If you suffer from procrastination when writing...

I eventually overcame it.

How to make writing easier:
To start, I write the worst draft possible as quickly as I can.

Because almost all the work happens during rewriting anyway.

The greatest friction is in putting ideas down in the first place.
It's your first major hurdle: get a bad draft #1 done so you can spend 95% of your time rewriting.

That means, in my bad first draft, I use placeholders any time I'm stuck:
When an idea requires more thought than I want to put in, I write <to fill out> and glide past it.

Your first draft is like speedrunning.

The goal is to just generate and connect ideas. Not to explain everything.

Remove the friction.
I find that first draft idea generation works best when you’re exploring ideas that selfishly interest *you*.

I continually ask myself:

1. What are the most interesting implications of what I just said?
2. How can I fully convince myself that what I just said is true?
I ask these questions to move in the direction that excites me.

Here's the irony of self-indulgent writing: writing for yourself is the quickest path to writing something others love.

Because you're a proxy for your die-hard audience.
"People think you need to be inspired to write. No, you write in order to get inspired."

—Paul Jarvis
This brings us to the writing framework I use.

It goes like this:
1. Use draft 1 to find your novel ideas, which may be:

• Counter-intuitive
• Counter-narrative
• Shock and awe
• Elegant synthesis

2. Draft 2 is for making those novel ideas stick—via:

• Stories
• Analogies
• Examples
Therefore, I personally believe:

Writing Quality = Novelty x Resonance
"Novel" ideas are significant and not easily intuited.

"Resonance" is how deeply ideas take root in readers' minds. It's the art of capturing their imaginations and relating to their life experiences.
Now, let's step back:

How do I choose a topic worth writing about in the first place?

The best topic to write about is the one you can’t *not* write about at the time.

Meaning, it’s the idea bouncing around your head that compels you to get to the bottom of it.
I have a framework for figuring out what that idea is.

It consists of having an objective and a motivation.
First, you choose an objective for your post:

1. Open people’s eyes.
2. Articulate something everyone is afraid to say.
3. Identify key trends on a topic.
4. Contribute original insights.
5. Distill an overwhelming topic.
6. Share a solution to a tough problem.

And so on.
Then you pair your objective with what motivates you:

1. Does writing this article get something off your chest?
2. Does it help reason through an unsolved problem you have?
3. Does it persuade others to do something you believe is important?

And so on.
Your objective clarifies what you're trying to accomplish, and your motivation ensures you actually see it through.

Objectives reveal what your article must accomplish to be complete.

You can work backward from it to identify your outline.
When writers lack an objective or motivation, I find they tend to not finish their first draft.
Speaking of outlines. I outline depending on my writing intent:

1. Am I writing to share information I already know? If so, I outline.

2. Am I writing to think through ideas? If so, that means I'm writing to discover. I skip the outline and freely explore my thoughts.
When I'm done my first draft, I'll then pitch the idea to a friend and ask:

"What are the most interesting things I could say about this topic?"

"What would you really want to know if you could learn anything about it?"

Their answers may work their way into my rewrite.
Recap 1 of 2:

• I write the worst draft I can as quickly as I can. Speedrun.
• I use placeholders (<to fill>) any time I'm stuck.
• The goal of my first draft is to generate and connect just a few good ideas.
Recap 2 of 2:

• When discovering my thoughts, I keep asking: How can I make this point more convincing? What are the interesting implications of what I just said?
• Identify your writing objective. Pair it with a motivation. Have a north star.
My upcoming thread is on how I write second drafts.

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More from @Julian

14 Jun
If you worry about your startup's competition...

I overcame that anxiety by writing this essay.

How to beat competition:
I used to worry about three competitive dynamics:

• What if competitors turn my business into a feature?

• If I don’t build this feature now, a competitor will and I’ll lose my headstart.

• What if my competitor's market dominance makes acquisition costs unsustainably high?
I reduced these anxieties by realizing this: 

*Customer retention is the antidote to competition.*

Because, when fearing competition, you're often fearing:

• Unsustainable economics
• Losing customers to competitors

The second one caused most of my stress. So I tackled it:
Read 15 tweets
11 Jun
What’s the most beautiful piece of writing you’ve ever come across?

Bonus points if you can screenshot a paragraph and share it below. I’ll consider including it in my writing guide.

Props to anyone who takes the time ❤️
I'll start with some great ones from last time:

From @amamyyang Image
From @VCFryer Image
Read 7 tweets
10 Jun
I've now written 30 Twitter threads.

I use them to log great ideas and everything that surprises me.

Here are my 9 best threads (on startups, writing, marketing):
Read 11 tweets
8 Jun
Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Drake generate non-stop hits for years.

What are they doing differently?

Thread: How to generate way more ideas
I was watching a documentary on songwriter Ed Sheeran. In it, he described his songwriting process.

It struck me as identical to the process that author Neil Gaiman detailed in his Masterclass.
Here's the thing.

Ed Sheeran and Neil Gaiman are in the top 0.000001% of their fields. They're among very few people in the world who consistently generate blockbuster after blockbuster.
Read 17 tweets
24 May
How do you quickly grow an online audience?

Here's how I've helped folks do it.

A mix of writing, marketing, and startups:
One audience building approach:

• YouTube/Twitter for viral distribution
• Blogging for SEO distribution
• Newsletter for maintaining relationships
• Podcasts for deepening them

Twitter gets the word out.

Newsletters keep people around.

Podcasts help them better know you.
A question to ask when building an audience:

Are they following you for your mind or your labor?

• Labor: You're COLLECTING good content for them
• Mind: You're CRAFTING original content

Mind-followers are extra loyal. They're with you no matter what you do in the future.
Read 17 tweets
19 May
10 of my realizations about writing well:
Your goal isn't to build a writing habit. Your goal is to fall so in love with interesting ideas that you can’t not write about them.
Don't wait for an idea to be fully formed before writing. You write in order to think through the idea. The act of writing compels your brain to connect the dots.
Read 11 tweets

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