HOW TO WRITE

A little-bit of hard-won wisdom I’ve managed to borrow* over the years.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • You will need some EQUIPMENT.
  • You will need to know THE PROCESS.
  • You will need to know THE RULE.
  • Then you will need to START.

THE EQUIPMENT.

You will need a 20-minute timer and writing implements. The implements can be a word processor, a pen and paper, whatever.

THE PROCESS.

When you have secured your equipment, use this process.
1. Find a place where you can sit without interruption for 20 minutes.
2. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
3. Start writing. Do not stop writing until the timer is done.

THE RULE.

Perhaps you didn’t notice, but I did something sneaky up there when I shared THE PROCESS. I snuck in THE RULE. THE RULE, in case you missed it, is this: DO NOT STOP WRITING UNTIL THE TIMER IS DONE. This may seem hard at first. You may run out of things to say. You may not know how to start. But these are not actually problems. Just write, “I have nothing to say.” Write that over and over until you get so bored with yourself that you are motivated to write something else. Then perhaps you will write, “I don’t know what to write about.” Write that for a while. Then maybe you will find yourself answering yourself with something like, “You said you were going to write a blog post about why we are now in a Post-Lean Startup Universe.” And then, “Let me tell you why we are now in a Post-Lean Startup Universe.”

THE IMPLIED COROLLARY TO THE RULE

I didn’t tell you I would include this, but it’s important so I’m going to throw this in for free: if you follow THE RULE, then you will write successfully. To write successfully is to put words on a page or into a text file. Writing successfully is not the same thing as writing well. To write well, you have to go back and do that other thing: editing.

THE ONLY THING I’LL SAY ABOUT EDITING

I said I wouldn’t say much about editing, but I will say this one thing: when you are editing, you are a deadly samurai warrior. You slash writing to bits until only the good and pure and worthy words are left. But when you are writing, you are not a samurai. You are a waterfall or some shit and your job is just to let those words flow and flow even if the good ones are all tumbled up and white-watered with the ones that are rotten and filthy and polluted. Just remember that you can’t write and edit at the same time. Why? Because you can’t be a samurai and a waterfall at the same time because that shit makes no sense at all. First write. Then edit. Then repeat.

IN SUMMARY, HERE’S HOW TO WRITE

1. Find a place where you can sit without interruption for 20 minutes.
2. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
3. Start writing. Do not stop writing until the timer is done.

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Josh Seiden

Josh Seiden

Product. Design. Strategy. Growth. Publisher at bit.ly/SRPress Co-author of sensingbook.com, leanuxbook.com and bit.ly/OutcomesBook.

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