My current fascination is on the writing process – for noteworthy authors, for bloggers, and for myself. How do writers produce such high quality content? What separates my writing from other big blogs such as Wait But Why or Seth Godin?
Both Tim Urban (from Wait But Why) and Seth Godin are accomplished writers. It's hard to get an exact number for readership, but both have roughly half a million subscribers on Feedly (not too shabby!). But how did they start? Looking at where they are now isn't useful. Looking at where they came from – if we can even glimpse back at this – is where we would find our answer.
Seth alludes to his own creative process in his book The Practice, named after the creative development process of the same name. And I think it's a key one: deliberately practice your craft constantly. Stephen King has been quoted that he aims to write ten pages a day, every day. Seth publishes a blog post every single day (him doing that was inspiration for my 30 day challenge where I did the same).
This is a great look at the macro level, and with any skill you want to work on in general: deliberate practice every day. But what about the micro level?
I think a good starting point is David Perell's 50 Days Of Writing newsletter (my notes on it and links to each day are available on my wiki, but consider subscribing to him to support him).
On Day 37, he talks about FAST Writing: an acronym for Find, Assemble, Speak, Teach. In short:
- Always be collecting information that you think is useful for you (perhaps in a system like a second brain)
- When you want to write about a topic, collect the relevant information together from info you've already gathered
- Hash out your thoughts into something more cohesive by having a conversation with somebody about it
- Write (publically!) to help somebody else learn from your research
I like this idea, perhaps because it justifies the countless eons of time I spend reading, researching, and dumping information into my wiki, but I also think it's critical to have done your research before attempting to write about a topic. And this approach pretty much forces you to do that.
What you you think? What do you do hone your craft?
This Week's Wiki Updates
I wrote a little Ruby script to go through my wiki commit logs and generate Markdown links for pages that I changed in the past week so I could easily post it here. Let me know what you think about me including this!