There is no getting around the fact that creating things consistently is hard work. It doesn’t matter what it is, making videos, writing blog posts, painting, crafts, it all takes time and effort to keep going. Particularly if you need inspiration to spark the content in the first place, something that comes in waves for me. The biggest thing that help to write more, is to read more.
Full disclosure, this post was inspired by similar thoughts and guidance from Matt Birchler on his content creation cycle. If anyone is to be listened to, it’s Matt, cause his constant stream of videos and blog posts are unbelievable. However, I have shared some guidance on my reading and writing flows previously to try to help.
This time I am going to concentrate on how I read things and how I then go from inspiration to publication. This will outline what apps I use, how I like to do and where I do to. Posting this hopefully will give you an insight into my creative process and perhaps help you start writing more too.
RSS & Triage
The internet is full of awesome stuff. So much so, it can be impossible to keep up with it and take nothing away but. A feeling of being overwhelmed. To combat this, you must remove any completionism you have. No one has the time to read and watch everything. So triaging the inputs you like is critical, and I do this mainly through RSS.
Using my favourite app, Reeder, I have loads of feeds set up to put in content from all over the web. I can then easily look at things being published on my iPhone or my Mac and fill a few moments. I hardly ever read anything in reeder unless it is a really short post, I give scything a quick scan and do one of two things.
- If it looks interesting, I will share it to Upnext.
- If it doesn’t, I will move on.
If I ever get to the point of feeling like there is too much to process through, I just mark all as read and move on. As compelling as things are on the web, nothing is vitally important, and good posts have a habit of popping up again anyway.
I do this a little with Apple News too, but it is filled with far too much crud to filter through very well, despite limiting what is shows.
Reading & Highlighting
I read everything in an app that I can highlight and share these with Readwise. This is absolute detrimental to me because I want to be able to read and retain the things that I highlight as fascinating. At the moment I am using Upnext for this, but I have also used Pocket in the past, as well and small dalliances with Matter.
All of my Newsletters are also delivered into Upnext, so I can highlight them as if they were web articles. Pro-tip, you can also get around some paywalled articles by saving them to relater services, but not all.
I open Upnext on my iPhone whenever I feel like it. Small instances of downtime in the day, as boredom relief, and then in larger periods at night on my iPad Mini. I don’t read every word of every article, nor do I highlight loads of things, but I adore reading and learning new things.
At any point if I highlight something really thought-provoking I will share it straight into Ulysses where I have a writing Kanban set up. This is the start of all of my link posts and many of my articles.
Listening & Thinking
There are four smaller areas that fall in here, all of which are important to my creative process. Upnext has the ability for me to listen to some articles, so when driving I sometimes consume these to fill the boredom.
I can’t go one without talking about podcasts, either. Although my listing has dropped dramatically over the last couple of years, there are a few shops I never miss and listen to these at work or when walking the dog. If anything in these episodes sparks some inspiration, I have a shortcut set up to type a few words into my Ulysses inbox. I have also done this with Notion in the past.
The third part of listening is being open and taking in feedback. There are many times I have written a post, spoken to someone about it, and then written again because my viewpoint has shifted. There is nothing wrong with this, and it is important to listen to feedback and take it in creatively. It also leads to some of the best conversations I have ever had about interesting topics. Be open.
Lastly, before anything gets published, you need to think about it. Just sit (or walk) and stew over the words you want to say and make sure they are correct. Establishing your true feelings and not rage publishing is something crucial, but it is even more critical to give yourself time to think about the things you consume. Just be alone with your thoughts and process everything.
Writing & Publishing
Every single word I publish comes from Ulysses, I am writing in it now. Having messed around with so many apps and wasted a considerable amount of money, I always come back. For the small price it is an outstanding app, providing a great experience to create everything from a short link post to a full on novel.
The corrections available in the app seem to catch almost all of my spelling and grammar issues littered through every post, and it actually makes me a better writer. It doesn’t matter where you publish your work from here, but the most critical thing is that you do it. I do it mobile from my iPhone, but I do prefer to sit in the chair and type away. It gives me a better environment to think about what I am writing and establish what I am trying to say.
There are no rules to writing, despite some believing so, and even less to blogging so publish away. Read more, write more and let’s converse more about the things we enjoy. That tweet you just threw into the ether, should have been a blog post.