How To Build Atomic Ideas (That You Can Turn Into Endless Content)

Ev Chapman
August 22, 2023

Three years ago I was desperate to build a consistent writing practice.

I'd tried everything. But no matter what I tried after about day 14 I just fizzled out. Life got busy. Other priorities took precedence.

And I was always back 0.

So I joined ship30for30 (the daily writing course) in a desperate attempt to finally find some consistency. I thought surely if I put some money down it would motivate me to actually write for 30 days.

Spoiler Alert: I found a whole lot of consistency (I've been writing every day since).But more than that - it turns out that when you write over 500 atomic essays it kind of rewires your brain.

It didn't take very long before my brain just started to think in 'atomic ideas.

'And I noticed that if I could articulate my ideas atomically, I could create content for any medium. Sure atomic ideas could be essays (like this one). But they could also turn into threads, short-form video outlines, carousels, medium articles, emails,  illustrations & almost any other content type I wanted to turn them into.

For a format that requires a whole lot of constraint, I've found it to be one of the most versatile to bring clarity & depth to my ideas.

Here are The Three Steps I Use To Build An Atomic Ideas (that I can turn into any content type I want)

1. Choose A Single Idea

The biggest shift I had to make was changing my mindset from 'blog post' to a single concept. This isn't easy & you'll end up leaving a lot of good stuff on the cutting room floor (we call this 'kill your darlings').But it'll be worth it.

Your ideas will be denser, richer & more defined as a result.And eventually, you'll be able to string atomic ideas together to make longer form content.

2. Include Context

Once I have an idea I think about a story, lesson, mistake or some kind of experience I can connect to it. For instance, above I talked about my own ship30 experience. I often want to go straight into solving the problem (the bullet points) because my brain thinks in process.

But slowing it down and finding some context helps my audience to understand the why before the how.

3. Break It Down

Steps, bullet points or a breakdown just make things easier for people to consume. Most of my atomic ideas have three bullet points (like this one for instance). But in general, I try to keep it between 3-5 points only.

When you rewire your brain to think atomically you'll find your ideas are clearer and you'll be able to use them in a bunch of different ways.

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