Modern Makers #53 - How to Write Better

✍️ Writing tips from Stephen King💰A $100M Series A for Bubble

Welcome to issue #53 of Modern Makers

In the agenda:👇

✍️ How to write better - some learnings from Stephen King’s book
💰 A massive Series A for Bubble
🤝 Webflow is getting more collaborative
📅 Webflow's No-Code Conf is back this year

Enjoy.


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Welcome to the new makers who have joined us in the last two weeks.

After a long reflection, I finally decided to buy an iPad Pro. Among other things, I plan to use it for this newsletter: writing my content on Notion, reading Kindle books and taking notes at Roam Research. If you have any must-have iPad apps or productivity tips, I'd love to hear from you!

The next edition of Modern Makers will be published in September. I finally have the opportunity to spend a few weeks in France (for the first time in 18 months). I'm going to take the opportunity to spend some quality time with my family.

PS: if you're looking for a summer read, I can only recommend the excellent Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. An investigation of the Troubles and the conflict in Northern Ireland. Absolutely incredible. You won't regret it.

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📚 Book of the week

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Release date: 2000

Part memoir, part masterclass, this book is about Stephen King's life as a man and as a writer. I enjoyed this read, one of my favorites so far in 2021. I learned a lot about the life of one of the most famous fiction writers. The main section of the book is the toolkit where Stephen gives advice to aspiring fiction writers. But most of these tips can be used by anyone creating written content. So, what can we learn from Stephen?

  • At the very top of your toolbox is your vocabulary. Don't make a conscious effort to improve your vocabulary. Only use words you know and feel familiar with. Words that you would feel comfortable using in an oral conversation. The basic rule of vocabulary: use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.

  • There are two types of verbs: active and passive. With active verb, the subject of the sentence is doing something. You should avoid the passive tense. Active > Passive. The passive voice is safe. The active voice is bold. Be bold.

  • The reader should always be your main concern

  • Adverbs are not your friends. Most of the time, adverbs express the same thing as the verb in the sentence. Avoid using them.

  • Fear is at the root of most bad writing. Because people are scared, they will use passive verbs and adverbs.

  • According to Stephen King, the paragraph is the basic unit of writing. Not the sentence.

  • If you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do first: read a lot and write a lot. You can't have one without the other. If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write. Reading is the creative center of a writer's life. You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot. The most valuable lessons are the ones you learn on your own. Take care of your own learning

  • The scariest moment is always just before you start a new project. After that, things can only get better. Just start! Now!

  • If you can do something for fun, you can do it forever. Try to find that activity or hobby that fulfills you and makes you happy.

  • When it comes to your first draft, write as fast and as long as you can. Just turn your ideas into words.

  • When you're done working on a long article, blog post, or book, set it aside and take some time off. Ideally, at least two days. Don't edit right after you write. Let your first draft rest for a bit and come back with a fresh mind to edit it.

  • When it comes to editing, follow this rule: Second draft = First draft - 10%. This is a rule I'm following for this newsletter, trying to remove at least 10% of the content before publication (it's not always easy).

  • Boredom can be a very good thing for someone who is stuck in a creative block. Get outside, sit on a bench in a park, just look at nature. These moments are precious and can help you find the solution to the problems you face in your work (or life).

  • There's no secret: practice is invaluable. With a lot of work, an average writer can become a good writer. You can only learn by doing.

  • Write with a closed-door. Avoid distractions. Set aside time to write each day. When you close the door, no one can disturb you. Make sure the people around you understand this rule.

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”


Two other content that caught my attention this week:

💸 The Highest Forms of Wealth · Article - Collaborative Fund -  How do you define wealth? One of the most interesting forms of wealth is being able to control your time. To be free to work when you want, where you want and to do what makes you happy every day. "There’s a difference between working hard because you want to and working hard because someone else told you you had to"

🧠 Readwise: Why everyone should use it. No exceptions - Article - Ryan Levander - Readwise is one of my favorite tools and the heart of my note-taking and content creation system. This article details the benefits of this tool and explains how to use it to best capture all your readings and sync them with tools like Notion or Roam. I like the "CODE" framework (Capture, Organize, Distill, Express) presented by Ryan.


🌎 What’s new in the world of no-code

Bubble has announced a $100M Series A, two years after a Seed round of $6.5M. This money will allow Bubble to hire more employees. The team has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic and the turnover has tripled. Bubble also wants to invest in education with the production of content and tutorials as well as develop partnerships with some universities.

Emmanuel Straschnov's vision is clear: Bubble wants to continue to focus on the businesses that are created every day thanks to its platform and support them in their growth. A vision inspired by companies such as Stripe and Amazon and a positioning that differentiates Bubble from many competitors.

Learning how to use Bubble requires a real investment (in time and money if you attend a bootcamp for example). I stopped using Bubble because I was waiting for two things: 1) more visibility on the long term future of Bubble - nothing worse than spending time learning a tool that goes out of business a few months later 2) the release of a new Editor and a better way to manage responsive designs.

On the first point, I am now more than reassured. I'm looking forward to the new version of Bubble (which was announced for a while for the second quarter of 2021).

Emmanuel was also invited this week on Anthony Pompliano's podcast for a conversation about the no-code movement.


Webflow has made some changes to facilitate collaboration between several people on a single project. Our working methods have changed since last year and Webflow wishes to improve the collaborative dimension of its platform. With these new features, Webflow now allows you to :

  1. Edit content in the Designer while your teammate builds

  2. Have a smooth handover between teammates in the Designer

  3. Synchronize live content modifications for all collaborators

  4. Get better visibility on the work done by your colleagues

Find out more about these new features in this video.

Webflow also unveiled the new features to come, including the creation of Workspaces and a better management of roles and accesses.


Pandemic obliges, we didn’t get a 2020 edition of Webflow’s No-Code Conf. The first (and only to date) edition of this event took place in 2019 and was a great success.

No-Code Conference 2021 will take place on November 18 and 19 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The event will also be available online. Tickets are on sale until September 6th for $299. Registration for the online event is free. You can register here.

All details about the No-Code Conference 2021 can be found on Webflow’s website. You can also apply as a sponsor or as a speaker.

For those who are interested, all the conferences of the 2019 edition are available here.


📦 And also…


As always, if you're enjoying Modern Makers, I would love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. I do my best to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.

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Have a great week and keep learning.

Martin

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