Here’s a set of four links from the week. When I started this 100 posts in 100 days project, I knew I’d need some recurring posts to fill in some blanks. These link collections are supposed to be straightforward to write. Attacking my fear of using ‘ironically’ incorrectly head-on, they ironically take longer to write than other posts from the week. Here we go.
Stephen King & George R.R. Martin
I want to write something longer about this conversation between Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, but I thought it’d be good to write something now while it’s completely fresh in my memory. They take turns asking each other questions for an hour. Nearly all questions are answered with a great story from each author.
Martin: How do you write so many books?
King: When I’m working I do six pages a day.
Martin: And you usually hit six pages a day?
King: I do.
I admire them both even though I haven’t read a lot of their work. I love On Writing. Recently I read A Knight of Seven Kingdoms. It’s excellent, and now I have a sense of why the A Song of Ice and Fire series is so popular with readers. (Beyond the sense I got from being a loyal Game of Thrones viewer/wiki reader.)
Cal Newport: Monday Master Class (2008)
In this article, Cal Newport lays out actionable steps to taking the time to think and organize thoughts before a single key is pressed.
You type a little. You add a quote that makes sense. You glance at that little page count number in the lower left corner. You type a little more. Eventually you hit your magic page count. A couple quick editing passes and you’re done!
Basically my current writing process. Lately I’ve been thinking about things that go into writing that aren’t writing. Typing is the easy part. Similar to Gladwell saying most of the time spent writing a book is in thinking and organizing. At the start of this project, I’ve been focusing on the typing part, and I think that’s fine. I’ll slowly shift to thinking more deeply about subjects, but establishing the writing habit is important to me right now. Maybe I’ll try a few walks home from work without a podcast or audiobook, just trying to organize thoughts to write about. Then I can dive into transferring those thoughts to different boards when I’m home. Anything I can do to stay away from a text editor.
In the morning, I’ll wake up and fill in the blanks. It will be blissful.
How’s that for an affirmation1?
Ten thousand, one thousand, but first, ten
Maybe these Friday Five posts can be summaries of future posts that I’ll expand on. This week, I’ve run into a few links about the number of people looking at your work and how important they are.
Seth Godin: First, Ten. You can’t market to anonymous masses anymore, so focus on finding ten people who trust, respect, need, and listen to you.
Kevin Kelly: 1,000 true fans. A creator needs 1,000 true fans to make a living.
Shawn Coyne: The ten thousand reader rule. Find 10,000 people who will read your book for free. Otherwise it will be impossible to find anyone willing to pay for your book.
I’d love to further compare and contrast the concepts behind these messages. Maybe that will help me find my first ten.
Five in my Four
Bonus content that nobody was asking for. Again, this weekly post is inspired by Tim Ferriss and his 5-Bullet Friday newsletter.
Person I’m enjoying following
This week I’ve been going back through Cal Newport’s books and his blog. There’s a lot of posts about writing, though they’re about writing term papers. A lot of it seems applicable to the types of things I want to write.
When I lay it out, it’s not exactly the next great American novel: I want to write blog posts with links. But I want them to be good. I want to practice organizing thoughts into narratives.
After all, I found Cal’s blog post interesting enough to write about and share 8 years after it was originally posted. And 8 years later, he’s still publishing books and churning out interesting blog posts. Cal doesn’t use social media, but I’ll continue trying to follow his example.
Purchase I’m loving
Amazon has a white Kindle again. It looks great in person (that picture is my girlfriend’s). I also started using a big sketchbook with post-its to have a portable board. It’s a good size for planning posts.
Oh yeah, I also picked up a bunch of Muji storyboard books on my trip to Tokyo. I’m still sad they discontinued them in America. There’s a scene from Silicon Valley showing fake accounts being made in a computer farm. Can I pay them to send Muji emails requesting the return of the storyboard book? “It took me all day, but I got the ten signatures I needed.” — George Michael Bluth
What I’m listening to
I’ve been listening to a lot of random “mozart piano” results on Spotify. Just to have something on when I’m writing or reading. I used to use Focus@Will, but I can’t if I’m on the subway. By view count, my most successful writing was about design. A good portion of it was written while listening to various sounds coming from Focus@Will. The Spotify + Bit Timer combo has been serviceable lately.
Most popular post on instagram
I only posted one photo on Instagram. I’ll re-post here:
I’ve been going through photos from recent travel. This one is from Sensoji Temple. Lots of beautiful lanterns. I shot this shortly after receiving a lukewarm fortune. Above is the full crop instead of the 1:1 version I posted to Instagram.
And here’s a bonus picture for the 4th of July weekend.
Quote I’m Pondering
From one of Steven Pressfield’s ad copy mentors in Nobody Wants to Read Your Shi* (currently free to download!):
“Kid, it’s not stealing if you put a spin on it.”
Well, I certainly stole these link headings. I hope everything under the headings is enough of a spin.
Also this has a 2008 Ramit Sethi comment with his updated avatar. Ramit was out there just commenting on blogs. Ramit, just like us! ↩