New Writing Routine

8 Comments 07.14.09

1. Find story idea
2. Reach out to sources for info
3. Research online using various magic research tools, while I wait for sources to get back to me
4. Stop and think
5. Talk to sources, maybe research some more based on what they say
6. Write!

All of that needs to get done in two hours, tops. Two or three times a day. When I can master that, with quality written output, then I will feel like I’ve made big, big progress in my work.

Several of those steps tend to get under-prioritized or put in the wrong order in my current workflow. Reaching out to sources right away and researching while I wait for them to respond is what really needs to get turned into a new routine. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

HEY: Carbon is a heat trapping gas. We are pumping huge amounts of carbon into the air. We have been humans for between 200k and 1.8m years and it's not clear we're going to make it another 200.

Fortunately there's a solution available: Soil carbon sequestration!

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  • “Reaching out to sources right away and researching while I wait for them to respond is what really needs to get turned into a new routine. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?”

    Just do it! Seriously, the sooner you start sending out those e-mails and picking up the phone (try to do both for each potential source), the better off you’ll be. Also, I tend to call more sources than I may need when I can do that because some people inevitably won’t get back to me at all or in time for publication.

  • rick

    One of the things I’ve found increasingly frustrating in RWW and other online journalism is the need to be first. I read RWW because of who the writers are – I value their opinions. Yet I’ve seen multiple references to being first or not covering something because another tech blog covered it. This is, to be blunt, asinine. I understand that you’re doing journalism and not history, but for the vast majority of what you cover a few hours or even a day’s delay won’t matter. The obsession with real-time information is hurting what’s being done.

  • Marshall

    Thanks Rick. I appreciate your sharing that thought. I’m not sure how many other people feel that way. I’d love to have our cake and eat it too, to be honest. That’s what I’m shooting for.

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  • Reporters will often make calls or get in touch with competitors, analysts, investors, foes, etc. It helps in the interview with the subject and provides fodder for new stories.

  • I like the simplicity and clarity of this post. The process makes sense. I’m learning not to observe and create/design in the same breath. We have such an instinct to just go for it. The time for reflection and observation makes for such a better result.

    Keep it up man, you’re one of my primary sources for the emerging future.