How I Write

Everyone writes differently. This is my writing process.

1. My ideas

Screenshot of my laptop right now

First, it starts with the idea.

I usually get ideas randomly. They come to me when I am walking, when I am working out the gym, or when I am reading.

Generally I like to write down my ideas. My ideas usually manifest in blog post/essay ideas. I will create a new document inside IA WRITER, or just write it down in the default Apple ‘Notes’ app.

If I am passionate enough about the idea (or have the desire to write the topic at the moment, I will start to write it immediately). Or if I feel luke-warm about the idea, I will let it marinate and I will review my ideas the next day. I will then scan my ideas, and if an idea still seems enticing to me– I will start to write it.

2. Writing tools

How to enable focus mode on IA WRITER

IA WRITER is the best writing app ever made. I have probably written at least 4,000+ blog posts on it (across MacBook laptop, iPad, and iPhone). I write everything in ‘markdown’, which is a simple formatting language which simplifies the writing process. I also keep it in ‘focus’ mode on IA WRITER, which keeps the text in the center of the screen, and automatically fades all the other text I’ve written. I think this helps me stay in the ‘flow’ of writing.

3. Ideal writing environment?

Portrait by Luis Donoso. At Haus Coffee in SF

After much experimentation, it seems I can best get in a writing ‘flow’ when inside a busy coffee shop, listening to my favorite music. My theory is this:

When you are inside a coffee shop, the distractions of other people help you focus.

Furthermore, when you around other people, you feel less lonely!

My theory on focus is this:

You need a distraction in order to ‘trigger’ you’re focusing mechanism.

4. Write what you would like to read

Flower. USC
Macro mode on RICOH GR III, 21mm.

I am my own audience. I like to write things I would like to read. Also, I like to delve deep into difficult questions. I write mostly for myself, and of course I share it with others in the hope that my ideas can also help others!

5. No editing

This is a controversial thing:

I don’t edit.

Nor do I think you “must” edit.

To me, the purpose of editing text shouldn’t be to make it sound “better”. The purpose of editing should be to clarify your thoughts. Therefore don’t worry about ‘style guides’ or whatever. Simply strive to make your thoughts as clear and direct as possible.


The long story short:

Just write it.

Don’t worry about perfection or any of that silliness. Write honestly, directly, and from your own life experiences. Write what you care about, and don’t write out of a sense of ‘duty’ or ‘obligation’. Write because it is fun, interesting, and playful!

I write how a child plays. And I’m having so much fun, and I’m just getting started.