31 Comments

Wow, LOVE the concept of writer-builder! Thank you.

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Apr 30Author

🫶

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love this and have found that my favorite authors tend to be writer-builders or builders-turned-writers, especially for genres like science fiction (ie ken liu and ted chiang)

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May 2Author

mine too and usually builders in creative realms, writer-directors at the top

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The real question is: what song was it that you analyzed for Mr Page? 😃

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Apr 30Author

Was waiting for this question :) For no other reason than suspense i will wait 24hrs to answer it

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It was clear the way you wrote it 😃, you set it up well, and honestly I expected somebody else would have already asked the question...

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Apr 30Author

I was also asked if Mr. Page is a pseudonym, which sounds very plausible, but it is not

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Still waiting for this 👀

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This super resonated. I've been thinking a lot about this concept, too - the future of the renaissance person. Where did it go? Why was it such a central concept hundreds of years ago? What might it look like?

https://www.comma.org/p/the-renaissance-person-beyond-the

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May 1Liked by Anu

I like this concept. Interestingly both this blog and the writer-builders you highlighted write on topics that allow them to reflect and revise numerous times. “How to do good work” will never not be interesting. Some people today though choose topics that don’t allow for such time — GenAI, for example, because there are breakthroughs happening in the space every week it seems. As a result, those blogs come off as “takes” rather than “well considered thoughts”

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May 1Author

Yeah great thought, I sometimes struggle with wanting to comment on something topical vs. think about more evergreen topics. The former are instructive and making sense of a moment in time or momentum in time. The latter are timeless and open to continuous refinement as you point out.

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v nice read. i'm of the thought that writing can also be bucketed under the term "building". when you're writing, you're building a reflection of your thoughts in a place on the internet.

also, a question: i have been building for a long time and have many times thought about writing. but i never started because i default to "oh fine, i could write 3-4 times but then i'll be out of stuff to write..." - help me think through this, if you could please ^^

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May 2Author

imo you should never think that far ahead, write when you want and usually you get more ideas as you empty the ones you have

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okay cool - so i guess this week i empty the ideas i have.

thank you

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Can it be all the archetypes together? ♥️♥️

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Love this. Exactly what I’ve been doing for a decade but didn’t have a name for :-)

Where are the writer-builders gathering?

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May 1Author

Here? 🤷‍♀️ Right now it seems like everyone is an individual node that finds each other through public writing

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Fair enough. I thought I’d ask just in case there was some cool place all W-B’s gathered that I didn’t know about lol

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May 1Author

maybe one day soon i’ll have to create the watering hole

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this is interesting. writing has always been for me an extension of being … ive had that same experience of always gravitating toward writing in whatever it is im doing.

if im making something, i would t know how to think about it unless i wrote about it 😅

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I was always afraid of writing on the internet before building something myself. But as I did, my observation tells me that I have become more open and more attracted to the possibilities of building. And you know what my intuition says Anu? It's gonna happen.

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Apr 30Author

Virtuous cycle of revelation!

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A rare phenomenon but to name a few - Ben Kuhn, Nathan Baschez, Jason Fried amongst a few...

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I empathized with your light-hearted, pinned tweet ‘building in private and writing in public…’ a lot. So this scaled-up version was particularly enriching.

Thank you.

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"Why did the time period or their environment encourage such breadth of exploration? And why is it that it’s discouraged now?”

A: I don’t think it is discouraged now. These renaissance men were extremly unique people exceedingly rare in their age as well, usually only unusually good at one or two things and then just had hobbies. People under the spotlight today tend to be cagey about their personal lives, with stalking famous people being the great pastime of our age.

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Beautiful article. I savored it. thanks for writing it.

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Loved this! One writer-builder that comes to mind in an especially meta way is David Perell: He built up popularity as an online writer, and is now building... Write of Passage, a school for online writers! And his approach with students suggests to me that this could be a cascading writer-builder situation, haha.

He's also written about "audience-first products," which seems aligned with one of your points: Everyone needs distribution, so it can be smart to start by building that, first.

Thanks so much for the wonderful essay!

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"You can never escape the chicken-or-egg question."

Sure you can. It's usually superfluous, as it is here.

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May 14Author

Im open to an explanation of how it’s definitively superfluous, and when it’s definitively not

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