The One Idea That Changed How I Write (And Why I've Never Stared at a Blank Page Since)


Creating short books as a kid, many years in school, daily in my life as a marketer, and a personal blog that's been my outlet for years.

My go-to way was always to open a fresh document and start writing.

This usually ended up being a lengthy brain dump, at which point I got tired. The text felt long, I started editing, adding text, removing text, adding text again... I was creating and editing simultaneously.

Slowly, I started resenting the piece I was in the middle of writing.

The one idea that changed how I approach writing was 👉 Start writing when you're already 80% done.

It came to be during Tiago Forte's course 'Building a second brain' and is based on the idea that everything is a remix.

When we create a piece, we connect ideas with our own thoughts. The idea is to slowly start building content by collecting thoughts, ideas, etc into something that can eventually become the embryo of your writing.

1/ Collect ideas and trust they'll be useful

I've created a system for capturing information.

Ideas, quotes, article highlights, etc. As this content bank grows, so does the material available for me to play with. I can make connections between them, and remix stuff I've written before. Since I use Evernote I can easily search for a word or idea that I'm thinking of writing about.

Suddenly I have a bunch of content pieces I can work with.

2/ Create 'slow burns' instead of 'heavy lifts'

I have dozens of pieces in my Evernote that are in progress (so-called slow burns).

These are pieces of writing I can use as lego pieces to build something bigger. Once in a while, one of these pops out as something I want to write. Now, instead of staring at a blank page, I have a lot of pieces of content and structure already there.

👉 I begin the writing when I'm 80% done.

This has drastically reduced the pressure I used to put on myself.

Instead, writing feels like a game of connecting ideas + thoughts and expanding them into my own.