Minimum Viable Essay

Single session publishing
Feb 2, 2021
Minimum Viable Essay Outline
Writing Trend

habit, sit down everyday, new essay, publish

nuance, lots of different ways to structure a daily writing habit

minimum viable essay


don't build all the features

don't piss off your engineers

small, compressed, to the point

people can engage with it

as a creator, you have time to reflect

test it - release a fuller thing later

public, discrete v1, then distributing v2 later

writing in a similar way


each week day, a core idea, a shiny topic, limited scope

within an hour, 1:15 - write the MVE

group of friends share

not perfect, something coherent, something you can share

Share end of session, limitation

have to share it

amazing rule to set for yourself

when you know you have to share it

get to the point, full sentences

prevents you from getting lost in hours of outline

Don't Distribute

micro-trend, ship 30 for 30

not your best work! just v1

don't need to launch it to everyone

people will get sick of it, too frequent

message to friends

write it for a specific person, send to them


Time, Evolution (permission)

give this thing room to evolve

permission to edit things on your website

look back after a week

new information, mind changed

some things never evolve

sometimes 500 > 2500

Habit of Fishing


every morning, produce one new essay

blocking out space for new idaes to emerge


when they want to expand they will

if you focus on long-form, suck in attention

not fihsing, not feeding yourself

over a month, 25 essays, 30,000 words

some unedited, some long form

Lagged Distribution (fish turned whales)

now, approaching, 1 month

lag one month behind creation

work most proud of, actively try to get more eyes on it

minimum viable essay

best of both approaches

daily habit, exploring a lot of different ideas, finished works

lagging a month, permission to evolve, some of those evolve into long-form

Chicken scratch transcript to convert to it's own essay

There's a new writing trend where people publish their essays every morning online. Flurry of essays. But a lot of ways to structure a writing pipeline around a morning habit. A minimum viable essay is a new way to think about.

MVP is a known term. Minimum viable product. When you're builidng software, wyou don't want to piss off your engineering and throw in every feature into an amazing but "theoretircal" and hard to reach product. You want to create the smallest possible thing that you can get out there. Get it out quickly as possible, get people using it, and then reflect on it. We want to approach writing in the same way.

Writing habit is where you start. EVery week day, meet up with some friends on Zoom. The goal, end of the session, share a finished link to the thign I worked on. An amazing limitation. Knowing that after an hour from when you sit down, someone is going to read this. It forces you to write in full sentencers, to get to the point, to be concise. Without that, I found that i can spend literally months toiling around outlines that are melting and reforming. Sharing your work.

Here's the critical nuance. Publish your work, share it, but don't distribute. Message it to people, but it on a forum, but don't blast it to everyone on the internet. What if we lagged it by a month?

Morning routine, over a month, can produce 25 essays, 30,000 words. Important thing is to give yourself permission to edit these thigns, even if they are on your personal website. No reason why they have to be static. Set in stone to the world. Can't back track and change it. Website in profgress things, not yet distributed. With time, change your mind, or extra juice and 1,000s of words. Never destroying essay, this readable whole that is evolving.

By fishing every morning, you built a mosaic of all these things your evolving. Then whatever wants to grow, evolve and change will. Out of the majority of this stuff, maybe 50% stays as a first draft, then maybe other pieces expand into full form work. From first hour, out there to the world.

Final part of this pipeline is distribution. Lagged for a month. Now at the point where I"m about to start sharing. Prioritze the work I'm most interested in.. Don't need to share everything. After multiple weeks, this is a thing I'm proud of. Treat it as a marketing exercise.

Minimum viable essay. Writing everyday, producing a huge range of ideas. But then by lagging the distribution, your allowing those things to evolve into your best work. So it's like fish hunting and whale hunting at the same time.


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