A Relaxed Writing Framework

Dynamic content; first published in May 2024

Notice: This page is a 'Living Document' and may evolve to reflect new data, insights, and changes.

Key influences:

Without the right strategy, otherwise talented thinkers and doers can struggle to write well

The problem is not lack of skill but wasted effort - a procedural error. The solution is to fix the procedure.

Valuable nonfiction has a compelling, original message, a clear structure, and accessible delivery.

This relaxed writing framework helps me write better nonfiction and have fun doing it

To successfully use the framework, follow these rules:

Don't set publishing deadlines or output goals

Only work within the framework

Stay relaxed and only do work that interests you

(Framework Diagram)

Emergence: Iteratively capture and sort anything that interests you in a linear log

During Emergence, optimize for your own interest

Capture: Store all ideas and notes in a linear log

Read books when you can't think of anything to write

Construct: Attempt to create outlines and outline segments

Most outlines will go back into the log

If an outline is particularly good, proceed to vetting

Sort: On a scheduled basis, reread, tag, triage, and archive the linear idea log

Vetting: Evaluate and block outlines from entering Assembly pipeline

Ask yourself each of these questions:

Do I have something to say?

What makes what I have to say different?

Who is the audience?

Assembly: a procedural writing pipeline

During Assembly, apply rigor

During Assembly, optimize for the audience

During Assembly, leave the draft alone for a few days and come back to it

Finish the vetted outline

Verify the outline uses only action titles

Gather feedback on the outline

Write a complete first draft with zero attention to writing quality

Do not polish. If you have trouble with this, set a time limit.

Without using copy/paste, rewrite the draft, one section at a time.

Add images and media

Polish your writing

Circulate the draft among your intended audience for feedback.