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How to improve your writing: 1. Get ideas on paper: Put words on the page as fast as you can. First drafts are always messy. But you can only start shaping ideas into polished writing once they're out of your head. The beauty and clarity you desire will emerge with each edit.
2. Finding ideas Sherlock Holmes once said: "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." But when you write regularly, you start observing those things because the pen turns you into a curious detective who is always hunting for clues.
3. Collecting ideas Finding ideas isn't enough. You have to save them too. Preferably, in a centralized place where you can instantly search for the best ideas you've ever had. The better your note-taking system, the less you have to rely on memory.
David Perell @david_perellIf you want to improve your writing, start by becoming a better note-taker. Here are 10 ways to do that: 1. Save only the best notes: Don't hoard information. Save your top 5-10% of ideas only. That way, you can trust that everything in your note-taking system is high-quality. twitter.com
4. Stay consistent The Soul Cycle Effect says that people push themselves harder with a group of committed people than they do on their own. If it helps, find a writing group. Meet daily, but don't worry if you miss a session. Set intentions for the day before you start writing.
5. The two benefits of reading Painters look at lots of art, musicians listen to lots of music, and writers read all the time. Read to collect ideas and get inspired. Save the best ideas into your note-taking system and let yourself be inspired by the majesty of beautiful prose.
6. The two modes of writing: Beer Mode and Coffee Mode In Beer Mode, you enter a state of play and joy where you laugh with friends and collect experiences. Coffee Mode is where the actual writing happens. It's full of focus and empty of distractions.
David Perell @david_perellCreatives have two kinds of working: 1) Beer mode: A state of unfocused play where you discover new ideas. 2) Coffee mode: A state of focused work where you grind towards a specific outcome. You find ideas in Beer mode and implement them in Coffee mode. twitter.com
7. Time-box your writing sessions Chances are, you're limited not by how much time you spend writing, but by how productive you are when you actually write. Set a timer for your sessions and force yourself to stop when it goes off. Doing so will inspire the focus you need.
8. Ending writing sessions Flow states are the holy grail of this craft. Once you're done writing, give yourself 60 seconds to jot down what you were thinking when you stopped writing and what you plan to accomplish next time at the top of the page.
David Perell @david_perellWhenever you stop writing, leave yourself a 100-word note at the top of the page. Here’s what to write: • Where you’re stuck • What to work on next time • What you were thinking about when you stopped writing The short notes makes writing easier when you return to the page. twitter.com
9. Imitate, then Innovate Learn from the writers who inspire you. Study their tricks and imitate them. Paradoxically, imitating them will help you develop your own style. As their words enter your heart and become a part of you, you'll find your voice.
David Perell @david_perellThree words to improve any skill: Imitate, then innovate. Find your favorite creators, copy their style, and you'll eventually develop your own. Here's my mini-essay. twitter.com
10. Grammar Wait to study grammar. No part of writing is as important as having something interesting to say in the first place. That’s why we can read poorly written comments for hours on Reddit written by guys in their underwear but get bored with academic writing in a second.
11. Writer's block If you're struggling to get ideas out of your mind and onto the page, start writing while you walk. Go for a stroll and capture the best ideas that come to mind. Or, talk into your phone and transcribe what you say. Move your body to ignite your creativity.
12. Growing your audience It's nice to have people read what we write, so focus on a specific topic that people care about. The more niche, the better. Learn as much as you can and share the best things you learn. Publish consistently and keep improving.
David Perell @david_perellThe Internet rewards unique people. Find your unique combination of skills, interests, and personality traits. I call this a Personal Monopoly. Become the only person in the world who does what you do. Then, tell the world by sharing your knowledge. twitter.com
Writing online is one of the highest leverage things you can do for your career. With the stroke of a pen, you can attract like-minded people and accelerate your career. Follow me to learn more: @david_perell
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With a well-designed bookmarks tab, Twitter can become Pinterest for ideas

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If you want to improve your writing, start by becoming a better note-taker. Here are 10 ways to do that: 1. Save only the best notes: Don't hoard information. Save your top 5-10% of ideas only. That way, you can trust that everything in your note-taking system is high-quality.
2. Create evergreen notes. Like a good investment, the benefits of your note-taking system should compound in value. Save ideas that will stay relevant for many years. Read the classics, skip the news. Note-by-note, brick-by-brick you’ll build an intellectual Coliseum.
3. Publish regularly. Writing more is the fastest way to improve your note-taking system. Without the pressure to produce, your system will become messy. The pressure to produce will turn your note-taking system into an extension of your mind.
David Perell @david_perell9. Writing online will accelerate your learning. Don't wait until you're an expert to write online. Writing online will force you to learn as much as you can and distill your best ideas for public consumption. And as you write online, you'll build authority in your niche. twitter.com
4. Be Lazy. Your note-taking system doesn’t have to be perfect. There is only one way to measure the value of a note-taking system: how much does it help you produce? Lower your standards for note-taking, so you can raise your standards for creation.
5. Research happens in the background. In school, we’re taught to research before we write. Do the opposite. Compile notes over time. Then, once you have an idea, start writing immediately — right when you have an epiphany. Start researching after you've written a draft.
6. Link notes together. Organize your ideas by topic, not by source. As you browse your note-taking system, consider the serendipity you want to create for your future self. For example, if you read two books about a topic, link those notes together.
David Perell @david_perell5. Build a Shared Knowledge Base We keep all of our Standard Operating Procedures in @NotionHQ. We get everything in detailed writing whenever we meet, so we can trust a central source of truth in the future. Long-term, we save ourselves time and eliminate confusion. twitter.com
7. Note-taking is a form of time-travel. You don’t just take notes to remember ideas. You also take notes to remember experiences. Reading your notes takes you back to a different state of consciousness. Note-taking is a rebellion against the entropy of memory.
8. The ultimate goal of note-taking is to improve your ideas. Too many people treat note-taking as an end in itself. But the goal of note-taking isn’t to save information. It’s to have ideas you wouldn’t have had otherwise. To be smarter, faster, and more creative.
9. Practice Instant Outlines. Build a strong foundation for your note-taking system and start collecting notes. Soon, you’ll be able to outline an essay in less than 30 minutes. Here’s what my outlining process looks like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Mj0u-IFpLw
10. Keep things messy. Your note-taking system should encourage serendipity. If the divisions inside your system are too clean, you can’t make unexpected connections between ideas — which is the ultimate goal of a note-taking system. Ditch perfection. Embrace randomness.
If you're interested in these ideas, I just published a series of short podcasts with @fortelabs — the king of note-taking. We talked about intermediate packets, writing from abundance, and why you should keep your ideas moving. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-building-a-second-brain-podcast/id1504494402
If you're interested in note-taking, you should follow @andy_matuschak. Here's what he taught me: ∙ Outline while you research ∙ Collecting notes feels more useful than it usually is ∙ Shorter cycles of research and writing are better than long ones https://notes.andymatuschak.org/%E2%80%9CBetter_note-taking%E2%80%9D_misses_the_point%3B_what_matters_is_%E2%80%9Cbetter_thinking%E2%80%9D
Since most of my best writing ideas come while I'm reading, I developed a system to "write while I read." I read paper books, make notes for myself in the margin, highlight the best parts, and use @readwiseio to capture the best stuff. Here's my workflow.
David Perell @david_perellFor years, I did most of my reading on Kindle. But now I read physical books. I use @readwiseio to save highlights by taking a picture of the text I want to save, which automatically goes into my Second Brain. Here's what my workflow looks like. twitter.com
Writing while you read sounds like a foreign concept, but great writers have always jotted down their thoughts in the marginalia of books. To them, the lines between production and consumption were often fluid. Here are David Foster Wallace’s notes.
Kendrick Lamar wouldn't have such brilliant lyrics without his obsessive note-taking process. He spends most of his time in a direction-less process of collecting interesting ideas, even though he doesn't know how he's going to use them in the future.
Instead of working in “Heavy Lifts,” you can work in “Slow Burns.” Taking notes makes you less dependent on those long blocks of creative time you need when you have to complete creative projects in a single sitting.
David Perell @david_perell2. Start taking notes early, so you can build upon the ideas over time. Kendrick was a shy middle schooler who sometimes spoke with a stutter. Frustrated, he turned to the written word. He scribbled rap lyrics on notebook paper instead of finishing assignments for other classes. twitter.com

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