For a long time, the biggest reason I wasn’t writing online was that I didn’t know what to write about.
There were so many barriers:
- What topics should I write about?
- How do I find new ideas?
- What unique perspective do I bring?
I knew what topics I enjoyed: psychology, habit building, personal productivity. But these topics have been beaten to death online.
So how could I write something new?
The perspective shift that changed everything
I started out my writing journey on Quora (and wrote about it below).
I Wrote 100 Answers on Quora in Three Weeks — Here’s What I Learned About Writing Well
I started answering questions on Quora on Sunday December 18, 2022.
On Quora, users ask questions and writers respond. Answers get upvoted, shared, and promoted to other people asking the same question.
The magic of Quora was the ability to browse specific questions.
Questions are submitted by real people. They represented a variety of pain points on every topic imaginable. As a writer, you could browse the questions to decide what you want to write about.
After about 20 minutes of browsing, I would eventually come to a question that spoke to me.
- Why do people think becoming successful happens overnight?
- How long should I wait for my ex to come back?
- What makes people give up and quit?
These were all questions that, once I saw, ideas popped into my mind almost automatically.
On Quora, I realized a simple truth: ideas for content come most easily when you’re responding to someone else’s idea.
Cultivating “prompts” and ideas
Once I’d unlocked the insight that I needed an idea “prompt” to respond to, the next step was to encounter more prompts outside Quora.