“Introspection is hard right now” – 7 Takeaways for December 21, 2020

Obviously I’m still playing with format. I’ve decided to highlight the actual takeaway over the source, for example. And playing with the title, which will become the email subject line.

A couple of observations this second week in: many of my sources are on Medium, and even there, there seem to be authors and publications that generate takeaways more than others.


“Spend each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, laziness, or any pretending.”

The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday (ebook/site) – that’s actually a quote from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, which seems to be one of the go-to texts for stoic philosophy. He appears regularly in Holiday’s writing.

Stoic philosophy is something I’ve been drawn to for a while. At the same time I’ve been picking up tidbits of Buddhism along the way and am surprised at both their overlap, and common sense (to me) nature. Today’s takeaway is just something worth remembering: life is tenuous and can be taken away at any moment.

“Your first draft is simply for generating and connecting ideas”

The Writing Process – Julian Shapiro – That’s something I could remember more and act on when I write my articles. Ironically I ended up following this advice for the first time writing my personal blog post discussing this very site. (Smile)

“I believe that when we obsessively curate our input and match it with our goals, we will receive a much much better output.”

8 Meta-Habits to Make 2020 Your Breakthrough Year – Liz Huber – (Medium) – This is something that I really need to work on. I’m consuming too much junk. But I’m also tired, which makes it difficult. This is another item that spurred the creation of this project. One of my future projects is to outline how I curate my own content, and in doing so, do a better job of it.

“About 1/10 of my articles seem to find an audience. The other nine go nowhere”

How I Write a Stupid Amount of New Content, Effortlessly – Tim Denning – (Medium) – As a content creator I’m often looking at ways to frame my work and produce good quality content. This is one of those expectation-settings reminders. Most content goes unappreciated. But that also means that in order to get more successful content you have to create a lot. A “stupid amount”, apparently.

“The value hook is the elevator pitch of online content”

Understand These 8 Truths And Our Crazy World Will Suddenly Make Sense To You – Michael Simmons – (Medium) – The full takeaway: “The value hook is the elevator pitch of online content. It is the MVP (minimum viable product) for your blockbuster article. At its best, it does two things…” create value and hook you.

This is a big takeaway for me to increase the engagement on my content. It’s a common piece of advice I’ve seen — spend as much time on your titles as on your content. It’s also a common piece of advice that’s routinely ignored.

“I take my best content and pull out the ideas that helped the audience the most and then form new pieces of paid content from those ideas.”

People Don’t Pay for Content. They Pay for Organized Content – Tim Denning – (Medium) – This is a reminder that when it comes to content it often is past performance that can help influence future results. I’ve heard from others the concept of breaking successful articles into their component pieces and expanding on those. (While this takeaway references paid content, it’s applicable to all content.)

And a makup-takeaway, since I only captured six this week.

“Introspection is hard right now”

That’s an insight I had earlier this week. Because of the pandemic, because of politics, because of everything. It’s hard to look inside and see what other demons lay in wait. And yet, introspection is important.

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