Skip to main content

Speech? Blog? Book? Here's How I Just Start

Writing a speech, writing a book, writing a blog post… I realized recently that they all start similarly (at least for me). They differ in revisions and rehearsing, if any. Starting off, I take a moment to think about the subject. I either start with an outline or just start writing (or dictating).

I get a lot of questions about how to start a blog, what to write about, or in the case most recently, perfecting a speech. The hardest part is starting out and putting together the first draft.

To that end, if you’ve got an upcoming talk or want to start blogging, here’s my method on how to start.
1.     Think about the subject, and go through a creative learning process with some research – online and/ or in-person.
2.     Are there requirements or limitations? Delivery style, can you use images, max length, etc. Consider these to narrow the scope.
3.     I want my material to be as authentic and casual as possible, so I typically do not go through a huge brainstorming conquest. Instead, I jot down a few ideas in a loose outline. This helps me think about the flow of the material conceptually.
4.     Go. That is, I either write everything in my head according to the flow I’ve created, or I simply dictate (record myself speaking). This gives me the benefit of allowing my thoughts to flow, naturally.
5.     After completing the first round, I don’t make any edits. Instead, I sleep on whatever I’ve written for a couple days. This allows my ideas to crystallize further while allowing me to come back to version 1.0 with fresh eyes.

It’s simple to start. Let the ideas flow. It’s important to realize that starting out really isn’t as hard as you make it out to be if you approach this more casually and naturally.

From there, it’s about seeking feedback on how to make the draft better, if needed. For my blog posts, for better or worse (you tell me!), I go through two rounds of editing/ read-through. For Postmortem of a Failed Startup: Lessons for Success, I went through four “official” rounds of editing with a number of editors. For my F-Up Night talk in January, I made perhaps three material iterations. I did several practice runs, however.

For any share, it’s important to draw a line in the sand and decide when what you have is ready — refer to Des Traynor’s recommendation on launching a product. You can spend weeks or months (or years) trying to make something perfect. But rarely is it the content that makes your share perfect. Instead, it’s the delivery.

Just start.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vertical SaaS? Horizontal SaaS? It’s All News to Me

Not sure why, but I have only recently heard of a term called “Vertical SaaS”. Okay, there’s also “Horizontal SaaS”, too. Based on some light research, looks like vertical SaaS is also a growing trend and the number of companies fewer than horizontal SaaS providers.
Vertical SaaS borrows its moniker from the concept of vertical integration whereby there is more control over a supply chain from raw materials to point-of-sale. Here, vertical SaaS companies focus on a niche market (industry) offering a solution that enables more process control.
Horizontal SaaS providers get really good at a particular offering, and widen their market to reach scale. Their focus is on breadth of market, and thus, its sales and marketing strategies can require more resources.
Many vertical SaaS companies (such as Veeva Systems, Guidewire, Fleetmatics) are doing well usurping legacy systems of traditionally slow-tech-adoption industries. Here, vertical companies develop a best-of-breed product, and focu…

My Life-Defining Moment Happened When I Failed to Make Varsity in High School

Ever stop to think about who you are? What makes you tick and tock? How about what you truly enjoy and what you’re good at vs. not good at? Or what/ who has shaped you into the person you are today?
I’m at this stage of figuring out whether to continue independent consulting while iterating on ideas for the next startup or take on some full-time employment (consulting, product management, or otherwise). My recent post about my daily/ weekly schedule was an interesting exercise in stepping back and recognizing what I’m actually doing in a day, and made me really think at the macro level.
In one of my recent reflections, I thought about defining moments in my life. One of those watershed events that truly transformed me was my failure to make the Varsity soccer team in high school. I won’t rehash the whole story here – shared the story almost a year ago in my post titled “Getting Through Dark Moments and the Most Vulnerable Story I've Ever Told Publicly”. It’s this moment that I w…

De-Risk for Investments

I was talking to a Producer and Director recently who is starting out his business. He’s got his business set up, and is seeking investors for a film. He’s got the script. He’s ready to go. Except, the investors want him to slow down. The investors wanted to “de-risk” the investment. New to being an entrepreneur, the Producer shared the nuances he wasn’t quite prepared for. Expected ReturnsSaaStr states that a 10% return on the total venture capital (VC) fund is good while aiming to earn its total VC fund in profits is the goal. Understand what the goals of the investor(s) are, and have the model to illustrate goals can be met with even conservative achievement.Legal Collateral – The Producer was shocked to learn how much he had to spend to validate the authenticity and originality of the script. Investors are looking at legal terms and insurance to not only cover risks of copyright infringement, but also the leveragability for greater valuation.Long-Term Strategy – Are you a one-h…