I enjoy writing for this website immensely.
Recently I started listening to audiobooks, and I relish how linear they are. Thoughts that usually impede my reading are reduced (“should I chase this footnote?”, “should I highlight this sentence?”).
I try to do the same in my writing. To make reading more focused, I don’t do in-text links. While reading online I have frequently had the experience of becoming distracted by other pages linked mid-text.
A word to authors and writers: not every reader needs to read every word you write! Now that text is digital, put extra details in toggle blocks— like this comment. (HTML reference)
I continue to revise essays long after I’ve posted them. Why shouldn’t text be living?
Sometimes I see someone that has some kind of message that they’re sharing where they continually create ‘new’ books, essays, speeches, and/or online courses. But it’s all the same ideas. What if instead they directed their effort toward making one thing of extraordinary high quality? If they just did one thing and iterated on it. Make one essay/book/video on the topic that’s really good, and iterate on it as you find ways to improve it. If we all did this, wouldn’t the world of content be so much simpler? I believe most things are far more complex than they have to be.
Meanwhile, in the paragraph above for example, almost every sentence linearly introduced a new idea. It could’ve been said in many more words, but I believe that’s inelegant.
Providing details is OK, but just set them aside from the main text—like this comment. Not everyone needs to slog the details!
I have a few hundred text files for different ideas. Over time I revisit each and add new thoughts. After several months, the text begins to coalesce into something coherent.
The design is meant to be legible and simple. No superfluous features. Only ideas matter.
The design of this website was inspired by Derek Sivers’s website, and he also helped me start. His essays showed me the beauty of succinct essays.
To keep my process from becoming complicated, I manually write this website’s HTML.
Posted 2020 May 21, last updated 2021 February 19.
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