How to Get People to Write

August 01, 2019

I already explained in previous posts why people should write. Now, let me tell you how I think 200WaD can get people into a sustainable writing habit.

When a user signs in the website for the first time, a great onboarding process would consist in guiding him/her in finding the inner voice we all possess but we usually shut down. It takes time. Personally, I felt some sort of breakthrough around Day 170: ideas and words started flowing way more easily, not only in my writing practice, but also in other areas of life.

Growth is the consequence of two main stimuli: the visual and the social. A streak takes care of the former, while a community ensures the latter.

When a user starts his first post, I want to design the editor to suggest a simple outline to write an introduction:

1) Who are you and where are you from?
2) What do you do for a living?
3) Why did you decide to write?

Depending on the answers, it’s possible for another member of the community to easily suggest similar members and corresponding writing prompts. The idea is not only to avoid writer’s block by suggesting a one-week or 30 days writing program (one prompt = one day), but also to make the newcomer understand how writing is not purely abstract work and how it has a huge impact on your daily life if you write about things that matter to you: writing as a way to find yourself.

After writing for several days, your attention to all areas of your life is expanded. It’s a liberating force. The idea muscle starts taking shape.

The 200 words format is important. Just enough to write something meaningful, not too much to allow you to be consistent, no matter how busy life can get.

The first month is the hardest. It eventually gets easier if you focus on your streak. Writing is a full-body exercise: ideation, researching, editing, publishing, introspecting, retrospecting, time management… it’s hard to keep up when your muscles are atrophied.

Then, if you keep showing up no matter the hardships, you develop confidence. The little voice inside you gets louder. You develop an audience: 200WaD members with the same interests, or wherever you decide to distribute your content.

After Day 200, your mind is an azure sky. Chances are, writing helped you take matters into your own hands: you built a side-project, took on a new hobbie, met new people or reconnected with others. You feel more in charge. When you understand writing is an essential part of the transformation process, you become addicted.

You were a writer all along.

From there, you can only go upward.