29 comments

  1. Thanks for the peek into the inner workings of the brain of Mitch Joel! One question: Are you no longer using Delicious? It’s one of my favourite tools for gathering and curating info. (I think I started using it years ago on your recommendation.)

  2. Nice insight into how you work, Joel. I keep it pretty simple. I usually have a number of article and posts on the go at the same time.
    Time is very tight for me so I start them and write in bite-sized chunks through the day, week, month; whenever I have a few minutes spare I add a paragraph or two until it’s more or less done. This way I have a constant stream going on and coming off the ‘conveyor belt’. I do all this on my iPhone’s Notes app, so nothing fancy. When one is pretty nearly there, I email it to myself & polish it up on my desktop computer.
    I have about 40-50 articles on there most of the time. This way, even waiting rooms become a workspace for me πŸ™‚

  3. I’m the compulsive writer type, most of my writing comes in the form of note taking, whether it is to organize my thoughts on a task at work or during brainstorm etc. (day job), I also like to record my dreams, this has a huge place in my artistic practice (mostly drawing and poetry)
    when I must do “creative writing” (see link bellow) I need to have a specific question to answer (as you said), I can set the question and have it in the back of my mind for well over a month, then all of sudden (as the deadline approaches, true) I have an urge to write, I feel inspired, and also everything around me starts reflecting the idea I need to precise, tv shows, movies, conversations with friends, anything and everything
    then it’s the same process, I compulsively write notes, like comments, then assemble everything and try to give it a treatment that will make the text readable and unfold nicely ; also, I try to keep it short
    http://ratsdeville.typepad.com/ratsdeville/conseil.html

  4. One new technique I’m trying right now is to write down 4 pieces of information on a daily basis in Evernote –
    1. What was remarkable about yesterday?
    2. Who are 2 new people I talked to?
    3. What did I learn yesterday?
    4. What am I grateful for?
    One or more of these brings forth a topic that is easy to write about.

  5. Oh man you should NOT have mentioned the new MacBook Air.
    I’m having an identity crisis.
    My 13″ MacBook Air is 4 months old, and after yesterday, it feels like 40 years old.
    Oh well. Lion is way faster than Snow Leopard, so all isn’t lost.
    Are you pre-ordering the iPhone 5 like I am? πŸ˜€

  6. Great post, Mitch! But I’m confused on one point… how are you using Windows Live Writer if your main platform is a Mac? Are you using VMware or Parallels to also have a Windows install?
    I used to use (and loved) WLW when I was on Windows systems… but after switching full-time to Mac-land 3.5 years ago, I’ve wound up using MarsEdit as my offline blog editor of choice.

  7. Great post! And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only compulsive thinker/reader/writer. Like you, I’m driven by deadlines. I also have to visualize a piece before I can figure out where it will fit (blog post, article, concept for a client project, etc.). I always keep pen and paper near the shower. My kids have been jotting down notes for me since a very young age. I guess you could say that we’re hooked on phonics!

  8. I like to write longhand and get an idea down in one swoop, Then when I go to write a blog post about it, it is like a second draft. I might let it sit for a while so I can go back fresh and proof it. Otherwise I end up with way too many typos.
    Mike

  9. It was a delight to see into your writing process. Mine varies, depending on what I’m writing. If I’m writing for “work,” I tend to use whichever blogging platform my client has in place. If I’m writing for my own blog, I usually start by writing in Word or iWork Pages. For some reason that works better than starting from scratch on my blog’s CMS. My approach to my creative writing is completely different. That work requires a pencil and paper.

  10. Hey Mitch, thanks for the reveal. Very informative. Quick question: which MacBook Air are you planning on, the 11inch or the 13inch, and why? I’m finally about to buy one myself and curious what you think. Thanks!

  11. Cool. I use MindManager Pro for my ‘creation’ posts. I want to make sure I don’t miss a point, but then I don’t create content as often as you do — I’m more of a curator…

  12. Mitch, you’re very generous with your knowledge, as usual. This stuff is very useful. Thanks! Oh, and after procrastinating for I don’t know how long, I finally opened an Evernote account. Do you use/recommend a premium version?

  13. Great post – I love reading about how other writers write (and apparently I’m not the only one!). I have to ask how do you prioritize pieces – do you work solidly on one before starting another or do you have many on the go at once? Also, any tips on when to stop gathering content and start writing?

  14. Great information, thanks. I was wondering, does anyone use voice recognition software to get the initial ideas down before they poof?

  15. One of my favourite and most used tools is a digital voice recorder. It’s great for spontaneous interviews (article ideas come at me whenever I’m in the company of an “expertâ€; doctor’s office, etc.). And since the hamster never stops, it enables me to “take notes†while driving. It’s one of those never-leave-home-without-it tools!

  16. I just participated on a panel this weekend at a social media conference where I discussed my thoughts on the art of writing a blog, and I’m tickled to see we think so much alike. My biggest advice that day was: write, just write whenever you can, and as you do you’ll get better and it will come more naturally. But organization is key too. I love my MacBook Air (sadly not the shiny new one, but still an awesome tool!), but I also think writing with pen and paper can inspire creativity, as much as getting up and writing somewhere new can inspire creativity.

  17. Hi Mitch
    I’m primarily a fiction writer and I write my first draft by hand. I found that if I do the first draft on the computer, I am always editing and tweeking and not writing anything new. So now, if the sentence isn’t perfect, I just tell myself that I’ll fix it later. Its the best way for me to keep going.

  18. After repeatedly seeing Evernote listed in different writers’ toolboxes, I am going to give it a try. I am always slow to take the time for new tools; most tools tend to distract more than help.
    Great short post!

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