001 - Strata Curry (The Beginning)
In the spirit of NanoWriMo, I tried doing a burst of writing this weekend. I “wrote” 17 posts. Which by the end of it mostly meant that this is what I did:
Outlined a topic
Recorded 5 minutes of audio talking about the topic
Now I’m going through each episode and writing some notes and scheduling them for the rest of the month.
Here’s an example outline from one of the episodes I recorded this weekend:
By the end of it, I was getting into a pretty good rhythm. Still working out a few things, like what audience I’m making this for. Initial ideas are (1) a newsletter for people writing newsletters or (2) a newsletter for creative people making something daily.
I leaned toward the whole bias-to-action sort of thing and made the episodes instead of waiting around to figure out who it’s for. (Which, of course, means that it’s probably for no one at this point. Which is fine for now.)
Now some show notes
I’m doing this newsletter to try to make something daily. I didn’t mention this quote in the audio but it’s from Chase Jarvis’s Creative Calling:
“Creating before consuming is a seemingly minor shift that will have a profound effect on your daily outlook and creative capacity. So please, create first. Make something (and ideally share it), no matter how small.”
I mentioned a Tim Ferriss Show episode with Chase Jarvis where they talk about systems thinking and how it applied to launching his podcast. His goal was to make the podcast sustainable and consistent:
That’s a month and a half of long form interviews. And then, I have the shorter ones. And all of that is intended to make it sustainable and consistent. And it allows me to focus on the pieces that I am best at.
I want to make this newsletter sustainable and consistent. So here are my answers to the two questions I mention in the audio.
1) What is the one thing I can do to make everything else easier or unnecessary?
Start with an outline that includes a book quote. This makes the rest of the process easier. Having an outline…
Helps keep me on track when recording the audio.
Gives me a way to capture future ideas (just write a title and a bullet or two) and park them somewhere. Then I can weigh them against each other before taking it from a title to a thicker outline.
The book quote provides an anchor that I can return to when I notice I’m straying away from the topic. It also makes it easier to think of topics to talk and write about. I can always talk about something new (or something old that was reinforced) that I learned recently through reading. As long as I keep reading, that will remain true.
2) What might this (in my case, starting with an outline) look like if it were easy?
Here are some things that create friction and some thoughts on how I can eliminate that friction.
Not knowing what to write an outline about—As long as I have the parking lot, I’ll have at least a few ideas to choose between.
Having too many ideas and wanting to write about more than one—Aiming for a daily newsletter means that if a couple ideas are particularly exciting for me at the time, I can just pick one and go, knowing that I can write about the second one immediately after or the next day.
Having a bunch of ideas and not wanting to write about any of them—This is probably a sign that I should take a break for the day and maybe just move on to recording.
Feeling like it’s too much to write—As mentioned, the outline size is now pretty small. It’s short enough that I know I can write the outline in 10 minutes or less.
Feeling like there are too many ideas in one outline—Having the title and the quote will help me stay focused on one idea at a time.
Alright time to hit publish
There’s some level of oddness here that I’ll continue working on:
Timing—I batched 16 more posts to publish over the next three weeks. In most of the audio I mention some things that happened this weekend. That might be weird but maybe as I write the notes, I can continue to call that out. (In particular, I mention UFC 244 a few times.)
Audience—In some audio, I talk about writing a newsletter for newsletter writers. In others, I talk about writing a newsletter for people building up a daily creative practice. (Writing for people writing newsletters is more specific but I think it might lead to me just doing a bunch more of this meta navel gazing instead of sharing good ideas I come across.)
Calling these episodes or issues. Initially I was thinking I’d just post transcriptions of the audio. But then I transcribed the audio above and it was 850 words with no organization. The other option was to just start recording 1 or 2 minute clips to be more toward 250 words. But that felt like it was too brief for audio. By the end of this weekend’s recording session I think aiming to talk for 5 minutes and then writing a few notes with links will be the format I’ll stick to in the short term.
Nevermind, I’ll just call them issues. This is a reversible decision, so it doesn’t matter.
Okay really hitting publish now.