This is a collection of notes and thoughts on my writing process that I’ve picked up on my own journey over the years. If there’s an area that you’d be curious to see me talk about or expand on, let me know!
Finding Your Why
It’s incredibly valuable to be prolific with your writing. It’s hard to do that unless you find and preserve your writing motivation. Without it, all the tools and tricks in the world won’t help you. You need to find your own why so that it can fuel you as you embark on your own writing journey.
- Why Bother? — I found myself in a crisis of questioning: I was writing more than ever, but wasn’t sure exactly why. In this essay, I share the story of how I tackled this difficult question, and embraced the values of learning in public.
- Compound Benefits — Building a body of work to leverage the compound benefits of your writing.
- Peeling the Onion — I’ve come to believe that a big part of why I write is simply to make space for what’s next.
- Publishing Your First Post — Getting started is always challenging. This note shares some thoughts on setting up a blog and writing your very first posts.
- The Power of Feedback — Feedback has the power to inspire and energize us. But it can also lead us astray. We must handle feedback with care, and learn to look to our own instincts for guidance. Especially when we are first getting started, feedback can be an incredibly powerful gift that clarifies and guides our message.
- Flip the Script — I try not to think about audience growth when it comes to my writing. Instead, I look to do things that will help me engage more, learn more, and have more fun. This note is a comprehensive summary of the ideas so far.
Beating Writer’s Block
A big part of writing is constantly fighting our own demons. We have to get past them in order to let our writing come through. Then we have to do it again, and again, and again. You must be prolific with your writing in order to really see its benefits. Focus on building and maintaining your momentum.
- The Burden of Expectation — The biggest obstacle in creative work is the burden of expectation. In the ruthless game of self-criticism, our judgements are binary: everything we make is either perfect or garbage. This is a short post on overcoming creative blocks, and learning to let go.
- My First Stories — How I unblocked myself to start writing my first short stories.
- Overcoming Negativity — When a negative thought penetrates our mind, it can linger for days, weeks or more. Why does negativity hold so much power? How can we overcome it?
Honing Your Craft
- Art of Persuasion — How you can use Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion (Ethos, Pathos, Lagos) to make your writing connect with your audience.
- Science of Storytelling — Use timeless lessons of storytelling such as imagery and animism to bring your writing to life in the reader’s mind.
Choosing the right inputs to feed your thinking is a crucial part of good writing. Be mindful of what you read, and try to fully absorb the material that can fuel your writing. Quality over quantity is a good approach here.
- Bookshelf - Annual posts of my favorite books of the year, and a running thread of every book I’ve read this year.
- Resonance of Writing — What makes a book resonate? Beyond the typical factors (genre, author, etc.), I believe a major factor that is often ignored is timing. You need to be in a place in your life where you are ready to receive the message being presented by the author. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter how good the book is or how many weeks it’s been on the best seller list. The book won’t connect.
- Newsletter + RSS Workflow — My workflow for reading newsletters and RSS feeds, collecting highlights and taking notes from everything I read. This is a crucial part of how I fuel my writing with quality inputs.
I find that reading great books is the best way to learn to write. That said, there are some resources I’ve encountered which are just too full of wisdom to ignore. Here are some of my favorite books and resources on writing: