What Are You Building?

Creating Your Content City

The more articles I write, and the more content I produce, the questions I ask myself about writing have shifted…

Instead of asking: “What am I writing about next?”

Ask: “What am I building?

This is a subtle shift that has a dramatic impact. One is about the immediate future, the second is about the larger goals that you’re trying to accomplish.

It reminds me of a city — an interlocking content ecosystem.

1. Build a City of Content

With your writing, you are creating buildings, roads, highways, neighborhoods, and local stores with your writing.

Each is slightly different. Some topics will be a local boutique (a short article or passing though), others could be a gigantic skyscraper (a topic cluster if you will).

Yes, be known for a niche or a topic, but it goes deeper than that.

Many of your articles and ideas should build on top of each other, and even be connected.

Think of a city — it spreads out, it goes deep, it goes up, it goes down.

There are roads that connect one building (article) to another, and they are all loosely related.

In the SEO world, this is called internal linking to form topic clusters, related articles, and posts that show you’re an expert and that you have in-depth knowledge of the topic at hand.

Continue reading “What Are You Building?”

Here’s A (Simple) Workflow for Tracking Your Best Ideas.

Trying to remember your writing ideas, but aren’t sure where to capture them?

After suggesting ways to come up with more article ideas, I realized I didn’t go into detail about the best tools and workflows for this.

What I’m going to suggest to you is what I personally do for capturing and keeping article ideas…it’s not what I do to generate ideas or what I do after I have settled on an idea.

(i.e. the writing or production process — but if you are interested in that, please let me know).

I think Idea Capture is the right term for this. I’m borrowing from the Getting Things Done method, which is a very useful process for organizing all of the information in your life, though I don’t follow it by the letter.

Continue reading “Here’s A (Simple) Workflow for Tracking Your Best Ideas.”

How Do You Become More Creative? 23 Tips To Help You.

#13 Could Be the Most Important

You want to be more creative, but where do you start? Creativity is not something that can just happen on its own — it needs a bit of effort from us in order for it to flourish.

So how do you go about becoming more creative?

There are many different approaches out there, but the most important thing is to find what works best for you as an individual writer and creator. That might mean collaborating with others who share your interests or fostering an environment where the sparks can really fly. The key is to have discipline and consistency until you get somewhere!

Continue reading “How Do You Become More Creative? 23 Tips To Help You.”

Don’t Have Time to Write Articles Every Day? (Try This)

How to write smarter, not more.


It’s faster than “writing every day.” And arguably even more productive.

And even though I’m a big believer in writing sprints, this isn’t it either.

What am I talking about?

I first heard about this idea from James Altucher and was unconvinced that it would work…

But it focused my output without even having to write every day.

You may know where I’m going with this…

The tactic to save you time, but also help your writing:

Write down 10 ideas for articles per day.

Simple right, but this is the rub…

It’s harder than it looks.

It’s harder than it looks because you must come up with the ideas. You’ll keep flying until five or 6. Especially if you do it each day, or at least 5x per week.

And perhaps you only need to do it for a few days in a row to have a full bank of ideas, however…

The hard truth is that each idea will not be a good idea.

Some of them will be terrible. Downright awful. And you use this to your advantage. Because you won’t spend as much time writing about the bad ideas.

Just because you have an idea for a Medium article, that doesn’t…

Mean you should write about it. This process helps you decide faster.

So instead of…

  • Coming up with an idea
  • Doing research on it
  • And then being frustrated with how little you care about the idea…

You’ll make a faster decision about whether the idea is good or not.

You write down the idea, then move on to the next idea. You can then choose from many ideas about what to pursue and what to write about.

This saves you time and lessens your frustration. This automatically makes you a better, faster, and more efficient writer because you’re not wasting time on bad ideas.

If you come up with enough *good* ideas, you will probably be more motivated to write.

The more ideas you generate, the better you’ll be at choosing, the better you will be at writing points and thoughts about that idea.

10 Idea Writing Process

  • Write down 10 potential ideas for a Medium article
  • Don’t stop until you hit 10, even if #1 or #2 is a good one. You can come back to them
  • Once you hit 10, start ranking your ideas for what excites you most that day
  • Take notes, make an outline, and begin fleshing out your next Medium article
  • Finish this article (even if it takes you more than a day or 2)
  • Once you’re ready to begin your next article, revisit the Idea List
  • Keep those ideas, but write down 10 more article ideas. Pick one from the list (you now have more than 20!)
  • Repeat the writing process

Your time is now focused on finding the right idea, not just any idea — this will speed up your writing process and you’ll be more excited about the content you’re creating.


It’s faster than “writing every day.” And arguably even more productive.

And even though I’m a big believer in writing sprints, this isn’t it either.

What am I talking about?

I first heard about this idea from James Altucher and was unconvinced that it would work…

But it focused my output without even having to write every day.

You may know where I’m going with this…

The tactic to save you time, but also help your writing:

Write down 10 ideas for Medium articles per day.

Simple right, but this is the rub…

It’s harder than it looks.

It’s harder than it looks because you must come up with the ideas. You’ll keep flying until five or 6. Especially if you do it each day, or at least 5x per week.

And perhaps you only need to do it for a few days in a row to have a full bank of ideas, however…

The hard truth is that each idea will not be a good idea.

Some of them will be terrible. Downright awful. And you use this to your advantage. Because you won’t spend as much time writing about the bad ideas.

Just because you have an idea for a Medium article, that doesn’t…

Mean you should write about it. This process helps you decide faster.

So instead of…

  • Coming up with an idea
  • Doing research on it
  • And then being frustrated with how little you care about the idea…

You’ll make a faster decision about whether the idea is good or not.

You write down the idea, then move on to the next idea. You can then choose from many ideas about what to pursue and what to write about.

This saves you time and lessens your frustration. This automatically makes you a better, faster, and more efficient writer because you’re not wasting time on bad ideas.

If you come up with enough *good* ideas, you will probably be more motivated to write.

The more ideas you generate, the better you’ll be at choosing, the better you will be at writing points and thoughts about that idea.

10 Idea Writing Process

  • Write down 10 potential ideas for an article
  • Don’t stop until you hit 10, even if #1 or #2 is a good one. You can come back to them
  • Once you hit 10, start ranking your ideas for what excites you most that day
  • Take notes, make an outline, and begin fleshing out your next Medium article
  • Finish this article (even if it takes you more than a day or 2)
  • Once you’re ready to begin your next article, revisit the Idea List
  • Keep those ideas, but write down 10 more article ideas. Pick one from the list (you now have more than 20!)
  • Repeat the writing process

Your time is now focused on finding the right idea, not just any idea — this will speed up your writing process and you’ll be more excited about the content you’re creating.


Measure Your Art By This.

Not Minutes or Moments

I’ll admit it: likes and shares are a lot of fun. And it’s cool to see your writing and your voice grow even a little bit.

But…are those small writing wins creating something interesting?

Are you building your content city, filled with interesting places and sights to see?

Sometimes, yes. A lot of times, no.

Some things are intentionally meant to be a flash-in-the-pan; others are a slow simmer that takes a long while to create and marinate.

But the body of work? It’s more than a moment. It’s more than a few months.

I like what the designer Paul Jarvis said many years ago (I can’t find it now!)

“Art is measured in lifetimes, not months” — Paul Jarvis

Art is a lifetime.

It’s a fact I often forget.

Most of the artists we admire didn’t write just one book or paint one awesome picture or record one sweet song or have just one incredible meme.

The ones we truly admire are the people who did it repeatedly.

The most memorable artists made connections over and over again, and changed the game in some way while doing it. Their art is a collection of great moments over a sustained stretch.

Too many people are trying to scratch something out fast, just because. But if “success” doesn’t come fast enough, they’re done.

If you really liked it or enjoyed it and wanted to make a career out of it, it takes more than a few hours and a handy “life hack” to go with the passion.

In the race to the top, we often go for the moment rather than trying to create a legacy.

Good work takes time, possibly even a lifetime.