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In this post, you’re going to learn my 5-step writing process to create a blog post from scratch. 

But before that, I want to share the kind of writing struggles I had and how I overcame them. 

I have been struggling with writing for as long as I can remember. 

When it was time to write, I’d stare at a blank page and have my fingertips on the keyboard. Yet no words came out of me. I felt like I had nothing worthy to say. 

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I read a ton about fitness and nutrition, but obviously that didn’t help me get the six pack abs — for many years.

But I finally managed to get my body fat mass down from 25% to 11% in 3 months, thereby getting the visible ab cracks.

My secret? A coach and accountability. Here’s how it came down.

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Tools

Here is a list of helpful tools I use often.

 

Reading

Pocket – This app lets me save articles online while removing all the ads with a single click. I have a Chrome extension of this app installed, it’s very useful when I come across a headline that’s interesting and want to save it later to read. Usually I read all the articles on my phone with the Pocket app, and articles that are worth archiving will go to my Diigo bookmark while entertaining but not useful articles get deleted.

Diigo – This is my main bookmarking tool. If I find articles that that will be useful later for research and reference, I bookmark them in Diigo. Diigo lets me access my bookmarks from anywhere, enabling me to work from any device.

 

Writing

Google Docs – This is my go-to tool for any writing for projects, planning, or collaboration. It has great collaboration features which let me work on the same document with multiple people. Very useful for teachers who want to edit students’ work online, or for a team to edit and update the same document or spreadsheet.

Evernote – While I use Goole Docs as my “dynamic” notebook, I use Evernote as my “static” notebook. I use Evernote to store information and look up later, but rarely do I go back to edit the notes I’ve already created. This is a depository of where my notes, receipts, recipe, people’s contact information, quotes, and travel itineraries are stored. Evernote remembers everything for me, so that I don’t have to.

Day One – This is my where I keep my journal entries. Sure, I could write my journal on Google Drive or Evernote but I’d rather use a different software for it because I don’t read my own journal. I “brain-dump” my thoughts on this app and the writing is often grammatically incomprehensible. I journal more for therapeutic purposes than anything else. The interface looks great and it’s easy to use.

FutureMe.org – You can write a email to your future self using this app. You can have the email sent to you on the specified date in the future. I use this to review my personal goals and remind myself of the milestones I’ve set for myself.

 

Productivity

Droplr – A very handy app that lets you share a file with others by instantly creating a public URL. I use Droplr for smaller files (such as text, excel, and image files) that I don’t really need to keep but need to be shared.

Dropbox – With Dropbox, I share large files (such as audio and video files). I store files that I know I need to keep for an archive or for a later use.

Remember The Milk – I keep a list of all the tasks I need to do in this app. I access my to-do lists and shopping lists through its mobile app.

Rebrandly – This is like Bitly URL shortener except I like it much better. It gives you the ability to edit both the destination URL and source URL.

Boomerang – This is an add-on to Gmail. It lets me schedule an email to be sent at a later time or date. I use this when I want to remind my coworkers or students of a certain deadline or news. I write all the email ahead of time and just schedule its delivery time. I don’t have to write another email for the rest of the week.

 

Business

World Time buddy – Scheduling a meeting with people working in the different timezone has been a hassle until I started using this app. It lets you see the meeting time in different timezones instantly. It helps me schedule a Skype meeting very easily.

ElanceOdesk and Fiverr – I use these services to find virtual assistants to help me with simple tasks, such as data entry, spreadsheets, translation, and photo enhancement. I can hire anybody from around the world, and it’s a great way to make more time for myself while my assistants from the other side of the world do the tasks for me.

 

Website

My blog runs on a free framework called WordPress, which helps me customize my website. I can change the color, fonts, and add features to my website.

Bluehost – This is the hosting service I recommend to beginners who want to run their website or blog. It’s cheap and customer service responds fairly quickly.

Ultimate Shortcodes – This WordPress plugin has all the features I need to use in my blog, such as tabs, tables, and colorful buttons. Sometimes WordPress themes come with such features, but I don’t want to bother fixing the looks of the site every time I switch themes. This plugin will keep those things in tact.

 

Music Software

Sibelius – I’ve been using Sibelius to notate music since 2001. I tried Finale a few times, but I always resort back to Sibelius. It’s easier for me to use.

Ableton Live – This is my main Digital Audio Workstation. I’ve used Sony’s Acid Pro, then Apple’s Logic, but I needed something more portable, useful for both composition and performance, and cross-platform (i.e. MAC & PC compatibility). Logic is MAC-only, and ProTools requires its native hardware. I’ve been experimenting with Reaper, but I think I’ll be keep using Ableton Live for a long time.

Kontakt – This is the default plugin that I use to load and manipulate most of my sound libraries in DAW. Along with the notation software (Sibelius) and DAW (Ableton Live), this is the minimal requirement for my digital music studio.

EastWest – If you need an all stop solution for an orchestral sound library, I recommend that you start with EastWest.

Perl Concert Grand – I’ve recently purchased this sound library at its introductory price of $99, and it has become one of my favorites. The piano samples are versatile and can be used across many genres including classical, jazz and EDM. If you’re on budget I highly recommend this library.

 

Books

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss –  This book has had a huge impact on me and made me rethink my lifestyle and productivity.