david perell write of passage podcast

The Write of Passage Podcast, Hosted By David Perell (All Episodes)

Check out the Write of Passage Podcast Page

This is a master post featuring the Key Takeaways from all episodes of the Write of Passage Podcast, hosted by David Perell (@david_perell). Write of Passage is David’s online writing course. We’ll update this post regularly as new episodes drop.

Why Write of Passage is Different | Episode 21

  • Most online education courses are self-paced; Write of Passage is live
  • Most online courses are easy and relaxed; Write of Passage is hard and intense
    • The fact is, difficult experiences are the transformative ones
      • “You never go on a beach holiday and say, ‘Wow. That changed my life.'” – David Perell 
    • “To provide a deep and meaningful writing experience, we need to challenge people” – David Perell
      • After all, the best bosses challenge your limits, the best teachers challenge your beliefs, and the best books challenge your assumptions
  • Most online courses are a solo experience; Write of Passage is a social one designed to facilitate friendships through challenge

What If I’m Not Ready Yet? | Episode 20

  • You’ll NEVER feel entirely ready to write online
  • As the famous saying goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now”
    • The same is true for writing online. Just think, ten years down the line, you’ll regret not having started NOW.
  • Humanity advances when people share knowledge. Start writing online. You won’t regret it.
    • “If you know things that other people should know about, I believe you have a moral obligation to write about it. Otherwise, humanity won’t benefit from all the thinking and learning you’re doing.” David Perell
  • Also: “You don’t need expertise on a topic to write about it because when you write, you develop the expertise. When you approach topics with a beginner’s mind, it allows you to explain complicated topics in a way average people can understand.” – David Perell
  • David’s advice:
    • Start before you’re ready
    • Have an action bias
    • Stop passively learning and start actively understanding the information you’re processing
    • Make publishing online—and not just the act of thinking—a habit

What You’ll Learn in Write of Passage | Episode 19

  • Write of Passage is a 5-week program split into seven modules:
    • 1) The age of leverage
      • “We live in a time where it’s free to produce and distribute your ideas. Individuals, through software and podcasts, can reach more people than ever before at any time in human history.” – David Perell
    • 2) Make a serendipity vehicle (a series of ideas you’re sharing via written, video, or audio content)
      • Serendipity vehicles travel into the world for you to search for like-minded people and opportunities 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • 3) Create an online home, a website where people can come to discover everything about you’re work
    • 4) Create an audience distribution system via email
    • 5) Learn to write clearly and persuasively 
    • 6) Learn to connect with anybody and use the internet to build relationships
    • 7) Build your personal monopoly

POP Writing | Episode 18

  • Make your writing POP (personal, observational, and playful)
    • Personal: Write about stories and experiences
      • Sentence starters: I saw; I heard; I felt; You may have noticed that
    • Observational: Write about hidden truths—things that people see but don’t quite notice
      • Sentence starters: I noticed this pattern; Look at this trend; You don’t know this, but
      • One note: Observational writing surprises readers
    • Playful: Make your writing fun with puns and jokes
      • How? Use sensory words/phrases and riddles—bring out the kid in the reader!
  • Writing that POPs is more memorable and fun to read

Look at Your Fish | Episode 17

  • “Writing makes the world pop; it changes how you see the world.” – David Perell
  • The lesson here: Look at a fish. REALLY look at it. REALLY, REALLY look at it. Do you see how cool it is? How interesting it is? All of its unique components? The way the eyes rest on its head? Its many colors? 
    • (You should be able to write PAGES about a single fish)
  • “You don’t always need to go find new things to write about; just look at the fish in front of you.” David Perell

Learn to Write Fast | Episode 16

  • “The internet rewards people who work fast. If you’re a software developer, learn to code fast. If you’re an online writer, learn to write fast. If you’re an online creator, learn to design or make videos fast.”David Perell
  • It’s FREE to distribute your ideas on the internet. The algorithms reward people who publish frequently.
    • When the cost of failure is high, plan first and act second; when the cost of failure is low (AKA when creating content online), it’s better to act first and plan second
  • The best thing you can do to facilitate fast writing: develop a sound note-taking system for saving and organizing your ideas

Intellectual Isolation | Episode 15

  • You might feel stuck; you might feel as if you have a ton of interests, but no clarity on where to start writing; you might feel alone with no one to share your ideas with…
    • David’s advice:
      • 1) Leave the sidelines and join the idea parade of the internet by writing online
      • 2) Find a group of people who can help push you to write online, and get you over the initial hump, ultimately leading you to change your identity: from consumer to producer, from watcher to doer

Writing to Start a Future Company | Episode 14

  • “If you want to, someday, be in control of your life, start your own business, and have total freedom over your time, writing online is a great place to begin” – David Perell
  • We’re moving towards a world of audience-first products:
    • In the 20th century, companies built their product first, and the audience second; now, in the internet age, it’s the opposite—build the audience first, then the product
  • “When you write about things you’re uniquely interested in, you attract smart, like-minded people who double as a feedback loop to make you smarter and more interesting”David Perell

Own Your Audience | Episode 13

  • “If you want to write online and build an audience, you need to own your distribution”David Perell
    • The people with large Twitter/Facebook/Instagram followings don’t own their audiences. David’s advice? Use one of these sites to drive people to a platform YOU OWN (like a personal website (not Medium) or an email newsletter).
  • “Email is by far the best place to build an audience—that list can NEVER be taken away from you. It’s 100% yours … People treat their inbox as a sacred place; if you can get in there, you can build a solid relationship.” – David Perell

Personal Monopoly | Episode 12

  • The ultimate goal of writing online: to build a personal brand (AKA personal monopoly)
    • A personal monopoly = when you’re know for something on the internet—something that’s uniquely yours
    • (In a sense, by writing online, you’re combining your unique skills, personality traits, interests, and personal experiences to create your unique personal monopoly—emphasis on unique)
  • The formula for changing your career:
    • 1) Find a small, emerging market that hardly anyone’s writing about
    • 2) Learn everything you can about it
    • 3) Share what you learn by writing online
  • “The more diverse your personal monopoly is, the better your chances of differentiating yourself and building a unique brand. In a world with personalized social media feeds, the weirder you are, the more you’ll stand out.” – David Perell
    • “Being unique, not being the best—doing things other people aren’t doing—is the fastest way to attract attention, avoid competition, and build your personal monopoly”

Writer’s Block | Episode 11

  • “Writer’s block shouldn’t be something you suffer with for years on end” – David Perell
  • To help kill writer’s block:
    • “My biggest piece of advice: if you’re struggling to put words down on a page, speak them out” – DavidPerell
      • David uses Otter to aid this process, which transcribes voice to text: “Then, once you have those words down, think of them like your marble. Take your existing words and craft them into the equivalent to a written statue.”
    • Think of writing as a 2-step process: 1) Getting ideas from your head onto the paper and 2) Refining your words into a proper structure
      • Writer’s block inhibits just this first part—speaking out your words solves this problem

Write in Small Chunks | Episode 10

  • The most time-consuming part of the writing process? Taking the time to learn something that others aren’t aware of.
    • Good news: Your domain of expertise takes care of most of this
  • “If you want to get more writing done, you need to get more mileage out of the writing you’re already doing and experiences you’re already having”David Perell
    • Here’s how: Capture as many interesting ideas as you can in a notebook (do NOT expect yourself to remember your golden nuggets)
      • Then, when you sit down to write, boom—all of your best ideas are waiting for you

The Netflix Principle | Episode 9

  • Netflix, originally, purchased the rights to shows with long shelf-lives —shows that stayed relevant years after production
    • Contrast this with sporting events, which are only worth watching live
  • Similar to Netflix, write evergreen content—articles that will be relevant 15 years in the future
    • How? – Write about ideas/concepts that stand the test of time, not current events
    • After all, writing is time-consuming—you want to produce content that pays dividends long into the future

What Should You Write About | Episode 8

  • An excellent place to start: what ideas are you thinking about in the shower?
  • What makes you passionate? What invigorates you? What gets your blood boiling? What gets you angry? What gets you AMPED?
  • “If you can write about things you’re excited about, if you can sit at the computer and watch your energy go up, if you can produce words that excite you, you’ll end up exciting the reader” – David Perell
    • (And when you write about what you’re excited about, you’re much more likely to sustain a writing habit)

David’s Formula for Interesting Ideas | Episode 7

  • Writing isn’t about grammar and syntax; it’s about communicating interesting and informative ideas in ways that are easy to understand and fun to read
  • Every person looking to become a better writer should be obsessing over the question: “How do I find interesting ideas?”
  • To aid idea discovery, train your tastes
    • Perhaps the best way? Go to museums!
  • As a writer, when you read, look for “eye-opening nuggets” (just like a dog looks for food in the kitchen)
  • As you come across exciting ideas you plan to write about, “use conversation to bring the feedback process forward”
    • “The earlier you can start receiving feedback—even before you start writing—the better off you’ll be”David Perell
      • (This is where school gets it wrong; school teaches us to only ask for feedback after we’ve finished a draft)
    • Conversation is a hyper-efficient and low-cost way to get a sense of what you should focus more/less on
    • When conversing, pay attention to body language:
      • For instance, if someone’s moving towards you, they’re probably interested in you’re saying

Produce More, Consume Less | Episode 6

  • Stop spending 100% of your time consuming content
    • Use what you consume to CREATE (Realize: this is by no means easy. If it were, there’d be so much competition that writing online wouldn’t be as beneficial.)
  • “Becoming a citizen of the internet requires producing things online. If you don’t, you’re invisible. The world is becoming more and more influenced by the internet. It’s precisely the people who share their best ideas—who are the most visible—who attract the most opportunities and coolest people into their lives.”David Perell

Better Inputs, Better Outputs| Episode 5

  • “Once you start writing, the quality of the information you consume, the things you do, and the people you surround yourself with will skyrocket.” – David Perell
  • The best way to improve your outputs is to have better inputs
    • Take high-quality restaurants, for instance; it all starts with sourcing high-quality food
  • “When you start writing online, it’s a forcing function for making sure you find high-quality information” – David Perell
    • Writing online has forced David to level up the quality of books he reads, newsletters he consumes, podcasts he listens to, videos he watches, and people he talks to
    • “When you start writing online, you’re forced to improve the quality of your input so you can improve the quality of your output”

Create Your Own Serendipity | Episode 4

  • “Luck isn’t magic. You can create your own serendipity. Don’t sit back and wait for luck to come to you; go out and create your own luck instead.”David Perell
    • And one of the best ways to create your own luck? Write online
    • “Luck is absolutely something that can be manufactured. Don’t just think it’s a byproduct of fate … The best way to turn up the dial of serendipity is to write online.”
  • When you write online, your words are like “magnetic attractors” for interesting people and opportunities tailored just for you
    • And good news: your writing doesn’t need to be world-class; it just needs to be different and distinct
  • “If you publish content, blogs, podcasts, or videos, people WILL discover and reach on to you—they’ll open doors you didn’t even know existed.” – David Perell
  • Luck = value created + how different what you’re creating is + how many people you tell about what you’re creating

Writing Changes How You See | Episode 3

  • For instance, as part of his Monday Musings newsletter, David includes his top learnings from the previous week—this primes his brain to discover interesting things and observe the world with a sharper lens, forcing him to up the quality of his information consumption
    • “What I’ve found: things that would have once been invisible to me begin to pop” – David Perell
    • It’s like getting a new camera—you’re much more likely to spot excellent photo opportunities
    • (All in all, writers and photographers consume the world with an intent to produce great content)

You Aren’t Too Late | Episode 2

  • “We’re still in the early days of the internet. Writing online today is like the internet in 1997.”David Perell
  • “If you can write consistently about a topic that nobody else is writing about, and you can do it well, you’ll find tons of opportunity.” – David Perell
    • DON’T write about things everyone else is already writing about—pick something unique (or throw some twists on a frequently covered topic)
    • “Focus less on trying to be better, and more on trying to be different”
  • “Writing online, once you start writing about unique subjects… The internet is the best matching tool created in human history. When you write about things other people aren’t writing about, you end up shrinking the world. A well-written article can change your life. The internet rewards people who think well, and connects those who think differently.”David Perell

Writing Improves Thinking | Episode 1

  • “Writing online is one of the best ways to clarify your thinking. When you actually write, you don’t just share what you think, you actually discover what you think.” David Perell
  • You DON’T have to share everything you write publically, but when you do, it’s like inviting guests to your home for dinner—it welcomes feedback, which further clarifies your thinking
    • “When you know other people will be seeing your thinking, you have to improve the quality. You end up basically cleaning your home, but for ideas.” – David Perell
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