Connecting the dots
Steve Jobs

👀 Connecting the dots

Tomas Laurinavicius


Remembering Steve Jobs. 🍏

“A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.” — Burton Rascoe

👋 Hi! I’m Tom, and this is the Best Writing Newsletter (Issue #11).

Every Thursday, I send great reads, tools, jobs, tips, and friendly encouragement to do your best writing.

If someone shared this with you, subscribe here.

Steve Jobs passed away 11 years ago. 🪦

His 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University is a captivating collection of insightful life lessons.

This is my favorite one about connecting the dots.

Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example.

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed.

Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.

It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.

If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.

And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.

Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

⭐️ Unlimited Books & Magazines

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Writing Tip of the Week

😵‍💫 Use transitional words. Make sure everything you are writing flows.

The main idea from each point smoothly falls into the next.

All without any disjunction.

As if your reader is skating from point A to Z on some freshly sharpened skates.

Best Writing Examples

Discover sharp copy, inspiring quotes, and powerful messaging from the best apps, websites, magazines, and books.

Sometimes you don’t have all the answers, and it’s alright to admit it honestly. If you embrace radical honesty, your audience will trust you more, not less. Here’s a great example here from SEO Blueprint.

BLUF is a military communications acronym. It stands for “bottom line up front” and is designed to enforce speed and clarity in reports and emails. You put must-have information at the top and nice-to-have below.

One page should have one message and one call to action.

But what happens when your business services different industries and has multiple use cases?

You create subpages for each industry, use case, feature and write crystal clear copy. Check out how Intercom does it.

Best Reads

Favorite stories from Writer News.

📝 Taking Notes While Reading. Learn to focus, retain, and use what you’re reading.

“I rarely listen to books but if you are listening to a book, create a new note for that book and type in notes as you are listening.”

📖 60,000 Word Book In 30 Days. Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole promise to give you a book writing framework that will change the way you think about writing long-form forever.

Your book’s Main Title/Subtitle is 80% of the work.”

💸 29 Ways to Make Money Writing. A massive guide packed with valuable methods and strategies you can use to earn from your writing.

“Editors are busy and don’t have time to read a novel in their inbox. Your pitch is the perfect place to show that not only are you a great writer, but you have an excellent understanding of clear and concise communication.”

💰 Magazines That Pay $100+ to Freelancers. There is writing for money, and then there is writing for decent money.

✍️ Writer News is a new place for writers to share their work, get feedback, and discuss writing. It’s invite only, join the waitlist here.

Cool Tools

Interesting apps and software for curious writers.

Sudowrite. A magical writing app to help you bust writer’s block, brainstorm on demand and even get beta feedback without having to find beta readers.

Upword. This AI-powered app promises to capture key ideas 10x faster with personalized summaries.

Make My Persona. A powerful tool to learn what a buyer persona is and how to conduct research, surveys, and interviews to build your own.

Also Asked. Discover and visualize the questions people are asking. A great way to explore PAA (people also asked) boxes of certain Google search queries.

Food for Thought

“If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.” — Marcus Aurelius

“The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” — Seneca

“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.” — E.O. Wilson

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” — Winston Churchill

“Living doesn’t cost much, but showing off does.” — Jeffrey D. Sachs

📣 Shoutouts

Zohaib explains how hard skills get you a $1,000 client. How soft skills get you a $10,000 client.

Adam Crookes shares interesting niche site affiliate ideas like this one here about backpacking.

If you have a biz, product, or anything else you want to promote, post your elevator pitch and Samantha Anderl will be re-sharing all week.

Dominic Kent is building a list of writers to use and refer to when having excess work.

Interested in sponsorship, shout-out or cross-promotion with Best Writing? Reply to this email and let’s chat.

Did You Know?

Author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, kept an immense collection of nearly 300 hats. When facing writer’s block, the place Dr. Seuss would go was his secret closet, where he would choose a hat to wear until he felt inspired. 🎩

Best Writing Jobs

Find your next writing job, freelance gig, or side hustle.

  1. Full-Time Content Designer at Mind (London, UK)
  2. Full-Time Editor at LNS Research (Remote, US)
  3. Full-Time Curriculum Writer at Fueling Brains (Remote)
  4. Full-Time Content Manager at Sky (Osterley, UK)
  5. Full-Time Content Associate at Beauhurst (London, UK)

Freelance opportunities for members only.

🔒 Marketing Writer at Grow and Convert, $500/article (Freelance)

🔒 B2B SaaS Writer at Ignite My Site, $350/post (Freelance)

🔒 Diet/Nutrition/Health Writer, $200+ per article (Freelance)

🔒 Writer at News Futures 2035, £250/day (Freelance)

🔒 Politics Writer, $150–200/story, 800–1,000 words (Freelance)

🔑 Become a member to get instant access to daily freelance gigs not advertised anywhere else.

💼 Check all open roles or become a member to get daily job alerts.

Hiring writers? Use the code “FIRSTJOB” at checkout to get $100 off your first job post.

What’s New at Best Writing?

We started the blog migration and it’s going well!

We created content hubs with the best books, book notes, quotes, writing wiki and writing blog.

🙋‍♂️ We posted 30+ new jobs and added new members to the writer’s directory (here’s how to get listed if you’re a writer).

Did You Like the Newsletter?

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🤝 Want to get featured or collaborate? Send me your ideas. Yes, it’s me, a real person writing these emails.

☕️ Feeling generous? Tip $5. We’ll spend it on coffee.

💬 Want to become a supporter? Let’s talk.

Until next week,

Tomas Laurinavicius (your dot-connecting friend)

Co-founder, Best Writing (formerly Content Writing Jobs)

P.S. Supplies!

Originally published at Best Writing.