Bringing Craft Back to Content

Here are my notes from my WordCamp San Diego talk. If you have any feedback on the presentation or want to connect on making something awesome, leave me a comment or hit up my contact form. (If you missed it, it’ll be on

PDF of my talking notes, which I kind of used.

10 Tips for Crafting Content

  1. Planify – Great craft doesn’t happen by accident – make a plan, steal a plan from someone else, talk about your plan with others, develop a whitepaper for what you are trying to do, make some rules for yourself.
  2. Be Sketchy – Take a shot at it – give a few tips for idea generation – ideas on the process of creativity; reference Imagine by Jonah Lehrer
  3. Channel Ernie – Work hard, but take me somewhere I want to go – Writing as Craft: “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.” Question: Have you fallen in love with your craft like that? ‘Cos when you do…
  4. Collaborate to win – Review the publishing process, how a book becomes a book.
  5. Cleveriffic – Surprise people; show personality; link to goofy places, do unexpected things, make up words– create a memory
  6. Hype Type – example of San Diego UT: go big– 16pt looks like 12pt to the reader, go beautiful– sans serif for short, serif for long, show off who you are.
  7. Savory – something memorable, something worth talking about – full of flavor.
  8. Just Beat it – Great content repeats a theme that readers like, they can’t get your song out of their head, and they think about it all day.
  9. Bad Timing –  People worry too much about when to publish stuff, sometimes bad timing is absolutely perfect. – find out when your audience is bored… then send them something.
  10. Appreciated – unfortunately, great content that takes people places is measured, not just by numerics on Google Analytics, which tends to take care of itself, but its impact on the reader.

Photo credits
  6. San Diego Union-Tribune
  1. Imagine by Jonah Lehrer
  2. Hemmingway, Writing as Craft –






4 responses to “Bringing Craft Back to Content”

  1. […] Read Adam’s notes from this session. […]

  2. brooks.4 Avatar

    I attended your session and really liked your presentation. I was following up on the book I Magine and noticed that it was pulled from shelves because the author fabricated some of the content. Did this not hinder the value of the content in your opinion?

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      That’s news to me. There was a bunch in there which I know he re-used from articles and such. But I’d be curious to know what was fabricated and what wasn’t? Got a link?

      There was so much in there about how to spark imaginative ideas, find solutions, how that all works… so much good stuff that’s helped my life as a creative.

      1. Brooks.4 Avatar

        Well I’m going to def read it now. Sorry no link off top of head but the article said all the Bob Dylan qoutes and lines were reworded or made up. Some journalist whos a Bob Dylan historian got him to admit it supposedly. Still gonna try it tho. Thanks

Leave a Reply