Articles about writing

Meditative Writing

If you have to write every day, you might as well make it interesting. This is why I often write to learn instead of the other way around. What do you want to learn? This is the one question I ask myself every day. Today, my answer was I want to understand how anyone can write daily without being paralyzed by an absence of topics. Curiosity is one of the best motives to act. What if? What about? How? Why? Humans are voyeurs, figuratively, and sometimes literally. It's in our best interest to leverage this biological trait to push ourselves further. Of course, learning is not a one-step process...read more

Just Crossed 200,000 Public Words

If you were to google how many words there are in a book for it to be considered a novel, you'll find at least 40,000 words. With 200,000 words worth of public posts under my belt, I virtually wrote the equivalent of 5 novels in a bit more than a year, with an average of 400 words published every day. The problem is that nobody in his right mind will have the patience to go through all this content, even if I'm classifying each post with tags and collections. It's a good problem to have, in my opinion, and it happens I already have some solutions resting in the back of my mind. The first step ...read more

The Classics

Reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I noticed that non-fiction best-sellers are often adapting old wisdom to modern times. Manson's book is a modern take on stoicism, for example. If you read Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, you'll already get the core message of the book. Stephen King also proposes that writers have to be readers. Combining those two statements, I think it's important to know your classics. That's how Renaissance Humanism started, by studying the problems that have been formulated and answered for centuries. Reading the latest books isn't without worth, but perhaps it is ...read more

Introducing Bouquin

Three months ago, I realized the way we write and read ebooks lags behind what we can do with tech nowadays. Generating ebooks from graphical text editors is cumbersome. Managing large bibliographies, figures, and tables of content is painful. Latex sucks. Command line interfaces suck. I can't afford book writing software and I certainly don't need all the features they propose. I just want to spend all my time writing and be able to sell my ebooks in one click, because when I'm in writer mode, I don't want to deal with code. When I'm a reader, on the other hand, I read twice. Once on my Kindl...read more

Self-Publishing in 2020

We are writing more and more books. A million books were self-published in the U.S in 2017, against less than a hundred thousand in 2008. 88.5% of those books are printed. Let's consider each book in 2017 has been published by exactly one author. That's 0.003% of the U.S population. How could we double, decuple, or centuple this number? First, we'd need more people developing a consistent writing habit. Even if you just write 100 words a day, it will amount to 36,500 words over the span of a year. After editing, that would be enough to write a novella, a short non-fiction book, or a Master the...read more

All Writing: A Thought Experiment

Let's pretend I did a stellar job at making The Co-Writers and everyone on the planet started developing a deliberate writing habit: how would it impact the world? Utopian version The practitioners would start thinking more independently and become proactive. We would know ourselves better, so we'd be able to fulfill our needs more efficiently and provide concrete solutions to our deep-rooted issues. Change would come from within and naturally impact its surrounding environment. At an interrelational level, even though people wouldn't forcibly agree with one another, compassion would be predom...read more

Writing 200 Words

In 2019, 200WaD helped more than a hundred members reach 30 days of continuous writing. Next Tuesday, however, everyone will be able to publish less than 200 words per post. Maintaining the streak is going to be easier. I believe lowering our barriers to entry to be a good thing in the long-term: it will help more people develop a writing muscle, find their voice, and keep going. The streak system is a great tool for that. But the streak has to remain a tool. We have to go past it if we are serious about writing better. Don't see the removal of the 200-word limit as a favor to keep your streak...read more

Habemus Nomine

Next Monday, January the 20th, 200 Words a Day becomes The Co-Writers. Choosing a name wasn't easy. It had to represent what we stand for as a writing community while remaining simple. Some propositions were considered: The Writing Club, The Writing Cafe, We Writers... but unfortunately they were all already taken by different websites, and so I decided to come up with something else. The choice of a startup name is restricted by the availability of the corresponding domain names, and after many trials, I settled on The Co-Writers. The .com domain was available. I bought cowriters.app as well ...read more

Deep writing

It's a slow day. My first week in a new city is always exhausting because my body is getting used to a new environment. It affects my metabolism and my internal clock, so I'm resting a lot and focusing on taking care of my diet. Today is a sort of off-day where I walk around, don't drink coffee and go early to bed. Tomorrow is Friday. It's the first day where I try my new weekly project split routine. I need to write much more in 2020, so I decided to give myself three days per week to focus on writing. My days are usually centered around making digital products: writing is a secondary activit...read more

The Myth of the Starving Writer

In 2020, I want to help the writers of this community develop a writing process and a content strategy to reach their personal, professional, and financial goals. Writing has never been as marketable. It will help you learn, sell, and connect. It generates plenty of opportunities. In an ocean of noise where everyone fights for attention, writing is a superpower. The myth of the starving writer is no longer relevant. We never have enough content. Book publishing was a 129 billion dollars industry in 2019. Blogging is a billion-dollar industry too, and 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing....read more

Learning A Language With Daily Writing

I had my share of language lessons. It started in middle school with Spanish, then English in high-school, then Mandarin and Italian for a year each. I also delved into Macedonian, Romanian, Polish, and German, to little effect. French and English remain the only two tongues I practice on a regular basis, but I want to broaden my horizon. Spanish would be the most logical choice since I've been studying it for 8 years. It's close to my mother tongue. Even though I lack the vocabulary to express myself, I understand most texts and conversations in Spanish. I could also learn my grandparents' to...read more

What Makes A Great Book?

What are we looking for when we open a book? A few things come to mind. Escapism, the need to run away from the harsh realities of life. Entertainment, the need to escape boredom. But also knowledge, voyeurism, empathy, or creativity. We don't read for the same reasons, but we all read because we are looking for something. Anything. All great books have one thing in common though: they are actionable. They inspire the reader to act or react. Whether we read a love story or a philosophical essay, we want to be forced into a primal eruption of feelings. As Paulo Coelho proposes, a great book is ...read more

Writing in 2020

I've been writing for more than a year and I'm starting to accumulate a lot of content. 2019 is the year I developed a solid writing routine, and 200,000 words have been enough for me to start noticing some patterns. I keep gravitating around five topics: writing, making products, productivity, tech, and digital nomadism. My goal in 2020 is to publish several ebooks in those five domains. I already started with Alter-Nomad and I almost have an outline ready for a free guide on writing every day. 2020 will also be a year of change for 200 Words a Day. I've learned a lot about how I could help o...read more

4 Things To Learn From Seth Godin About Daily Writing

Seth Godin is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, speaker, marketing guru, and more importantly, a daily writer. His blog alone features more than 7,000 short posts spanning over 17 years. When it comes to content creation, Seth Godin is a king among kings. A few things particularly struck me about his writing philosophy: 1) Even if the writer's posts remain short--sometimes as short as a single sentence--, the brevity has no impact on the blog's popularity. Quite the contrary: even after 17 years, Seth Godin can still write about his favorite topics while reinventing himself. Daily writing i...read more

Writing This December

2020 has yet to be my most productive writing year. 200WaD grows, my skills grow, and the number of new opportunities keeps increasing. I received my first payment as a freelancer this week. A guest post on a blog for 20 cents a word, soon to be published. It's a huge creative breakout, the promise of a new income source to increase my runway. At my current rate, I'd only need to write four articles of 1000 words to cover a month's worth of living expenses. 48 guest posts a year to fund me and keep growing my digital products. My writing skills are improving. I have to write more and get bette...read more

Road to 10,000 Words a Day

Writing 200 words a day is a realistic goal for anyone whose full-time position is loosely connected. But when the writing starts taking a bigger part of your life, you are bound to increment your daily word count. I have five writing projects at the moment: writing every day on 200 Words a Day, adding a weekly post to 200WaD's blog, publishing my first non-fiction book, reading and summarizing key takeaways from books at Sipreads, and sending my first publication to Hackernoon. I spent the last four days struggling with a technical tutorial for Hackernoon. I broke through yesterday and I'm ab...read more

E-reader

I bought a Kindle Paperwhite yesterday. Black Friday is not a thing in France, but I seized the opportunity when I saw the 30% discount on Amazon's website. I've been looking to replace my Kobo for two years. I do most of my reading from my computer, but I miss the ability to go offline and avoid blue light before going to sleep. A good book on a couch by the fireplace is always more relaxing than my virtual office. Reading on a laptop is more efficient to take notes, but distractions are one click away. I always read more and faster on an e-reader or a physical book, without even sacrificing ...read more

The Maths of Consistency

Can we quantify the power of compounding habits to reach a goal? Armed with the little memories I have of high school maths, I started a little thought experiment. A probability tells us how likely it is for an event to occur. Let's consider that the probability of writing one successful blog on a given day is 10% (p=0.1). I'm not going to define what success is, because formulas do not care for subjective opinions. In this situation, success can be whatever you want it to be. If you publish every day for 7 days, how does your probability of success evolve? The probability of failure is 1-p (9...read more

200 Words a Day is One Year Old

200 Words a Day is already celebrating its first birthday. What a ride. 17071 published posts. 5,500,000 words. 325 words per post on average. We are 3869 registered users, and 46 daily active writers on average. 65 patrons generating a Monthly Recurring Profit of $121 are currently keeping the website afloat. The biggest problem right now is that 79% of the users never even start developing a writing habit, and 16% drop out before publishing their 10th post (8% users of the total user base are one-posters). On the bright side, 239 users showed up for more than 7 days. 105 for more than a mont...read more

Your streak went down, so what?

The streak is not the end-goal. I hear you alright: "Easy for you to say! You have a One Year Streak you hypocrite &#!$%!!!". Read until the end before judging. A streak is like training wheels: you can hate it, but in the end, it's only here to help you get better. A streak is simply a tool. Whining won't teach you how to bike, you have to get back up and start again. Each time you fall, you learn a valuable lesson about your own motives and your own process. Be brave enough to take a good look at yourself. It's all about training. It's all about preparation. What can you do tom...read more

Tech Stack to Write a Book

I wrote Alter-Nomad using Markdown and Pandoc. That's the tech stack I found after researching how to write a book using Markdown. The benefits are nice: Markdown allows me to focus on the content rather than the way it looks, it's easy to manage the different drafts using Git versioning, and Pandoc makes it easy to obtain a finished product in a single command line. It was nice and easy to use, and it did the job. The problem is that it's quite hard to customize. Pandoc uses a Latex generator to generate references, and it uses Cascading Style Sheets to design the resulting files. I had a muc...read more

Two Things I'll Change While Writing my Next Book

Writing a 40-page ebook is one of the hardest things I've done this year. I barely wrote anything before that, let alone a book. I made a lot of mistakes during the process, but there are two that I find particularly memorable. The first mistake I made was a lack of communication. I made a website to pitch the book idea, showcase some relevant articles, collect emails and take preorders. I got 23 pre-sales before actually releasing the book, but I only made three sales after publishing it. My marketing strategy was just consisting of writing posts about the publishing process: how I got the id...read more

Content Creation in College

Back in college, I wish someone would have told me how important it is to have an online presence through content creation. We are taught how to write a resume. Then we are told to register on Linkedin and upload these short summaries of our lives. We are prepared to apply to jobs and perform interviews. The school's alumni network allows any student to identify work opportunities. Even though the employment rate remains high, students are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the current job market. Most settle for the first opportunity they are offered. We are told the most important thing ...read more

Lessons Learned from Writing Every Day for a Year

Writing every day has had a huge impact on my life over the last year. I made my first Monthly-Recurring Revenue from making digital products. I wrote a book and sold some copies. I obtained my first freelance gig as a guest writer. All the people I met during this journey inspired me, one way or another, and made me a different man. A better man, I think. I. How I Started Writing I'd be really interested to hear the fuller story here - exactly the sort of writing you did, and when, and how it helped you to do those things you mentioned. Cheers. -- @jas_hothi Coming from a software engineeri...read more

Effective Researching

Robert Greene reads between 300 and 400 books to write one. You can feel the depth of his research process in the end result. The author of Mastery uses flashcards and a category system to manage all the accumulated ideas. One idea per flashcard with a short quote or description, and post-it labels to aggregate similar topics. He then stores all the cards in shoe boxes, and a few months later he starts drafting. I think it's an interesting research methodology. I'd like to adapt it to my own process. When I come up with a book summary for Sipreads, I take notes by simply synthesizing the core ...read more

Publishing my First Youtube Vlog

I published my first Youtube video yesterday. I wrote about going from blogging to vlogging a month ago, and I finally made it. My motives remain the same: I want to improve my speaking skills and experiment with new ways of expressing myself. The format appeared to me right before sleeping. I didn't want it to be too time-consuming, it had to seamlessly integrate into my daily life. I also wanted it to support my business goal to grow 200 Words a Day. That's when the idea of centering my vlog on my writing process hit me. I already have developed a daily writing habit. All I have to do is to ...read more

Maieutic Writing

I've been wondering why my life positively changed so much over the last year. Is it because I am lucky? Or is it fate? My personal theory is that I'm where I'm now because I've never stopped sharing about what I do and it eventually attracted the right people to me. Coincidentally, throughout this whole time, I've always been writing. It started with tweets and daily task logs, and it went on with daily 200+ word posts. And today I'm convinced this is all thanks to writing. How can writing be this powerful? It's just a few words on a blank screen. The secret lies in the process itself: delibe...read more

Don't Write for an Audience

Don't write because it'll play well in front of others, write because you want to or because you think it's important. The problem with most content on the Internet nowadays is how bland it tastes. And writing to please a market segment is the best way to do that. When you write for an audience, you shut down your inner voice. It's counter-productive. Not only restraining your personality from shining through will make your writings less relatable, but it'll also prevent you from attracting the right people. Failing to do so is a crime. Writing is not meant to manipulate others for monetary or...read more

On the Iceberg Theory

How can we become more effective writers by telling less to show more? Hemingway proposed the Iceberg Theory. The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man and the Sea are both great examples of his minimalist style. Each word is chosen to be easily understandable. Each sentence is short and to-the-point. Adjectives and adverbs are sparse. The tone is almost cold, but it doesn't fail to trigger deep emotions. The reader's imagination fills the narrative voids. Hemingway's prose has never been more relevant. If you're paid to write an article, you can't waste words. If you're trying to convince a prospect...read more

Think Less, Write Faster

I feel like I spent more time writing than making products over the last month, but it's not necessarily worthless because it gave me new ideas about how 200WaD can help writers. However, I'm annoyed that I am not spending enough time coding and distributing my content. My deliberate writing practice has become second nature, and it's time to make it more efficient to give room to something else. How do I proceed? In general, I spend too much time overthinking what I'm writing, I have to kill the perfectionist inside me. Writing can take up to four hours on some days when I'm procrastinating o...read more

Interviewing

Writing a good interview article is not easy. You need to ask the right questions. A good interviewer is more of a psychologist than a writer. It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to truly understand the interviewee: the motives, the personality behind the mask, the life choices... you can't get a glimpse of the other person without warm compassion. Getting in the shoes of someone else requires a long research process that could be called virtual stalking. The better the details, the more real it feels. A badly written interview is a monologue where the interviewee answers pre-determined g...read more

Telling Stories

You probably heard this quote before: small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas. Let's think about it for a second. This statement proposes that engaging in idle talk about people and events is shallow to some degree. Gossiping doesn't elevate the mind, and thus it is of little worth. I agree, but let's consider what's great literature: it's always about people. We are social animals, and ultimately we all do things for someone else. The best writers use events and people to discuss universal ideas. Camus comes to mind: in his novel The Stranger, the f...read more

Writing and Personal Development

Writing is an incredible tool for personal development. We often make the distinction between what we say and what we do, but writing is often the first step towards adopting a maker attitude: Ryan Hoover theorized what made the success of Product Hunt in a blog, Basecamp rose to fame by blogging, and countless writers before you shaped the world into what it is today. There are many reasons why. First, you are what you write. According to a scientific study, writing down your goals raises by 40% the probability of you achieving them. Having a resource you can refer to makes you accountable, a...read more

Re: Shifting My Writing Workflow

When it comes to the ideation step during the writing process, @carlosbeas proposes to "divide the broader area of interest into different sub-topics". It's something important to understand and to put into practice. You have to think in terms of Atomic Writing: each section of your text should be modular and cover a single idea. In most cases, writing about something deeply enough involves covering a wide variety of ideas. When you don't know what to write about, you can try to uncover those satellite ideas. Break down the problem you encounter into sub-problems, and process each on...read more

Tis But a Scratch

You might think that after 320 days of daily writing I've become pretty confident with my skills, but it ain't the case. I've barely scratched the surface of what great writing is. I'm definitely a lot better than before, but I'm nowhere near being an excellent writer. The more you write, the more you learn about yourself. It makes you aware of your own limitations. I love it, because where there are opportunities, there is hope. How am I going to be better? By reading more from great writers whose life and style inspire me: Hemingway, Umberto Eco, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, Thoreau, Twain, Ja...read more

From Blogging to Vlogging

I've started experimenting with a new content format: a vlog to complement my daily blog. Now it's gotten easy to write consistently every day, I'm free to focus on improving the quality and distribution of my posts. The good thing with writing is that it can become an opportunity for literally anything: a newsletter, a podcast, a course, a book... writing is the pillar of content creation. I want to expand my comfort zone by improving my speaking skills, so I hesitated between a podcast and a vlog. A podcast would be quicker to record and publish, but the time difference with vlogging is not ...read more

On Curiosity

If you want to write, become curious first. Since we live in an economy where knowledge is the universal metric of growth, curiosity is probably the most important quality we must possess to succeed in today's world. There is a saying in France. La curiosité est un vilain défaut. The equivalent in English is "curiosity killed the cat", but it doesn't translate well the meaning of the French version: "curiosity is a naughty flaw". This paradoxical view on curiosity is deeply ingrained in the West: Prometheus was condemned by the gods after robbing them of fire, and Adam was ...read more

Offline Writing

I've been experimenting with a habit of writing offline over the past months to increase my productivity. I'm now convinced we can greatly benefit from it. I'm currently filling my notebook from the balcony of my studio, in the suburbs of Bucharest. The sun is slowly declining, leaving a peculiar light on the trees and the concrete buildings surrounding me. It's quiet enough to get some work done. Only me, my blank canvas, my pen, a cup of coffee, and a round glass table. I'm enjoying the pure moment of flow, alternating in-between states of possession where the writing daemon takes over, and ...read more

Redesigning my Writing Funnel - Part 2

Here is a little thought experiment acting as a continuation of yesterday's post about how I want to design a new writing funnel. If we consider everything is marketing, we can approach our writing funnel design from the ideation phase. I get my ideas from my daily process and interactions, but I can also use Q&A websites. Quora should thus be the first addition to my current funnel. I could for example answer one question per day and use the resulting ideas to inspire my daily post. 200 Words a Day remains the place where I keep nurturing my writing habit. My daily writing practice is the...read more

Redesigning my Writing Funnel - Part 1

I wrote a post a month ago about how I use different platforms to assist me in my writing efforts. I'm in the middle of rethinking the way I manage my content creation activities. The current situation is as follow: Twitter to develop my audience, 200 Words a Day to improve the quality of my posts by staying consistent and accountable, and an upcoming personal blog to build my personal brand. When I write something, I can increase my content's reach and engagement by adapting it to be distributed somewhere else. I call it a writing funnel: content spread across the web sharing an interdependen...read more

Dealing with Writer's Block

I'm still having writer's block. Writing 200 words a day has become easy, but even after so many days I'm still struggling with writing more long-form content. I'm currently writing a 3k-word article for Makerlog, and I started re-evaluating my approach. I took the first step by acknowledging I have a procrastination problem, but what am I concretely going to do about it? The root of the problem is quite clear to me: my expectations are too high, I'm forgetting to have fun and enjoy the process itself. What excites me about writing? It's about solving problems with words. If I can identify the...read more

Show, Don't Tell

The best piece of advice I've received trying to improve the quality of my writings: show, don't tell. When you look at a painting or a movie or a sculpture, you don't want to just see something: it has to make you feel something. It's the same with writing. Just merely describing what a character is doing is not enough, it's just annoying to the point of rolling back your eyes back into your head. Our brains contain something called mirror neurons, a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another, which is why showing is much more ...read more

Write Daily, Edit Weekly

Daily writing in public is an iterative cycle. You start with an idea, you outline a post, do some research, elaborate, edit, and publish. The process can then generate new ideas and start itself all over again. I already wrote several times about the importance of practicing daily and keeping your writing streak alive, but let me tell you a secret: it doesn't mean you have to go through the whole cycle every day. Writing something every day is important to keep your observational skills sharp and to improve at your craft, and your ability to deliver on a daily basis is as important as your ca...read more

Write about the Past

My father has always been obsessed with the history of his parents who fled Vietnam to settle down in a French immigration camp for many years, to the point where he has developed an expertise in the niche of the French/Vietnamese decolonization. Obsessed, because it always felt odd to me to see him stuck in the past like this - by writing and speaking about it. Now I started writing myself, I wonder: aren't we all stuck in the past in some way? The present is an accumulation of past experiences. If we want to have an impact on our present - and thus, on our future - we must acknowledge the pa...read more

The Writing Daemon

After 280 days of daily writing, I'm finally starting to feel I develop an inner daemon for the craft. It's hard during the first weeks. You run out of ideas and you feel like giving up the streak. Self-doubt takes over. The words are not bleeding, but they bleed you. It gets easier. You become more mindful of your acts and surroundings. Your writing muscles build up strength. You understand you are what you write and you write who you are. It will forever change you for the better. The words have become nutrients. The pain is gone. The more I write, the more I want to write. It sustains my gr...read more

How to Write Product Requirements as an Indie Maker

Requirement engineering is an entire subfield of software engineering, one that relies heavily on your communication skills: writing requirements is about defining your customers' fundamental problems, goals, and needs, that will later be answered by a software system - a mobile app, a website, an application programming interface... a tech product. A requirement specifies the desired behavior of a product, which can either be functional (a task, what the product does) or non-functional (a quality/constraint, how the product does what it does). A requirement is always written from the point of...read more

Default to Writing

I read a singular sentence in Jason Fried's Rework: "Everything is Marketing". Every element of a business is an opportunity to stand up and share. Similarly, if your eyes are piercing enough, everything is an opportunity to write. After almost nine months of continuous daily writing, I'm having the impression each of the tasks I perform in my work can default to a writing activity. Reading is an opportunity to write a summary or Cornell notes, or to draw a mind-map. Watching a movie or listening to a song can become a review. A business idea can be shared as a tweet. A piece of code...read more

Active Writing

If you never tried to publish a few words every day, chances are you don't know how hard it is. It is a typical case of Dunning–Kruger effect: it looks easy until you actually have to sit down and type on your keyboard. We all write every day - a tweet, an instant message, an email at work - but it's not a deliberate focused practice. Most of the time, it's not even for an audience we care about. When you start writing to help others or to develop yourself, it's another matter. The first problem is coming up with interesting stuff to talk about. It takes serious focused observational skills. I...read more

How to Get People to Write

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 ...read more

Meta-content

Creation is an act of cannibalization. It's a trick to never run out of things to say: it's fairly easy to build up content around an existing piece of content. I call it meta-content: you can write, you can write about writing, and you can write about writing about writing. Then you can interview people who write about writing about writing. The final touch: review an interview of someone who writes about writing about writing. Meta-content is content feeding on each other to bring out potential additional value. Follow the 5W1H methodology: What, When, Why, Where, When, and How. Write about ...read more

Writing Funnel

I don't write in one place. That's not how the Internet works. My writings are distributed across several platforms. They are not copy-pasted though, each website has its own use case. I use Twitter to report and to bounce off some thoughts and ideas. It keeps me public. That's where I developed my biggest audience as of today. I write my first drafts at 200 Words a Day. The community product keeps me consistent and accountable. I structure my content in short-form posts to make my writings more modular. To me, 200 Words a Day is about atomic collaborative writing, it's where I focus on my cra...read more

New Blog Engine

I'm completely re-designing my personal website to develop my audience and my activities. I want to centralize all my online content and products in one place that feels personal. The hard thing about owning a website is not launching it, it's keeping it updated. When someone types your name on Google, your personal website shows up first. It has to be the very reflection of who you are, what you stand for, and where you are headed. No one has time to hope around different social networks and tech products to see what you are up to: you are your best curator. Owing to those two last points, yo...read more

Atomic Writing

Writing is about conveying ideas using words. In business writing, you want people to learn something with the hope to convince them to get more from you. Unlike fiction, it's not about provoking your reader's imagination, it's about being understood. To be understood, clarity matters most. Your writings must be easy to digest without losing any nutrient: a great read is a gastronomic experience. All great meals share common characteristics: they look good, they sustain your health, and they go straight to the point. It looks good. Structure matters. You want your paragraphs and sections to be...read more

Upping my Writing Game

It's time to shift the gears. I thought a long time about how I can reach new heights as a writer and subsequently decided I need to read more, first and foremost. Not just reading for the sake of it, but active reading: taking structured notes by paraphrasing, digestible at wish. On the other hand - if I want to introduce the concept of progressive overload to my daily writing workout - I need to increase the weight I'm lifting. I already came to the conclusion the best way to go about it is not to focus on writing more words or to spend more time researching and editing, but on publishing mo...read more

Collaborative Writing

I have only one vision for 200WaD: the opportunity for everyone to get into a writing habit and improve. In my opinion, the best way to develop a habit is to create an open community, individuals from all backgrounds sharing the same goal to push each other upward. Writing circles are not a new concept, but we are the only group of people who put openness and community at the center of our writing experience. No fee to pay, accessible from anywhere, for everyone. Community is truly the core of 200WaD, which is why the current roadmap is designed to prioritize collaborative features. I...read more

Why writing is so important for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is slowly being integrated into engineering programs. I remember taking lectures in Marketing, Finance, and Project Management while having to write a business plan and deliver a working prototype. In retrospect, it was not only boring but also unrealistic. You are told what to do by people who never built anything on their own. You are told you need to write a business plan to raise funds. You are told you need extensive planning to get somewhere. They don't tell you how to talk to customers though. They don't show you how communication is the most important aspect of making ...read more

What's so hard about Blogging?

It's well known 90% of new startups shut down within a year, but what about blogs? According to this article, there are approximately 500 million blogs on the Internet, 33% being monetized, 10% making over $10k per year, and less than 1% making over $1M annually. In other terms, 90% of blogs aren't sustainable businesses. It's not shocking considering most people blog for fun or for the love of writing, but since Content is King, I wonder - why aren't there more people making a living from writing? There is no get-rich-quick scheme, building a business takes time. It's all about being patie...read more

Stop Hiding

After reading @brandonwilson 's post I jumped on the podcast, browsed to 1:01:42 and started listening to what Seth Godin has to say about writing daily. Seth Godin publishes one piece of content every day on his personal blog. It's about developing two things: attention, and trust. When you pay attention to your life, you never run out of ideas to write about. More importantly, writing in public makes you accountable: you can point people toward what you wrote. Blog posts are concrete thoughts you vouch for. They enable trust. One piece of advice echoeing what we are all doing here on 200WaD ...read more

Re: Back to the bottleneck (maybe?)

People wanting to write every day while failing to do so always have two excuses: not enough time, and not enough ideas. It remains excuses: you can decide you want to do something bad enough and they will vanish. The only obstacle is you. Time can be made. All you need to write 200 words is half an hour. If you're feeling particularly inspired ten minutes will be enough. It might take more time at first - when you just started developing the habit - but it eventually gets easier. Just force your way through. Replace TV time with writing time. Outline ideas while you eat. Sit down and be done ...read more

Re: Writing is a sport

I don't use the Reply button as much as I should. Building upon each other's ideas is a great way to keep the streak burning, and to think together, so thank you @jasonleow for starting this conversation! To go higher as a writer, I should integrate my routines to my everyday life, and my everyday life to my routines. That's how I get most of my ideas for personal growth, hence the athletic metaphor. Progressive overload As Jason described, there are three ways to activate muscle growth when you lift weights: increasing the number of repetitions, increasing the load, or increasing your movemen...read more

Compound Writing 2

When I want to complain about writing 200 words a day I just look up the routine of the most prolific writers. Stephen King, 2000 words. Jack London, 1500 words. Mark Twain, 1400 words. Michael Crichton, 10000 words. Balzac used to write for 16 hours a day and went on to publish 85 novels in 20 years. Then I laugh at how ridiculous I sound when I complain about my daily streak that won't even take an hour to complete if I just get it done. I sit down and put in the work. I don't plan on making a profession out of writing, but I must nurture this skill. Consistency and growth are thus the only ...read more

Writings and Memento Mori

Ever noticed how in video games the act of saving your progress is mostly represented by your character keeping a journal? Writing is a medium to repel death, to overcome our own mortality. If I were to die tomorrow, would people remember me? How would they see me? Cinema, painting, sculpture... all illusions, perhaps all lies. But what if an author decides to pour his/her soul onto paper? Writing has this power to make you immortal, unequaled by any other form of expression. It's the very proof of your existence, of what you stand for. Video has yet to reproduce the authenticity a few words c...read more

How to Create the Next TolstoĂŻ at Scale

I just wanted to write 200 words a day. I built this website for fun during a hackathon, and it grew beyond my modest expectations. I would have never imagined a thousand people would visit this website on a daily basis, to write or to read. The more time I spend growing it, the more ambition I develop for this community. It has become something bigger than me. I can't just do it for myself anymore, I have expectations to fulfill, and I am (still) willing to spend the next 10 years of my life cultivating this website. How to get more people to write and blossom? There is plenty of blog engines...read more

What do I do with all this content?

My profile displays 225 posts, 370 pages, and 92,713 words. Add 30 pages from Medium, remove 80 pages of private posts, and I obtain 420 pages of original content. I'm at a point where I produced a decent amount of content. Enough to keep readers busy for a couple of hours. So what do I do with all this content? How to make the most of my hard written articles? In my case, I want to develop my personal brand: who I am, what it is I do, what I stand for - writing as a fuel for growth, to access a bigger pool of opportunities, to expand my world. Developing your personal brand is an important co...read more

Writing long-form content, consistently

Long-form content is hard to define, but we can consider the ideal article length of 1600 words to establish a limit. Long-form is what powers your content efforts in terms of SEO. It's what will establish your brand. Thus, writing 200 words a day is not the end-goal: I encourage every member to create his/her own blog for all business-oriented topics and to crosspost 200WaD content using the canonical link feature. 200WaD is not optimized to power your brand, it's meant to empower you as an individual by helping you get into a consistent writing habit to improve. However, you can use this web...read more

Compound Writing

200 words. Not many to fill a blank screen. Too insignificant to have an impact. Or is it? A year has 365 days. If you write 200 words every day consistently for a year, you generate 73,000 words. It is assumed a non-fiction book is about 250 words per page, so in one year you can actually write about 292 pages of content. According to Medium, 1600 words is the optimal length of a blog post in terms of trade-off between quality and engagement. Do you write 45 quality blog posts a year yet? Of course, writing and publishing are two distinct things. But it's not so much about looking good at fir...read more

Meta-skill

We live in a skill economy where what you know and what you do define where you stand within society. Nurturing your skills is by definition how you climb the social ladder. Writing is probably the most underrated business skill. The one skill to rule all skills, and more importantly, your life. There is nothing you can't put in words, that's how powerful they are. Writing is learning, education is asking the right questions. Writing is organizing your thoughts, to give them structure, store them, and present them efficiently. Writing is healing, it has a cathartic effect on your mind. Humans ...read more

6 Months of 200WaD

I've been doing this 200 words a day thing for 6 months. Half a birthday, significant enough to write about it. Scribbling down 200 words for 189 days doesn't seem like a big achievement. Most people probably write much more at work or on Twitter. The big difference to understand is how deliberate practice is much harder. You have to plan to sit down for at least half an hour every day, find something to write about, and actually hit publish. Most people give up after a few days, only the prepared remain. My own results speak for themselves: I wrote 174 public posts and 32 private posts in 189...read more

What to Read?

There isn't enough time in one life to read every book, even more so to read everything on the Internet. The amount of information is infinite when you compare it to our time on Earth: Google needs 2TB to store every book ever published, but we produce this amount of data more than a million times every single day. It's a fact we can't read everything and time is precious, we have to choose our readings with care. We can't solely rely on others to tell us what to read: reading must remain liberating, not dogmatic. It's important to develop your own judgment. Instead, we should do our own resea...read more

Write to Learn

Someone wanting to learn how to write well should write to learn something else. Learning how to be a good writer is not an end-goal. Learning how to write is a matter of tacit knowledge, it's about experiencing. Not just practicing but also confronting yourself with new situations. If you want to learn how to write well, you must write first. There is a necessity to write more, and a great method to never run out of things to talk about is to write with the intent to learn something unrelated to writing. The reason is quite simple: teaching a topic implies to formulate well-posed questions an...read more

Becoming a Better Reader

A good writer is a good reader, everyone knows that. So read books, read others. You can even read yourself, your own existence is probably the best book there is. A good reader reads. A great reader reads twice. Once to understand, and once to analyze. Understanding implies leaving your body to get in the shoes of the author. You must shut down your inner voice and listen with the intent to feel completely, regardless of your own opinions. The first read is a glance of compassion where you must abandon yourself to the moment and the writer. You cannot make yours what you do not understand. On...read more

Writing Routine

My current writing routine consists of meditating for 10 minutes before sitting down at a clean desk with a pen and a pile of paper sheets to draft my daily post. Once I'm done with free writing I boot up my computer to start the editing process and hit publish. All in all, it takes between half an hour and two hours depending on how long I need to figure out a prompt and do some research. Publishing on a daily basis is not just great for your personal growth, it's changing how others perceive you as well. Pewdiepie wouldn't be the most successful Youtuber without his daily posting schedule fo...read more

Bye Bye, Resistance!

I spent the whole day outside visiting family and I have 4 hours left to write my post. I ate a lot, I feel tired, I feel rushed, and yet I don't find it hard to reach the 200 words count. I only had one worry in mind: what could I possibly write about? Even after writing continuously for 169 days, my current streak starting before I actually released 200WaD, the question still comes to haunt me. Writing 200 words is now part of the daily habits I feel no resistance in achieving. All you have to do is to focus on documenting your thoughts rather than trying to come up with original post ideas....read more

Writing Meditation

My ever-lasting quest for mastery led me this morning to think of new ways to improve my writing practice. Writing happens in three main iterative phases: free writing, researching, and editing. Becoming a better writer is about getting better at all three phases. Free writing is about shutting down your inner filter to let the flow of consciousness express itself. The more you let it go, the more you increase your writing speed. I spend around one hour a day writing, I want to break through this limit: write more words faster, spontaneously at a higher quality level. The first step I took a f...read more

International Writings

All of my family members - for the exception of my younger brother - are having a hard time reading me because I choose to write in English. French is my mother tongue. I fully understand Spanish (Castellano) but I'm having a hard time speaking and writing - my vocabulary is extremely limited. I started learning English at 14 in middle-school. I tried learning Mandarin for a year and Italian for another year. I studied Latin for three years. I also try to learn a few words to get by wherever I travel - Macedonian, Romanian, German, Polish, ThaĂŻ, Portuguese - but I can only write acceptably in ...read more

Life of a Book

You might wonder about the chain of events leading someone to write a book. Here is mine. March 2016 I start researching the topic of nomadism after reading Tim Ferris' The 4-Hour Workweek. June 24, 2016 I publish in French the 20-page essay titled "Nomadism as a Vector for Change" as an engineering school project at INSA Lyon. September 2016 I'm joining Stockholm University as an exchange student and start studying remotely. It's my first experience as a digital nomad, and I don't even know it. September 2017 Learning about digital nomadism for the first time after stumbling upon No...read more

Back to writing in public

I finally finished my first book yesterday. Inspired by how makers create tech products in public, I documented this journey in public. Once I had enough public writing materials, I edited the resulting bag of words into a book and added some original content in private posts. I learned many things in the process, but I'll keep it for future posts. I'm now back to my regular writing schedule: 200 words per day every day. I was forced to write considerably more over the last few days - up to 4000 words in one day - so it feels incredibly easier. I have been writing continuously for more than 15...read more

200WaD tips: How to Keep your Streak Alive

I wrote yesterday about why it's important for you to keep your day streak alive. Today I'm proposing you some tips to get through each day as painlessly as possible. It is assumed in task management that the most important task should be tackled first. This is why publishing your 200 words should be the first thing you do in the morning. As Mark Twain says, "eat the frog". Decision fatigue is the lowest during the 2/3 hours after you wake up. It doesn't mean you have to write in the morning. For some people, tiredness favors creativity, so writing right before going to bed could be ...read more

200WaD tips: Why Keeping your Streak Alive

All you need to be supremely good at something is to just do it. It's that simple. The problem lies in the misconception that becoming great is about doing great things, that the quality of your output has to be outstanding. School taught us to be afraid of not being great: poor quality results in bad grades, and bad grades result in suffering. Real life is different. There is no curriculum. Life is entropic. What works on a given day for a given person in a given situation might not tomorrow. This is why education is a process of experimentation at heart. You need many iterations to come up w...read more

200WaD tips: Finding Topics

Writing 200 words every day is simple, but it's not easy. For most people, the hard part is finding a topic. After writing for 120 days consecutively without breaking my streak, I feel qualified to give bits of advice regarding this matter. Just like everyone else, there were days when I lacked inspiration. Truth is, I was just not creative enough: everything is a potential topic, but few feel exciting. The good news is that 200 words are quickly scribbled once you stop whining. The voice in your head giving you excuses can be shut down. Two cases: you either have things you must write about o...read more

Book Design

I just came back to my parents' house. The French countryside is cold and quiet, yet peaceful. It is the perfect environment to gather my thoughts and finish my book. I'm sitting in my childhood room. My very own Fortress of Meditation. Coated in a poncho, I haven't shaved in weeks. I look like a lunatic. My writings are sitting there with me. They are still raw and need some structure. I went with a three-part structure at first, but I'm not satisfied with it. Now I decided to divide my work into 50+ atomic sections, each covering a thought I have about travel, mobility, or nomadism. Each sec...read more

Alter-Nomad: 19 days left

My first book is almost there! I went from someone who doesn't write regularly to an author in less than 4 months. It still amazes me how smooth this journey was. All it took was to commit to a simple daily writing habit. This post is a little update on how my book is going so far. This week I released a website to pre-order the book. It took me a few days to build. The hardest part was the implementation of the payment gateway as I was not familiar with how one-time invoices work through Stripe. Now it works. And 7 people already pre-ordered the book. In the meantime, I gathered all the data ...read more

Alter-Nomad: book presentation

The world demands change, now more than ever. Underemployment is growing. Global inequality is increasing. We are nowhere near solving our ecological issues. Challenges are many, but each problem brings an opportunity. Modern Nomadism is one of them. My name is Basile Samel, and I spent more than 3 years living in foreign countries. I was born in France, studied in Sweden and worked as a software engineer in Switzerland to finally build my own tech products remotely while traveling across Europe and Asia. To me, digital nomadism is not just a trendy topic, it's an original way of life. Of cour...read more

Book Pivot

I find it fascinating how writing a book is similar to making a startup. I have been writing for a hundred days on mainly two topics: entrepreneurship, and travel. My original book idea was to talk about how I got started as an entrepreneur and talk about my experience. I titled it "Making a Maker". I still have 100 pages of raw content. Three days ago I was ready to start editing and marketing actively. Yesterday I was thinking of the structure I should give to the book. I wasn't satisfied with it. I wanted to go with a chronological approach, from childhood to entrepreneurship, to ...read more

100 Days of Writing

I left college in March last year but my graduation ceremony only takes place a year later. I will receive my official degree on March the 15th. A chapter of my life is ending, and there is no more appropriate time to release a book documenting my journey so far. I have been writing continuously for 100 days, and I have a bit more than a month to get ready. Time to plan. Yesterday I performed an inventory of my writings and found out I have more than 100 pages of raw posts relevant to the topics the book will be about. I will end up exceeding my initial goal of 100 pages after editing, reviewi...read more

I Found a Book Title

Whenever I'm creating something, I tend to find a title for it first. If I don't have a title, I don't have a vision, and I tend to get chaotic. It's fascinating to see how names and titles are self-limiting. This is what makes them powerful: they ground you. It's been almost a month now since I announced my plan to write my first book in public on 200WaD. I have been writing non-stop since then. I outlined the topics I wanted to cover, but I have been struggling to find a book title that encompasses them. Until a few days ago. I want this book to describe how it is to live as a nomad entrepre...read more

I Suck at Writing, and That's Okay

I check all the boxes when it comes to possible excuses not to write. 1) I am French. 2) I started learning English when I was 16. 3) I make grammar and syntax mistakes in every text. 4) I have a highly demanding job. My life is basically about thinking about my business 12 hours a day for most days, sleep, and eat. 5) I never managed to get into a habit that lasted for more than a week. Still, here I am, on a two-month writing streak (46 days on this website + 18 days from before). What changed? I found out why I need to write after hours spent on thinking about it. First of all, I always lov...read more

Programming is Writing

Programming is not merely an engineering discipline. It is about writing for machines. It is about writing for humans too. A software engineer should put the human first, then the machine. Human first, meaning, with the stakeholders in mind. It doesn't matter how well engineered a program is if it is unreadable, or worse, worthless. A good program is like a good blog: modular, atomic, and simple. Like in any good writing the key is simplicity. If you need fancy words to sound impressive, your writings are probably lacking. Similarly, using cryptic lines of code won't impress anyone. Readabilit...read more

I Wrote 50 Posts: What's Next

Yesterday I wrote my 50th post for my 200 Words a Day challenge. My 32nd on this website. This is a total of 18953 words. 76 ebook pages. I feel great. Not only because it feels great to fight and win over my inner creative resistance every single day, but also because I can witness I'm getting closer to my personal goal: reach mastery. Mastery in my craft of making tech products is about creating a masterpiece: a product I believe in, from which I can make a living, and that solves a real problem. Writing allowed me to do just that: identify an important problem, think of a solution, connect ...read more

What I want to write about

I have been working as an entrepreneur for close to a year now. I experimented with many things along the way: creating a startup, launching a solo business, traveling the world while working remotely... Even if I am just 24, I can at least share my personal experiences. Maybe some people will find valuable insights in there. You never know until you put yourself out there. Yesterday I proposed the idea of writing a book in public, and I received many great comments. Some positive, some negative. Truth is, I am not doing it to seek the validation of others. If I can inspire people to break out...read more

I am writing a book in public

What is a 100 pages book? 25,000 words. If you write 200 words every day, it will take you 125 days to have enough content. Of course I am not taking into account editing, reviewing, and actually publishing the piece. Instead, I want you to picture this simple idea: it is realistic to publish an actual book in 3 months. 39 days ago I started my 200 Words a Day challenge. I wrote 13,673 words so far, with 359 words written per day in average. This is enough material to write a 50 pages ebook. Many things happened over the last 39 days. I launched 200wordsaday.com to gather writers from all arou...read more

Writing is the root of branding

If we take a really cold outlook at our economy today, we observe that everything is productized. Especially people. People are offered to a market to fulfill a need or a want -- to solve a problem in exchange for a wage, your perceived value. It is indeed a dehumanizing view, but this is the essence of liberalism. Similarly, everything you need to strive for in order to succeed in society could be linked to a sales process: you want a job? You have to sell yourself. You want a partner? Seducing is selling yourself. Jean-Luc Godard famously said that "making movies and doing the hustler a...read more

Hackers and writers

My favorite essay on programming is Paul Graham's 'Hackers and painters'. I am not referring to his book, but the essay you can find on his website. PG discusses how both hackers - the subculture, not necessarily related to computer security - and painters work in similar ways, and the concept of beauty one can find in programming. What is it that hackers do? They write words for machines and humans alike. A programming language is a set of words that a machine can understand in order to perform an operation and output its result. Hackers also write documentation and comments to share their wr...read more

How to write your public tasks as an accountable maker

I love public accountability platforms for makers. WiP, Product Hunt Makers, Makerlog ... you name it. Lots of open todos tools exist, and these days many are popping up. The problem is that most contributors do not know how to write tasks in a way that can really benefit them and the people reading. I like to watch @Booligoosh tasks on Makerlog once in a while, because they are actually written in a compelling way. Here are a few key points to write great task entries: 1) The task mentions the bigger picture If you do not mention where the task fits in your project or in your overall goal, it...read more