168: Five Ways to Reduce Overwhelm When Writing (aka Thinking)
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One of the biggest lessons I learned from author Nassim Taleb is that whenever he finds himself bored with what he’s writing, he stops. His logic? Surely if you are bored as the author, your readers will be too. Taleb takes it as a sign to drop that direction or concept altogether unless he figures out a way to get excited about it again.
In Free Time, I share a similar sentiment: how we bake is as important as what we make. That means that working on your big ideas—whether a project as complex as a book or a single article or podcast episode—should be fun! It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming slog where you’re stuck staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page, though even the stress of that is being lessened every day by generative AI tools like ChatGPT.
In today’s episode of the Author Toolkit Q&A series, I share five strategies that help me reduce overwhelm when writing (hint: which really means doing better thinking in advance). If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the free Author Toolkit here »
🌟5 Key Takeaways to Reduce Overwhelm When Writing:
- For harvesting ideas, make sure you have a cloud-based collection bucket
- Take a nonlinear brainstorming approach for topics and structure
- Prepare your mise en place before sitting down to write by collecting: personal anecdotes, data, concepts, how-to, stories, and examples from others
- Ignite the pilot light of motivation by writing just 7 sentences, approximately 100 words
- Consider that a book comprises of many short blog-post length essays (each Free Time chapter was 1,500 to 2,000 words). You might even end up with the problem of writing more than you need!
📝Permission: Stop writing if you’re bored with the topic. Notice what sparks your energy and start there instead.
✅Do (or Delegate) This Next: Challenge yourself (even better to set up accountability with a friend) to write seven sentences or 100 words each day for one week, ideally about five different ideas you’ve been exploring. Send each other a green checkmark (like the one at the start of this paragraph) once you’ve done your thinking/writing/voice dictating for the day.
- Free Time: Lose The Busywork, Love Your Business
- Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- What Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal Setting by Tara McMullin (and her What Works podcast)
- Free Time’s Author Toolkit
- Marco Polo
- Jenny’s Notion for Idea Collection Loom walkthrough
- Meal Kits: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Factor (pre-made meals I’m loving at the moment)
🎧Related Podcast Episodes:
- 111: Building a Second Brain with Tiago Forte
- 163: Leveraging Idea Kernels to Create Compelling Content with Khe Hy
- 166: Crashing into Quiet Time 🏝️
- 162: Should You Self-Publish? (Part One)
- 164: Let’s Talk Royalties re: Publishing Options (Part Two)
- 158: How to Decide on a Book (or Big Idea) Topic—10 Filters
- 156: 8 Idea Generation Strategies
💻 Access Free Time episode transcripts on Podscribe »
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