Benjamin Franklin’s unusual routine will make you see the sentiment behind writing exercises

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash

Usually, I am not a particular fan of writing prompts. They make me feel like riding a bicycle on support wheels. It’s as if I had to confess that I wasn’t smart enough to come up with a prompt myself. And since writing is mostly thinking, why should I be smart enough to write if I rely on other people’s prompts? — You guessed it, like all writers, I’m a bit of an overthinker.

But I recently came across Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, where I learned about some of his writing exercises. They made me realize why his face is still…


Make them count through storytelling

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

You’ve got this amazing idea for an inciting incident or a hook, but it’s tied to a chemical formula or a complex number sequence. Or you want to give your story a realistic touch by introducing a few factoids that make your more obscure excursions believable.

Whatever the case, many of us struggle with embedding complex information in our stories. Probably because we think back to our math or physics teacher who wasn’t exactly a poet laureate (Sorry, Mr. J. But it’s true.).

However, the problem does not lie within math or physics itself. In fact, I’ve written a whole…


Striding after Nabokov and Joseph Conrad is only the first step you need to take

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

If English is not your native language, you may find yourself in the constant battle living in two cultures. You’re not just splitting your time, but your marketing, worldview, and identity. Perhaps you’re in a situation, where identity and culture seem to stand in the way of your creative and strategic goals.

Here’s my take on the “culture crisis” from different angles, and how I decided to resolve it.

I am not a “native speaker” of English. There, I said it. …


Pay attention to the logic behind, or your marketing efforts will run into a wall

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Followers used to be the desired measure of success on Twitter. These days, we see more users aiming at higher engagement. It seems the messages of honest marketers have finally reached a broad audience.

But asking how to increase engagement still entails a risk you may not be aware of — and it’s preventing you from increasing your engagement rates in the first place. Let’s talk about it.

How Is Your Twitter Engagement Rate Calculated?

First things first — what is Twitter engagement? In the case of Twitter, you don’t need to learn about some fancy algorithms or terms of use. The reasoning is straightforward. …


Start with the impossible, then shave off bits and pieces to arrive in the here and now

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

Almost every blog post and non-fiction book about writing looks for the secret recipe. How did this writer get to point A? How did that director achieve goal B?

Stop that. We need to abandon the idea that everything can be controlled, that we just need to follow a simple formula to achieve our freedom, financial success, or a publishing contract. Instead, we should train our insane side. That’s right, you should cultivate your insanity, as counterintuitive as that may sound.

Now, we need to differentiate between asking about the mechanics and looking for the golden ticket. If you’re searching…


Here’s why you should still grab that saucy love recipe from the bookshelf

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

You may consider this a phony camouflage that allows me to shamelessly plug all the saucy dating tips I’ve read, but it’s not. Reading non-fiction books and blogs on dating can truly improve your writing. Here’s why it works.

Why dating advice?

While you can find countless how-tos on the web whose titles claim that “blogging is like cooking” or “writing is like jogging,” I don’t aim for that kind of metaphor-based pseudo-comparison to hook you in with a nice headline. …


Plotting rules and lessons to learn from Outlander and Déjà Vu

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

Time travel isn’t just for SciFi writers. It can be one of those genius hacks that set your story apart. But once you’re playing around with your story’s timeline and plot causalities, you better know what you’re doing.

Let’s have a look at two vastly different plots — Déjà Vu and Outlander — to observe how other writers have done it and which traps await you.

SPOILER ALERT

I’ll quickly give you the essential information you need about both plotlines, so you don’t have to know Déjà Vu or Outlander. …


Stop seeing a creative block as a matter of productivity

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

Your writer’s block could have many reasons, but your identity is probably the most fundamental one. Once you’ve accepted, or rather chosen, your particular self-image and it has stopped you, picking up that pen will require more than a fresh blog post idea.

Here’s how you might run into this problem and a little personal insight, including my antidotes.

You may think that you’re a writer; therefore, you write. But actually, it’s more complicated.

Many of the activities and occupations involving writing come with a completely different set of requirements, thus matching varying personality types. …


There’s more than one way to support your loved ones on their last walk.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

When we think about a person’s death, many of us imagine the picturesque scenes which we’ve observed in the movies for years. Obviously, that wouldn’t work if we weren’t bravely sitting by their bedside muscling through the unimaginable. But sometimes, life comes in the way of your heroic moment.

Even though we tend to see the encounters with the Grim Reaper coming, he often takes a different route — and therefore, your ideal scenario, as well. Here’s an example of how your world view and self-image might change along the way.

When my father passed away three years ago, I…


How outlining can help you write outstanding content faster

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Lots of writers want to learn how to write more or faster. And while those may be admirable and sensible goals, outlining can help you to find the gold nuggets faster and to leave the dusty old bricks behind.

I just planned to write a completely different story which you will never read. I abandoned it faster than a waterdrop jumps off a hotplate. And even though I sometimes wish I could churn the stories out at a faster rate, I am glad that you won’t get to see me on the writer’s pillory.

The story would’ve been too mediocre…

Florian Führen

Writer, developmental editor, novel proofreader. Fights metaphors & dragons while writing about storytelling, relationships & fiction writing.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store