Episode Number 9Daniel Coyle on the Practice of Writing

In his New York Times bestselling book The Talent Code, author Daniel Coyle talks about how the digital age has helped us master skills both better and faster by making models of how people do things accessible via mediums like YouTube and blogs. As you can imagine, this has a big impact on how we work too. In a recent visit to The Work Talk Show, Daniel shared insights on how we’re inventing our work lives, how we writes, and what we can learn from others.

Show Notes

When you have a bestselling author on your podcast, you're going to spend some time talking about the work habits around writing. As the author of The Secret Race, The Little Book of Talent, The Talent Code, Lance Armstrong's War, and Hardball: A Season in Projects, as well as a contributing editor for Outside Magazine, Daniel Coyle has built a writing routine over time. He starts the process by opening a file folder and drawing an arc for the story he wants to tell. And then ...

The shocker! [CUE: Suspenseful Music] Coyle's process is based on writing things out longhand in notebooks. Actual paper notebooks. With a pen. DJ and Nick's hands cramped up just hearing this! In all seriousness, Daniel made great points on how writing things out — especially his extensive research for non-fiction works — helps him organize his thoughts (he includes an index of valuable content for each notebook). "The keyboard is too fast and creates sloppiness," cautioned Coyle.

As always, we had some fun talking about how we work. Coyle, like recent guest Jay Baer, utilizes a stand-up desk for his work. Why? He cribbed the idea off the internet! Daniel also referenced photos of famous writers' desks like the ones seen here.

Daniel also told how he and his family split their time between Cleveland, Ohio (during the school year) and Homer, Alaska.

For shameless plugs, Nick shared a successful work habit he stole modeled from guest Ann Handley (no multi-tasking meetings), DJ did the same with John Morgan's two-hour rule, and Daniel reminded us of the value of micropractice or practicing new skill mastery in short bursts. For great tips like these, you should also check out Daniel's blog at TheTalentCode.com.

Until next week, see you on the internet!

If you're looking for a behavior to practice or model If you liked what you heard (or even if you didn't), head over to iTunes and give us a quick rating and review to help others find the show.


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