How I Wrote 50 Articles in 2022

Gareth I. Jones
6 min readApr 22, 2023

50 posts down, I wanted to share a bit about how, and what happens next.

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I took on the challenge to write a fresh post every week through 2022 as my New Year’s resolution, with the hope being that by the end of the year I’d have 50 posts to show for it.

It’s been so rewarding taking on the 50 Things challenge, it hasn’t been easy but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process.

I never thought of myself as a writer, but in 12 months I’ve created over 50,000 words of content — way more than I ever could have imagined.

The skill has been incredibly useful elsewhere in life and business. I’m much better at writing quickly now, which is leading to better letters, reports and emails.

Now, having hit 50 Things I’ve decided to rethink and review what this is and what it exists for. There are a couple of other things that have changed too which prompted action.

Firstly, Revue is being shut down as part of Elon Musk’s cost-saving activities. I’m going to transfer this blog, all of the articles, and subscribers to Substack — which you’ll automatically move over to.

Secondly, now this is more than 50 Things I need a new name.

I’ve played with a few, but following a straw poll survey with the team I’ve decided to go with the Good Founder. This will also be the new domain for 2023.

I’ve spent most of the year writing about topics that really apply more to social entrepreneurship and purpose-driven founders. The Good Founder feels like a good fit for sharing tips and guidance on the specific challenges and approaches required when launching, leading, and growing a social venture or purpose-driven business.

I’m going to use this theme to inform any future posts and content I create for you and this channel.

On Writing

The main question I’ve had people ask over the year is how anyone can get that much writing done. This was quite daunting for me at the start, but it actually got a lot easier as the process developed. Once I worked out there’s a system the articles basically wrote themselves.

There is a nice and easy process to follow.

Themes

The themes come to mind every day when you start looking for them. The thing that worked well for me throughout was keeping notes. I started with a very sophisticated and slick system involving Trello and all sorts of other tools, but the best thing ended up being just my Notes app on my phone. Whenever I was in a workshop, or thinking over ideas in the shower, or reading a book, and an idea struck — I just aimed to get it down and captured in three to six words.

I did this in the three months leading up to the challenge starting, and quickly had enough themes to fill a year. After putting these into Trello I felt confident that it could be done, but this list quickly became redundant as new ideas cropped up.

This was a big lesson for keeping motivated. If I didn’t feel like writing an article on a specific topic when I sat down to, then there was often no point forcing it. It was better to find the idea that just flowed and embrace it.

The flow got easier when I had a simple framework for every article. The framework goes like this:

  • Choose your theme or headline from your list
  • Pick three key points to make the argument
  • Write a 150 word intro or context setter
  • Write 100 words on the three points
  • Add a 150 word wrap-up

There you have it — a 600-word article!

Writing 100 words is easy, it’s basically two or three paragraphs. Breaking the task into these chunks makes it more realistic and before you know it you’re exceeding the target word count for every post.

Ideally, I’m aiming for a paragraph to be no longer than a tweet. That focuses the mind on cutting out fluff, and can potentially create another outlet through threads.

The harder job has been doing all of the other bits — creating cover images, images in the articles, and scheduling all of the socials. That’s where I haven’t been able to keep up and maximise the production of content.

I haven’t promoted it anywhere near as much as I ought to have, and when I have put effort in to this it has massively paid off. It isn’t easy to do this alongside running a busy day job.

That’s why I’ve been so grateful for every share and bit of feedback. I know from the analytics that people read the posts but it sometimes feels like shouting into a void. Every message, repost, retweet, share, and comment is highly motivating!

One thing I have to say is that I wish I had developed this skill earlier in my life. As a double drop-out I feel like this skill is a game-changer — I had no enthusiasm for writing in the past but now I look forward to spending time with a blank page.

It might also help that I now have lots of views and thoughts developed from a couple of decades of working and running businesses. I’m not sure I appreciated how important it was at a younger age to get out there and see the world, hence the first post that started all of this.

I’ve been lucky to have a lot of long train rides to do writing, but not so much time Monday to Friday 9 to 5, so getting the notes down as soon as an idea came to mind was crucial. It’s all about building the skeleton and adding flesh when time allows.

I also want to pay credit to a book that got me thinking that this could also create other value. You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney is a collection of 50 shortish posts that collectively created a compelling book. It’s also a really great read, so I’d recommend checking it out.

Your 50 Things

I’ve also have a lot of people who have talked about their own desire to create more, whether writing, podcasting, researching, or creating videos — I’d invite you to embrace the 50 Things challenge.

If you want to make more time for a creative project or outlet in 2023, 50 Things is the way.

The rules are simple:

  • Once a week, publish something
  • Create a home online for your creativity, whether an existing blog, new mail-out, or something else
  • Stick at it all year long, in the good weeks and bad

The 50 Things rule gives you a couple of weeks off a year, but you are more likely to find yourself stockpiling content once you get going.

Your project could be work related, hobby based, or totally pointless. It doesn’t really matter. Equally it could be to build an audience or just for you and your cat.

We are all creative people, it’s just that some of us are lapsed, and some of us never realised just how creative we can be.

50 Things was great for me, I’d recommend giving it a shot and see how much it pays you back.

Next Steps

There’s no plan to commit to the weekly posts from before, but it might end up being that way.

I’d love to hear more from you about any topics that you think need more detail.

One quite exciting development is that some of my content has been selected to be printed in a collection along with entrepreneurs like Nir Eyal, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and many more. I’ll share more about this soon, but you can register your interest at Doers & Dreamers.

Thanks for all of your support with 50 Things, I’m really looking forward to seeing where the Good Founder goes next.

Tweet me, and remember it costs nothing to give a post a couple of claps! 👏👏

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Gareth I. Jones

Founder of TownSq, focused on building communities of entrepreneurs, supporting startups and B Corps - businesses that are better for the planet.