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The Co-Writers

The community to develop a sustainable writing habit.

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Sipreads

Key takeaways from the best non-fiction books.

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Bouquin

Turn ebooks into websites, in seconds.

Recent Posts

Problem-Solving Writing

Writing is a way to solve problems. If you master it, your words will carry healing powers. Your societal responsibility as a writer is about doing your best to nurture them. How you approach problem-solving in your writings depends on your preferred genre. I like the approach of most self-help books. Each section treats one sub-problem and can be subdivided into four parts. The first part is about stating important facts. Those first principles have to be interesting to your readers: large enough to be acknowledge as an universal truth, but niche enough to be new and exciting to learn. Each f...read more

Eldorados

Reading So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport, I noticed finding a job where you'll flourish is a lot like finding the right place to settle in: you'll never know until you actually move there and put in the work to get to know the environment, the culture, and the people. There is no such thing as landing a dream career or moving in a dream city, we only get to choose average jobs or cities and improve things over time. Some like to think there is an Eldorado that will tick all the imaginary boxes we make up in our little escapist minds. But from my experience, the grass is never green...read more

Consistency and Resilience

Growing a day streak teaches consistency and resilience. As a master streak-breaker who just attained a 500-day streak on Makerlog, I know it all too well. Sticking to the same habits for several days takes planning, discipline, and mental strength. But it's not nearly as important as learning how to get back on track when you fall off the wagon, or as Rudyard Kipling says: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; It takes a different kind of fortitude to rec...read more

On Xenia

Ancient Greek hospitality, called xenia, rests on two principles: hosts must offer food, drinks, entertainments, and shelter to travelers, while guests must be respectful, never abuse the hospitality given to them, and reciprocate it by, for example, telling tales of their adventures. Hospitality used to be sacred, for gods were believed to travel amongst men. Refusing hospitality was offending the gods. Breaking xenia was often the trigger of many myths and stories. Paris taking Helen from his host King Menelaus started the Trojan War, for example. Even though the custom isn't as common as it...read more

Going With The Flow

Most people go with the flow. They let the river of life transport them and easily drown when they encounter rapids. All rivers lead to the ocean, but to go against the current—at least temporarily—is to be human. We live to fight and shape our fate. No matter how absurd traveling upstream might sound, we have to try, for there is no greater pleasure for the Koi fish to challenge the vigor of its own life force. Rivers rarely flow backward. It does happen, but it's unlikely. We can't rely on external circumstances to go where we want to. Even better if one tries to reach the river bank to make...read more

The Price of Freedom

I know many seeking freedom, but few knowing its price. People tend to underestimate it. Time isn't the most expensive thing in the world, because freedom is paid in time, money, and people, in varying quantities. Freedom is built. It requires skills that take years to learn, be good at, and live from—even something apparently as simple as cultivating a garden. Freedom is bought. It doesn't require much capital, but one needs to control his personal finances to rule over his life. You can never completely live outside of society, so money remains a necessary medium. Freedom demands a sacrifice...read more

Paper Thinking

The first thing my dad taught me to do homework on my own was how to think on paper. I would, for example, have a math problem to solve, and my dad would show me how to break it down and visualize it using ink. Where words fail, drawings come in handy. Even though I eventually learned to visualize problems in my head, I still rely a lot on paper to clear my mind and lay down resolution steps. Let's take programming, for example. There are many visual standards to define requirements and design software programs, such as UML or Entity/Relationship diagrams. Sometimes, however, it's best to just...read more

On Spirituality

Spirituality is not so much about esoterism, religion, or philosophy. It's your personal link between the micro and macro. A life without spirituality is a life without senses: you have no means to navigate through it, and you'll have to rely on others to guide you. To be spiritual is to be human. There is no being the captain of your own ship without a helm. It's liberating, as long as your mind remains open and flexible. Spirituality is a pharmakon: a remedy in small quantity, a poison in excess. Neglecting spirituality as an essential component of life, or removing all individuality from yo...read more

Isolation

When I hear the word isolation, I am reminded of Stefan Zweig's novel The Royal Game. It's the story of a clash between two chess players. One is an arrogant genius, the other was driven mentally insane after being put in total isolation in an empty hostel room by the Nazis. During his time in total isolation, the protagonist encounters a book about chess that's been hidden from the Nazis in the apartment's ceiling. Having nothing else to do, he devours the book and begins an obsessive deliberate practice. Playing day in and day out against himself, he quickly reaches mastery but develops a se...read more

Gotta Write Fast

My limited experience as a freelance technical writer and daily blogger taught me it's primordial for writers to learn how to draft fast and edit slowly. My best posts are usually the ones I wrote the fastest. The ideas just came to me and didn't leave me bored till I was done giving birth to them. My worst content results from a lack of time spent adjusting the structure to make it flow more fluidly, simplifying my paragraphs, and correcting my grammar. I'm sometimes too tired to care and just hit publish, hoping to come back to it later with a clearer head. It's even more important when you ...read more

Extended Stay

I booked an Airbnb studio and enter self-isolation tomorrow. It's not much different from how I usually lead my life, in all honesty. I naturally tend toward a monastic lifestyle to make the best of my workdays. The past two weeks spent at the Avenue Hostel have been fascinating. I was there to witness the whole situation evolve. The city used to boom with life, it's now an empty shell. The hostel is now filled with regulars who've been through it all together—a sort of refugee camp—incredible people from all backgrounds and ages I was lucky to meet and interact with. Tonight, I celebrate one ...read more

Post-Hunt Celebrations

I like to think of my evenings as post-hunt celebrations. They allow me to express gratitude for the day and keep me going the next one. If I don't hunt, I don't have the right to celebrate. The day was wasted and the Muses take great offense of my foolishness. If I celebrate anyway, it just doesn't feel right. I am not at ease. I can perceive a faint anxiety growing inside me. Dinner doesn't taste great and the ale is bland. Happiness is earned. There is no greater feeling than spending the entirety of the day honing your craft, to finally come home exhausted and share the fruits of my labor....read more

Change of Plans

Hard times to be a nomad. My original plan for the following months was to come back to France to visit friends and family before moving to Scandinavia to bikepack, but the recent events make it unwise to proceed with it despite it all. Fortunately, I'm in one of the best places to be regarding to the spread of the pandemic. I'll stay in Budapest till the end of my allowed stay duration on April 3rd. After that, I'm not sure how to go about it. I need to anticipate the worst case scenario: the regulations will grow increasingly restrictive, and it will last several months. I'd like to avoid co...read more

A Quest for Simplicity

I find more beauty in seemingly simple things. Life is too easily wasted not to focus on the essential: what makes us humans, and what makes us shine the brightest. The rest is distraction or vanity. I care little about achieving goals and dreams or going through a bucket list. I fear, however, not making the everyday choice to rethink what I believe is a life well-lived and to embrace it fully. A life well-lived is close to nature. I can hear its call late at night, when I'm about to fall sleep in my 12-bed dorm room. The whispers of the trees. The wind gushing through the blades of grass. Th...read more

Away

We have a saying in France to express the idea that an explosive social life endangers happiness: "to live happily, live hidden." When you lead an overly public life, you naturally attract the attention and judgement of others. Whether it's envy, anger, or praise, you'll need a thick skin and sophisticated defense mechanisms to protect yourself from the overwhelming feelings. This is why philosophies like stoĂŻcism or epicureanism are particularly relevant to content creators. Fame is probably the biggest threat to the maker's creativity, and thus her happiness. Seneca puts it differe...read more

Life and Movement

We've been given a life, so we might as well do something interesting with it instead of giving it away. Sitting around all day without letting your mind roam freely is a fate no different than eternal darkness, so one could say that death is the absence of movement: a wise person will always make sure to keep walking through life, even if it means encountering countless hardships. It is also worth noting that all lives lead to the same destination, so the end of the line will never matter as much as the journey: the quality of one's life amounts to the roads he walked. The more we expose ours...read more

Memento Corona

The only thing I think worth mentioning about this whole pandemic thing: how quickly things change when we are faced with the reality of death. I am not sure whether I should feel anger or hope. In my home country, for example, it took less than a week to close all schools and universities. Everybody tacitly agreed it was the thing to do, and the government took action. When it comes to the climate emergency, however, we are still stuck in endless loops of bureaucracy and denial: single-use plastics ban will take effect in 2040, because "these things take time". Coronavirus killed 51...read more

The Shokunin Model

When people tell me I think too much like a "coder crafstman" and not enough like a real entrepreneur, well, I can't help but feel proud. I certainly don't see myself as either an entrepreneur or a freelancer. Life is too short for labels. My goal isn't to make money while I sleep or to work for others, but I do both. My only concern is to bring out the best in me through my craft to benefit society. The best term to encapsulate how I see my job would be shokunin: "The Japanese apprentice is taught that shokunin means not only having technical skills, but also implies an attitu...read more

Writing a Book with JAMStack

Typewriters are almost gone. Software has become the norm, but when you take a look at the list of the most popular book writing softwares, you find expensive What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editors like Scrivener or writeai or multi-purpose and cumbersome ones such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Libre Office. WYSIWYM remains a techie's tool. Latex has dominated academia for several years since its first release in 1985, even before Tim Berners-Lee's invention fo the World Wide Web in 1989. Latex wasn't designed for web consumption. In 2004, Markdown established itself as a more min...read more

The Product Machine

There is a loose correlation between the number of digital products you managed to launch and your level of success as an indie maker. The more you do it, the better you get at it. That's the assumption the 12 Products in 12 Months challenge is based upon. It takes a long time to grow a business, but failing to generate revenues upon launch is a sign there is probably no market for what is being offered. In this case, it's best to pivot by starting again from scratch. In other words, success comes down to how long and how quickly one can launch, iterate upon, or abandon new complex products. Y...read more