15/05/2022

What content do I want to create?

After a long and unforeseen hiatus, I finally feel ready to address the causes that prevented me to write and feel creative.

For the longest time, I have felt really stuck about what to write about which, inevitably, prompted me to write less and less. However, I want to figure out why I want to write and what I want to write about as a way to make it become effortless. My goal is to simply open my iPad everyday and start writing a pre-chosen post without having to think more about it than that.


Why do I want to write?

Whenever I am faced with a problem I don't know how to solve, I find that the most essential thing to do is to wonder: what am I doing this for?

Here, I think there are three main reasons why I have the desire to write.

  1. Because I like. I have always liked writing, and I like getting the opportunity to express myself through words.
  2. Because I want to develop my brand, both as a professional and human being. I want to get enough articles out there to contribute to that goal.
  3. Because I think that it might help others. While I tend to believe that “I’m late” and what I do/learn wouldn’t interest other people, I’m confident that sharing my process would prove the contrary; some people might learn or get inspired from it, the same way I was for others.

Subjects I’m interested in

  • Languages
  • Web Development
  • Solving Problems
  • Productivity
  • Mindfulness
  • Learning
  • Best practices
  • Design
  • Accessibility
  • Books
  • Movies / TV / Documentaries
  • Writing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Lifestyle

What usually prevents me to write?

While it’s clearly my desire to write, there are reasons why I haven’t written (or at least published) a word in quite some time. Some of them are:

  • I am a perfectionist. If I know I’m writing something that’s destined to be published I will quite literally stop myself at every word and mutter to myself until I’m confident there is no better formulation from it.
  • I want to please others. I tend to focus a lot on what other people might expect from me. For example:
    • Being a Notion Ambassador, I assumed people would expect me to write a lot about that subject, with expertise and assiduousness,
    • As I want my personal website to be my “business card” on the internet, I feel like recruiters or potential clients would find all non-technical posts (lifestyle, productivity, etc) utterly useless and annoying.
  • I second guess myself a lot. While I know it’s the wrong way to see things, I assume two things that there is no reason to write about subjects that have already been written about. I also tend to assume that I’m wrong about most things unless past experiences made me confident enough to believe the contrary.
  • I tend to believe that what gets published needs to be “finished work” and that once published, it can’t be edited.
  • Of course, and as a consequence of all of this, I tend to think that writing takes a lot of time and mental energy, both of which I usually don’t have much of.

What do I think would make it easier for me to write + publish?

I believe that all problems have related solutions and, despite them being numerous, I finally feel ready to address these challenges. I would like to create a workflow for me to write and publish content and ideas often with as little overthinking as possible involved.

In my opinion, there are 3 main steps involved: planning, writing and publish/sharing; each of which I would like to make frictionless and effortless.

Planning

Usually friction comes from an abondance of choices that quickly make us feel mentally exhausted. One way to avoid that is to make choices in advance! In my personal case, I would love to :

  • Sit down and brainstorm about upcoming subjects once a week.
  • Once I have a list, I want to make some research and draft a basic outline of what the post could look like. It can and will most definitely be subject to changes, but at least it will be a place to start in the next step.
  • After that’s done, I would like to review how the previous week fared; what could be improved in my system or in my approach to a particular subject.

Writing

The most important step and by far the longest; but also the one with the most opportunities of optimizations.

I would like to write at the same time everyday with the exact same process :

  • I sit down with my iPad and some lo-fi music in my ears.
  • I open the toggl app to track the time I will spend writing on that day.
  • I open my writing app pre-filled with the post I need to focus on that day. Ideally, I would like to have multiple consecutive subjects planned, so that I always know what to focus on next.
  • I write for a minimum of 10 minutes. 10 is not much! But it’s the minimum allowed so that, even in my worst day, even if I barely have time or don’t feel in the mood, I could still make it.
  • During these 10 minutes, I’m not allowed to stop or overthink or not inspired. If I feel stuck, I continue writing until the allocated time is over; even if I’m not happy about the quality.
  • If by the end of the time the post is over, then I tag it to symbolize it’s ready to be edited. If not, then I’ll just keep it to continue the next time.

Sharing / Publishing

Once per week, ideally on the week-end, I will take the time to re-read and edit all of the posts written that week and either plan to continue working on them in the upcoming week or upload them to my CMS. The more batching, the better. When it comes to publishing and sharing:

  • Unless decided otherwise, the image will come from Unsplash and be edited/reiszed in Figma.
  • I will write the appropriate meta-title & description without overthinking it.
  • If the article can be cross-posted to another platform like dev.to or hashnode, I will make sure to format it appropriately and carefully use the canonical link.
  • Then click on the “Schedule” button without overthinking it and forget about these posts.

Other related notes

Some other things, rather unrelated, that I think would help to make the whole process effortless.

  • When starting this new workflow, I will write for myself first. Which means, writing about subjects that are enjoyable/easy for me to write in.
  • Articles can be edited, so I will dedicate my energy to them until I’m 80% confident they are okay, not more.
  • On the long run, I’ll implement a system of tags/categories and RSS feeds on the blog to make it easy for any kind of audience to find what they need, while allowing me to write freely about all of my subjects of interests.
  • As much as possible, when writing, I’ll keep it “meta” as a way to reduce the pressure. Basically, the idea is to feel like I’m writing journal entries for myself that just so happen to be open for the world to see.

Finally, just like every system, it's bound to evolve. As such, I'm hoping to learn enough lessons to make it more and more effortless as time will go on.

Last updated: a month ago

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