Ben Goertz

Writing Process

  1. Read as much as I can.
  2. Write by hand or on the AlphaSmart Neo.
    • Paper notes when possible.
  3. Let the draft sit for a bit.
  4. Add notes (either on printed copies or the reMarkable).
  5. Edit and revise on the laptop (Byword + Visual Studio Code).
    • This stage is still my biggest frustration and limiting factor. My goal is to spend as little time as possible on my laptop!
    • Julian Shapiro’s tips for rewriting have inspired more aggressive (clinging to the exact phrasing of the first draft less) exercises for writing to the core idea:

      Take an hour-long break. Rewrite the section from memory—focusing only on the critical points.

  6. Publish here as soon as it’s a complete idea or thing (Agh! How do you know?!).
  7. Directly reach out to friends who might be interested, ask for feedback and discuss.
  8. Rinse and repeat.

I approach writing as an opportunity to turn my subconscious energy towards questions I want to explore. Instead of sitting down with the intent of uncovering the depths of my soul, the goal is to structure words in ways to solve puzzles (as best I can) related to complex things I frequently wonder about but don’t otherwise spend focused time considering. I’m constantly inspired by reading my favorite writers and the best writing typically inspires a spark of related recommendations that then continue on with more threads. Once enough threads pile up and I feel like I have some small piece worth attempting to weave together I take a run at writing.