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Tactics

I help you think differently about the tools and systems of an online writer. While it’s easier to copy something that works, it often doesn’t suit your needs. I unpack some of my unconventional approaches around note-taking, journaling, publishing, and feedback. Stretch the medium. It’s often the thing you get remembered for.

📩 One-click Distribution

Hello world! This is the inaugural edition of Dean's List. I've decided to transplant both my website and newsletter into Ghost (this will surprise those who know me as "the Notion guy.") Sounds drastic. It is, but let me explain.

✉️ Newsletter Junkyard

We're in a newsletter arms-race. What happens when everyone has one and they all sound the same? Overwhelm, skimming, and email fatigue. The old tricks around niches & weekly streaks are becoming predictable. What makes a newsletter exciting to open each time?

🗒 The Myth of Compounding Notes

A long-term horizon around "the note" leads us to worship inputs. We often feel the need to create perfect constellations of notes before we start. Instead of notes to serve us in 5-10 years, what if we accept that they expire in 3 weeks?

📓 Introducing logloglog

Back in December, I started a public interstitial journal. A few times a day, maybe every hour or so, I'd write down what I was thinking. I was surprised at the benefits of this practice.

🧠 Building a Second Brain in Miro

Forte Labs BlogBuilding a Second Brain in Miro - Forte Labs "I recently hired designer and writer Michael Dean to summarize my Building a Second Brain course in visual form. Michael is the writing coach and lead facilitator for The Writer’s Studio, a new cohort-based writing workshop he recently

🍳 The Daily Meeze

Writers can learn from cooks. Chef's store ingredients, work among chaos, and reset their workspace at the end of the day. We can adopt their rituals and mindfulness so the information we need is always at our fingertips.

📬 Kill Instapaper

Read-later apps let us save articles for the future. The problem is, we never get to them. Thousands of articles build up in our inbox, and they rot there forever. Here’s a better way to re-route your unread articles.

🔗 Hyperlink Frenzy

There's a new myth that hyperlinking all your private notes together leads to creativity. I disagree. I’ve made this mistake before. It comes from an obsession with categorizing our inputs. Instead, focus on outputs.

⚛️ The Writer's Stack

It’s becoming popular to use dozens of productivity apps and link them all together using automations. Another approach: an all-in-one workspace like Notion. It provides all the functionality a writer needs.

🧩 Object-Oriented Design

What makes Notion special? Yes, it’s known for its dashboards. But most people set up folder hierarchies and don’t take advantage of it’s best feature: relational databases.