in Philadelphia during a wander with my friend Grace (we recount this story on our podcast, The Art Life). In the Introduction, Irwin Edman defines ‘the essay’ as an artform:

‘The essay is an adventure in ideas, an exploration of a theme, a sortie of reflection… The essay is an idea reflected through a personal medium.’ 📜

How exciting is that?!

Each of my essays is an adventure in ideas, an in-depth exploration of my personal experience, in the present moment. I am obsessed with gathering inspiration from whatever piques my interest: in books, on tv, from my travels. I understand myself through what I enjoy for fun, and write about everything from Marvel movies to Middle English (I mean check out this literary life hack from 2013).

i believe…

  • fiction is not an escape – it’s a way through.
  • there is wisdom and something to learn in everything you do for fun.
  • we must be the heroines of our own stories.

start here

Press play to enjoy A PLAY IN THREE ACTS, a free audiobook by Xandra Robinson-Burns.

listen to:

Art Life Podcast Art

the art life

What if art were less about goals and more about living? Valuing process over product, Xandra and Grace explore what it means to be an artist in the digital age.

What's your Favorite Part Podcast Art

What's your favorite part?

Xandra and her sister Junie talk character development and the wisdom in what we watch for fun. They cover female-centric and feel-good films & tv, with a gentle focus on representation.

Everyday Wonderland Art

go down the rabbit hole

find wonder where you already are, away from screens.



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