I talked to 3 writers

The Art of Doing Nothing – Your Ideal Audience – A Writer's Writer

Sup nerds, you're reading Cyber Patterns alongside 7,265 people.

If you’re new here, please consider subscribing to get my work in your inbox every Sunday:


Last night, I grabbed dinner with my friend Adam at a Nepalese restaurant called Base Camp.

I got there an hour early and my phone was dead, so I sat for an hour just thinking and checking out the scenery out the window.

It was so refreshing, just doing nothing. I watched the fancy self-driving Waymo cars go by, I thought about the colorful San Fransisco architecture, and I thought about the conversations I had earlier with a potential client.

When Adam got there I told him “Holy shit I didn’t realize when you turn off your phone, your brain works!” Adam laughed. He’s a writer, works at Google, and is one of the deepest most intentional thinkers I know.

“As a writer, you need empty space, right? You need time to do nothing and be bored. Empty space creates good work,” he said.

I’m thinking a lot about that right now. The art of doing nothing is underrated.

You need time to do nothing, be bored, and just have a good think. You need to give yourself time to do nothing.

As Greg said, I hope you’re having a great weekend doing nothing.

🔑 Fake it til you make it

Scared of publishing your writing?

Fake it til you make it. Pretend you’re not scared—and then press publish.

With enough repetitions, the confidence will become real.

Get access to Wednesday’s post about all the times I faked it and made it.

Ok onto the rest of the stories!


On Thursday night, I was talking with a young VC named Harlem who was staying with us at the Airbnb.

He hadn’t done much on the personal branding or content side of things, but said he really wants to start. I started asking him about his life and goals.

Harlem grew up in a rough inner city, dropped out of college, and willed his way into venture capital with no network. By sharing his story with people, he’s built a crazy network of founders and VCs who support him.

HARLEM: The hood only has rap and sports. I want to make tech cool, I want it to be something kids aspire to be. And I know I can be that dude who shows them how to do that.

JASON: Try writing to a younger version of yourself. I write every piece like a younger version of myself is reading it. What would 17-year-old Jason want to know about being a creator and making content? You gotta make content for a younger version of yourself.

HARLEM: Bro, I feel like my brain just unlocked

Write for a younger version of yourself.

A lot of people will try writing to people way smarter and experienced than themselves. And they sound like frauds—because they kinda are.

When you write for a younger version of yourself, you’re 100% authentic.


On my podcast this week, I spoke with my publisher Ellen Fishbein.

On top of her publishing house, she does writing coaching for execs, founders, and creators. She’s a true Writer’s Writer and works with the best of them.

JASON: What have you noticed about some of the best writers that you've worked with?

ELLEN: I've worked with and coached and managed and edited a ton of writers. And one thing that I think surprises people a lot is that I don't think that writing is something that can really be taught.

Like we write in school and we have writing classes in school. But really the best writers—including people who may not even think of themselves as writers to describe themselves—they are very much self-taught.

They take things that they learn from people and they can definitely be guided, coached, helped, collaborated with all that stuff, but ultimately it's the kind of thing that you just learn by doing it and by practicing it. Nobody can really teach you how to write. So the people who come outta school not having spent any time teaching themselves how to write, or people who haven't just gotten passionate about it for any reason, they just reach a certain level of proficiency that they never really get beyond.

And then the people who actually find themselves drawn to writing are the ones who learn because every single person learns in their own way.

JASON: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. Writing is largely self-taught. You read good work, develop your taste, and then try your hardest to get to that taste level.

But it takes so long to get from the beginning to the taste level that you like to read, you know? It's a very, very long journey. I know I was definitely frustrated when I was younger. It was like, oh man, this just sounds awful. Like I'll never sound like Kerouac, I'll never sound like X or whatever.

And I think a lot of people give up in that, in that process. They keep trying to compare themselves to some famous writer instead of, you know, a 16 year old or 17 year old that they are.

Writing is largely autodidactic: you must teach yourself.

And the only way to do that is through a lot of practice writing all sorts of shit.

When you try a new medium—fiction, screenplays, etc.—you will be shockingly bad at first. But keep going past the resistance and discomfort.

You’ll find what you’ve always been looking for.

Scared of publishing your writing?

I was too.

So I faked my confidence and pressed publish.

With enough repetitions, the confidence will become real.

Get access to Wednesday’s post about all the times I faked it and made it.

Creators Corner

Every Sunday, I curate 3 resources to help you create more cool shit.

🎙 Ellen Fishbein and I had a wonderful conversation about writing on my podcast this week. Hope you enjoy and get something meaningful from it.

📘 I started a new notebook! Hell yes, a new chapter begins. I always use Moleskine Classic notebooks. They feel like a writer’s notebook should.

🌴 Palm Report by Poolsuite is the vibiest newsletter to ever exist. I subscribe to their premium plan it’s so good. I get good summer vibes and creative inspiration every time it hits my inbox.

Thanks for reading nerds.

Create some cool shit this week.

Jason Levin

P.S. Want to really upgrade your content strategy?

😂 Check out my book on meme marketing Memes Make Millions.

📞 If you want 1:1 advice on your content strategy, book a call with me.

🤖 For access to exclusive blogs and case studies, upgrade to premium.

Until next edition, see you on Twitter and LinkedIn.