Write While True is a writing program for programmers. The episodes are meant to be short exercises that will get you writing more (so, a training program).
Episode 14: Spaced Repetition
Last week I encouraged you to collect general knowledge. Viking trade routes, anime, Rothko paintings, architecture, typography, bluegrass standards — where ever your interests lead you.
For these kinds of things, it may be hard to write a note though. You could certainly write down something, but it’s unlikely that you’ll develop a few paragraphs of a coherent thought about lots of random things.
James Webb Young said to use index cards for that. That would certainly work, but I recommend using spaced-repetition card software instead.
Episode 13: New Ideas
New ideas are combinations of old ones.
Episode 12: Keep a Topic List
In the past, when I set goals to write more frequently, I was always stopped by not having ideas ready for what to write about. Or when I got one, I didn’t have a systematic way of collecting them. I would sit down to write, but getting started on a new piece was too difficult.
My ONE thing is make it so that when I sit down to write I have a checklist to work from.
Episode 11: Quantity and Quality
I know that a lot of my episodes are variations on the theme of quantity. In episode one, I asked you to write morning pages every day. In episode 4, I asked you to make a schedule where you write multiple days a week. I’ve talked about the importance of producing many first drafts. In episode 8, I said you should lower your bar and just last week I shared my personal “why”, which is all about playing the infinite game because it’s fun. The title of this podcast is a play on the idea of the infinite game.
Episode 10: Finding My Why
The exercise this week is to think about your “why”? I don’t think it’s wrong to write for money or fame, but if you’re an amateur like me, I’d find something easier to attain.
Episode 9: Deprivation
I don’t use a lot of social media, but if I don’t plan my time intentionally, I’ll find myself watching a lot of YouTube.
It’s not that I think that my life should be 100% dedicated to making new things or in solitary contemplation. But, there are times when I notice that level of output isn’t where I want it to be, and so I take a good look at how I am spending my time.
Episode 8: Lower the Bar
This episode is about lowering the bar, and I’m tempted to just say go do it and sign off. That would be the ultimate lowering the bar for this podcast.
I won’t do that, but I am going to keep the bar on this episode pretty low.
And, you’re probably thinking — Lou, I thought the bar for Write While True episodes was pretty low already.
Episode 7: Find Your Voice
Lately, I’m thinking a lot about what this podcast sounds like. I’m new to podcasting and I’m very aware that I have a lot to do to sound more natural, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.
Episode 6: Editing First Drafts
I was first exposed to this idea at The Business of Software conference in 2017. Joanna Wiebe gave a talk about copywriting for SaaS businesses. She’s an advertising copy writer, and the talk is mostly about that. It’s worth watching the whole thing, but near the end, she said something that astonished me.
Episode 5: Audience and Message
Like many people I write to think. And, it helps. I set out with only inklings of an idea and by the time I am done, I usually have a coherent and complete thought. The writing contains it, but it doesn’t communicate it.
There’s a difference between writing to think and writing to communicate and I finally understand that.
Episode 4: Make a Schedule
The times that I’ve made the least progress on writing was when I was trying to do it on the side or as a hobby. This isn’t because of the relative amount of time I devoted to it. It was because I treated it as something I would try to fit in, and it never did. I could always find something else to do.
Episode 3: First Drafts
I’ve stared at a lot of blank pages. Technically, they were actually blank textareas, but you get the point.
Episode 2: Small Bits of Writing
I found out that I didn’t know how to read or write. This episode will show you how making a change to how I read made it much easier to write.
Episode 1: Training to Unblock Yourself
I started my blog 17 years ago, but wrote about 9 posts a year. Then, I started doing something that helped me write something I could publish every day.