How I’m NOT using ChatGPT to write my book (or how to write modularly)

Tak Lo
3 min readJan 19, 2024

inspired by this tweet by Ev Chapman

My Principles on Writing Modularly

  • The principle is to write and continue writing. It doesn’t matter what you write — you just have to write!
  • Begin with bullet points and structure
  • If there’s a fact I don’t know but I know I’m going to refer to something, I just type “X” there to remind myself to fill it in later. Then after I’m done I go do something else, and make a point to come back
  • Write in spurts, then leave and do something else

A Methodology for Modular Writing

What is modular writing and how does it flow from shorter to longer-form content? The below is an idea of how it could be done.

One way to do it is to write Tweets. You write short sentences, testing different ways to construct or present an idea. I like sticking to the previous 140 character limit, as constraints are a good thing.

Then you expand upon those Tweets, and write longer form. One way to do it is to write on LinkedIn, where the audience wants to hear slightly longer form content, but not a blog post.

Then try to get feedback on your writing . Or you can overtly ask for it, tagging people on your LinkedIn article and actively ask “what you think”. This way, you get to see what points resonated.

Finally, don’t copy and paste, but instead from memory try to write through all the points, but now in a expanded blog form. This can be through Medium or your blog, ideally about a 3–4 minute read.

This next step is about looking at your work from different angles. One way is to insert your writing into ChatGPT and prompt it to discuss your writing in a more serious tone. Or ina more humorous one. Or to expand over a 10 min post. Treat ChatGP as a reader and suggester on content, but never to replace your own content.

Now you’re ready to write the final piece. Take your old blog or Medium post and expand the points you think need more work or ChatGPT suggested areas you think needs more expansion.Keep on working that angle until you feel your points are all addressed.

How I Use This Methodology for My Own Book

I use a similar method from above for my upcoming book.

The first important part for my book was to identify the preliminary structure. Once that was done, I wrote each chapter modularly, first outlining the chapter using bullet points and then filling the content around the bullet points.

Once all the chapters were done, I reevaluated whether the preliminary structure still held, or whether I would need to change the structure around. It turns out I did, so I changed the structure dramatically and changed what I previously wrote. I also focused on the transition between chapters to better tie the structure together.

my editor and I — not ChatGPT

I also utilized the help of my editor Ray and other advanced copy readers (and not ChatGPT) to review what I had written. Some people would suggest structural or content changes, and I would either rearrange the structure or just add to the content.

I’m still going through this process (in fact just had Ray come back on his recommended changes) — and think I will continue until the book is done!

If you’re interested in going on this journey with me on how I’m writing my first book, subscribe to my email list here!

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Tak Lo

Follow Me as I build out businesses radically in the open | Business Builder, Strategic Advisor, Premier Panel Moderator, and Influencer 😎