I summarized everything I've ever written about writing and creativity.

Behold: a big idea summary for readers and thinkers, artists and creators. (thread)
It’s not about you…
🔷It’s about ideas
🔷It’s about the message
🔷It’s about how you send it
Creating is like…
🔷Having your ego surgically removed one day
🔷Replaced the next
🔷And then removed the day after, in a continuous cycle
Don’t waste your audience’s time…
🔷Create a worthy product before you show it
🔷Ask yourself whether you can make it any better
🔷Enjoy what the work itself is teaching you
Don’t write words, play with ideas…
🔷Concentrate on themes
🔷Consider how they’re organized
🔷Recognize images people use to express them
We don’t will ourselves to like a subject, we’re simply aware of it at first…
🔷The closer we observe the more we learn
🔷The more we learn the more interested we become
🔷The more interested we become the closer we observe, in a virtuous circle
The only way to create something new is to go through a painful, deliberate creative process…

🔷Organize your thoughts
🔷Reflect them back to yourself in written form
🔷Resolve and structure ideas in a logical order

Repeat stages 1-3
Note: the strategy that works in one stage of the creative process causes failure in the next

🔷Make new parts (create)
🔷Remove favorite parts (delete)
🔷Publish and get feedback (stop deleting and share)

Repeat stages 1-3
Keep your creative process simple:

🔷Build on the ideas of others
🔷Put something new into the world

Repeat stages 1-2
Need creative assistance?
🔷Print Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”
🔷Cut out one sentence and tape it to your desk
🔷“Let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around”
🔷Look at it every time you’re stuck and need to find the right thought
To create something compelling…

🔷Put bigger ideas in a smaller package

To create something attractive…

🔷Make the ideas simple and universal at the same time
Focus on process more than output…
🔷Refine what you create to the asymptote
🔷Throw the output back into the process
🔷Create things. Create more things from those things (the more products you refine, the more products you combine, in a cycle).
No one cares about the last thing or the thing before that…
🔷The main thing is the next thing
🔷Simply make outputs faster than you deplete inputs
A product is not refined from crude oil to super premium in one step…
🔷Your first draft is the product of extraction (rich sources).
🔷Your published draft is the products of editing (refined products).
🔷Your masterpiece is the products of refined products (premium products).
Convert content into a format you love...
🔷Force choices
🔷Structure ideas
🔷Reward quality
🔷Constrain yourself
🔷Mandate discovery
🔷Strip away distractions
Don’t think about what you’re creating…
🔷Think about leaving a message
🔷And then *discover* what you’re creating
🔷By resolving underlying ideas into a self-evident structure
Amateurs think about entertaining an audience…
🔷Professionals think about moving an audience from one point of view to another
Remember, reading, thinking, and writing are three *processes* within a larger creative process…
🔷Reading is the process of filling yourself with ideas
🔷Thinking is the process of clarifying and ordering ideas
🔷Writing is the process of reflecting ideas back to yourself
Write what you mean…
🔷Don’t overreach
🔷Don’t make a grab for insight
🔷Don’t write something memorable
🔷Don’t write because you like the way it sounds
🔷Don’t search for a phrase at the expense of an idea
Apply these principles of communication…
🔷Convey your intended ideas, and none more
🔷Speak only when you have something to say
🔷Speak such that you cannot be misunderstood
🔷Leave your audience with an unmistakable single headline
If the quality of the things you write is compelling, the value of the things you write is compounding…
🔷Share ideas in the spirit of helping others
🔷Apply them in a continuous cycle of learning
Find the rest here...

And follow me if you want more big idea summaries!


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More from @jmikolay

14 Dec
@thisiskp_ 💯 KP

That may be the best-ever quote about creative flow.

The creative process succeeds in one direction (consuming ideas and then creating) and stalls in the other (trying to create and then looking for ideas).
@thisiskp_ In practice, consuming and creating aren’t separate activities; they’re connected and fold together like an accordion. Image
@thisiskp_ Start pulling apart the accordion and more activities emerge:

To create, curate. To curate, consume.

Keep pulling and the full creative stack appears: to consume, collect; to collect, explore, and so on for seven more levels! Image
Read 5 tweets
30 Nov
I channel successful creators in my personal life and @gumroad

Here’s what I’ve learned from them in the past six months, in their own words.

Stages of the Builder’s Journey – a Blueprint for Aspiring Creators:
Don’t wait until you have a big following (i.e. start now)...
🔷“I had fewer than 300 followers when I started”
🔷“I had fewer than 400 followers when I started”
🔷“I had fewer than 500 followers when I started”
Create without a plan (i.e. just be creative)...
🔷“This started as an experiment”
🔷“I wasn’t trying to build a business”
🔷“I didn’t set out to become a creator”
🔷“This wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing”
Read 18 tweets
28 Nov
Nearly thirty years ago, at the end of my eighth-grade school year, I received an award named in honor of Ray Kroc. The prize was one share of McDonalds Corporation common stock.

Here's the story of that one share:
My dad, a Certified Public Accountant, thought I might learn from the act of investing, so I bought a few more McDonalds shares along the way.

I didn't parlay the gift into millions. Instead, I learned patience and a practical lesson about Uncle Sam.
In 1993, I received the share for $53.81. Thereafter I reinvested all cash dividends.

In 1994, the stock split two shares for one. Since the stock price had by then risen to about $60, I now had two shares worth about $30 each.
Read 8 tweets
23 Nov
Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" is the best-known instruction book on writing in English.

I organized and distilled chapter five, "An Approach to Style (With a List of Reminders)," from 6,500 words to 1,300.

The summary includes ten observations and 21 reminders:
There’s no key that unlocks the door...
🔷No infallible guide to good writing
🔷No satisfactory explanation of style
🔷No inflexible rule by which writers may shape their course
These reminders state what most of us know and at times forget...
🔷Style is an expression of self
🔷To approach it, turn away from mannerisms, tricks, and adornments
🔷Move toward plainness, simplicity, orderliness, and sincerity
Read 33 tweets
4 Nov
I channel the worldviews of interesting people on Twitter.

I do that by organizing and distilling their tweets into a summary of their big ideas. For my own education I summarized the timeline of @JoeBiden, and it’s helped me to look beyond the headlines.
I believe it’s valuable to channel people of all stripes and persuasions, and in that spirit, I’ll continue to share summaries of writers and thinkers, artists and creators.

In one place, read the philosophy of @JoeBiden, win or lose:
America is full of possibilities…
🔷We have respect for hard work
🔷We have determination, resilience, and grit
🔷We have opportunity to go as far as our dreams take us
Read 24 tweets
2 Nov
An hour into a conversation with @karaswisher two years ago, @elonmusk told a story I still think about whenever I hear CEOs talk.

Two years earlier, Elon said he was "going to take apart a tunnel-boring machine" and "improve its efficiency between 500 and 1,000 percent."
In response, an unnamed tunneling consultant was quoted as saying, "Give me a break. You think someone can take apart a Boeing plane and put it back together, improving it by 500 percent? Elon’s got a very steep learning curve."
Which is exactly what Elon thought too. At the time, he said, "We have no idea what we’re doing. We’re going to get this machine, take it apart, figure out how to make it go much faster and still be safe. We’ll see how much progress we can make."
Read 14 tweets

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