Modern Makers #46 - How to Write Well

✍🏻 How to improve your written content 🇪🇺 Notion's Block x Block Summit

Welcome to issue #46 of Modern Makers

This week in the agenda:👇

✍🏻 How to Write Well - 5 learnings from the book On Writing Well
🇪🇺 Notion to hold its first European Summit this summer
🕹️ Nintendo x no-code
💰 A $3.6M Seed Round for Obviously AI


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📚 Book of the week

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Author: William Zinsser
Release date: 1976

This book is a classic that is often recommended reading for people starting their career in journalism. Almost every subject has its own chapter in this book: sports journalism, business, science and technology, memoirs, travel ... whatever type of content you want to create, chances are this book can help you.

Selling your product, pitching your business to raise funds, getting promoted at work, growing your Twitter account... whatever your goal, mastering the art of writing gives you a real edge over your competitors and makes you stand out.

Here is some advice that should help you improve the quality of your written content:

  • 😨 How to deal with the fear of writing - One way to generate confidence is to write about subjects that interest you & that you care about. When you enter new territory and you explore something new, your sincerity will be your best credential. You might not have all the required skills or knowledge. But you're sincerely interested in the subject and you want to learn. Remember this next time you're exploring something new and need a boost of confidence. Your best credential is yourself

  • 😈 The Tyranny of the Final Product - Don't focus too much on the end result. Don't imagine what your content will look like before you actually start working on it. For example, people focus on how much money they would make by creating content. Or how many page views it would generate. Focus on the process instead. If the process is sound, the product will take care of itself. And success will likely follow.

  • ✂️ Less is more - According to the author, most of the first drafts can be cut by 50% without losing any information. Or losing the author's voice. You must delete every word that serves no function. Long words that could be short words. Adverbs that convey the same meaning that's already in the verb. All these things need to be removed. Clutter is the enemy.

  • 📕 The best way to learn how to write is by reading - read what is written today and what was written in the past by authors that inspire you. Writing is learned by imitation. Read the content and books created by authors whose writing and style you admire. Try to understand how they did it. Take the best elements for your own content. Imitation is part of the creative process.

  • 📌 Some useful tips & rules to follow:

    • Use active verbs unless you have to use a passive verb

    • Adjectives need to convey crucial information. If they don't, get rid of them

    • Remove all the small words that qualify how you feel or what you think. Ex: "very", "little", "sort of", "rather"

    • Be bold. Assume your opinion.

    • Break long sentences into short ones.

    • Don't use the exclamation point unless you want to achieve a certain effect.

    • It's better to use a dot or a dash than a semicolon

    • Mood changer words are very useful to let the reader know your mood will be different from the previous sentence. There is no better way to start a sentence than with a "but"

    • Use contractions. Ex: "I'll" instead of "I will"

    • Write like you talk: don't say a word in writing that you would not use in a spoken conversation

    • Pay attention to the length of your paragraphs. A paragraph that is too long may discourage your reader. Break up your content into several paragraphs. Writing is visual

You won’t write well until you understand that writing is an evolving process, not a finished product. Nobody expects you to get it right the first time, or even the second time.

Three other content that caught my attention this week:

  • 🇯🇵 A Shrinking Society in Japan - Podcast - The Daily - an excellent podcast that details the reasons behind a worrying phenomenon for Japan: an increasingly elderly population. The podcast explains the consequences this has on the Land of the Rising Sun. And the lessons for the US if it wants to avoid facing the same problems. I learned a lot about this country that fascinates me.

  • 👨 John Swartzwelder, Sage of “The Simpsons” - Interview - The New Yorker - a long interview with John Swartzwelder, one of the most famous writers of The Simpsons (even if he left the show in 2003). He comes back on his career and on his writing process. According to him, Season 3 of The Simpsons is the best one, do you agree?

  • 🏭 Building an idea factory - Video - a masterclass with David Perell and Ali Abdaal who explain their method of creating content (Youtube videos and blog posts). Or how to successfully build an idea factory, from capturing to creating content that will make you stand out. Inspiring.

🌎 What’s new in the world of no-code

Notion is organizing its first European Block x Block Summit on 29 June from 2 to 5 pm CET. An online event hosted on Hopin. On the agenda :

  • a summary of the latest features available on Notion

  • an overview of the new features to come (API?)

  • Fireside chat with European companies and startups - how do they use Notion? What are the benefits for these companies?

  • Workshops led by Notion experts to improve your knowledge of Notion

  • Networking to meet other people from the Notion community

Speakers will include Ivan Zhao (CEO), Cristina Cordova (Head of Platform & Partnerships), and Robbie O'Connor (the EMEA GM based in Dublin).

Attendance is free and you can register here.

Nintendo introduced Game Builder Garage, a video game that will allow you to learn how to create your own games with Nintendo developers. This educational game aims to teach us the basics of programming in a fun way. In order to create a game, you will need to connect different Nodons, components that all have a distinct role and functionality. Your games can then be shared locally or online with the community.

This is an excellent initiative that allows young people in particular to discover the basics of visual programming. A good gateway to no-code tools?

Game Builder Garage will be available from 11 June on Nintendo Switch. I'm delighted to see Nintendo getting involved in projects like this.

Obviously AI closed a $3.6M Seed round this week. Obviously AI is a tool that allows you to quickly create machine learning models and use them to predict outcomes in minutes. All without having to write a single line of code.

Some examples of use cases: predicting the Churn of a SaaS business, the success of a marketing campaign on social networks, or the staffing needs for a particular event. Pricing-wise, the Basic plan starts at $75 per month and allows you to process up to 100,000 items in your database.

I love the design of their website created with Webflow.

📦 And also…

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Have a great week and keep learning.


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