Don't miss my next email

Join 32,000+ subscribers and get a 5 minute free weekly newsletter on how to build your writing business

    How to explore your curiosity by writing online

    By Kieran Drew
    This is an edition of my old newsletter Digital Freedom.

    It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.

    A few weeks ago we discussed niching down.

    One idea was exploring your curiosity. A lot of people enjoyed the advice, but I made a mistake.

    Everyone explains why you should explore your curiosity.

    But no one explains how.

    Especially if you’re starting from scratch.

    So today we’ll discuss how to explore your curiosity and go from ‘Explorer to Expert’ using a 4 step process.

    It’s a 5 minute read.

    Let’s dive in.

    How to explore your curiosity (starting as a beginner)

    I never enjoyed dentistry, but it took years to even think about an escape plan.

    The problem I faced (like most) is I didn't believe I could quit. I’d spent most of my life building the career. On the one hand, I was terrified of failing if I tried to leave.

    But on the other, I had no clue how to start.

    …Until I found Naval Ravikant.

    Don’t follow the crowd

    Naval speaks about how to build wealth online.

    His advice on picking a career ain't like society's usual stuff.

    “Following your genuine intellectual curiosity is a better foundation for a career than following whatever is making money right now.”

    This isn’t just about 'pursuing your passions'.

    It's science.

    yeah science GIF

    Curiosity is the driver behind all human progress.

    The area of the brain responsible for hunger is the same for curiosity. This is why we go to crazy lengths to advance and explore. It's how I'm able to type words on a machine to send ideas to you across the globe.

    Curiosity is the key to motivation AND creating a unique, interesting niche.

    But where do you start?

    With these two questions.

    1. What topics fascinate me (regardless of earning potential)?
    2. What don’t I understand that I wish I did?

    I’ll explain what we do with the answers in a moment. But for now, list every topic you can. Then you need to pick 1 - the topic that interests you the most.

    (Don't worry, you're not getting married to the decision, just creating direction).

    4 Steps for Exploring your Curiosity

    Most people write online to build an audience.

    Instead, we'll write to learn - using content to ‘scratch your own itch’.

    There’re two advantages of this approach.

    First, when you teach what you know, you learn what you don’t.

    So you upskill much faster.

    Second, even if you’re not getting likes, you’re getting good. By changing the game, you make it easy to play.

    The first step:

    1. Start on Social

    Ignore newsletters (for now).

    And please, do NOT start a website.

    My first year was hell because I built a blog no one read. If I wrote on Twitter, I’d have started when Sahil Bloom did. I prefer not to think about how much that mistake cost me.

    But aside from wasting time, the real issue is this:


    You can’t explore effectively if you’re tied down.

    It’s easy to test ideas on Twitter.

    But an email list or website makes each pivot painful. Friction will hold you back. The more commitments you make, the harder curiosity becomes.

    So we start on Twitter (no platform is better for rapid iteration)...

    2. Be an explorer, not an expert

    The secret to exploring curiosity (and audience building in general) is to embrace your positioning.

    Instead of telling people what to do, show them what you’ve learned.

    • Distil expert ideas
    • Summarise books and blogs
    • Share advice from others in your niche

    A prime example is Dickie Bush.

    He built his initial audience by leveraging other people’s names - creating authority by association.

    Not only does this mean you grow fast, but it's a great filter.

    Research is only exciting if you’re genuinely curious.

    If you can’t write 20 threads on a topic, it isn’t for you.

    …Which leads me to the next (and most important) point.

    3. Follow the right metric

    This is where most people go wrong (myself included).

    You start publishing. Some topics do well. You follow the signal. After all, data driven growth is smart, right?

    Before you know it you’re the ‘Google Sheets n Motivation Quotes’ guy and the only thing you can sell is retweets.

    But don’t get this twisted:

    It’s difficult to resist external validation when digital dopamine is involved.

    Having thousands of people applaud your direction is like cocaine for our monkey minds.

    But much like the white stuff, the fun part ends fast and the sun’s rising, you’ve lost your phone, and you’re wondering what the hell have I done.

    Curiosity requires an internal compass.

    1. Does this topic feel good to write about?
    2. Does it energise or drain me?
    3. Do I genuinely care about it?

    Because at the end of the day, the creator who plays the longest, wins.

    It’s 100x more effective to chase your thoughts than chase trends if it leads to a topic you can’t stop writing about (regardless of the result).

    4. Be like Bruce Lee

    Often the topic you pick first is just a step toward something more special.

    But that doesn’t mean each exploration is a waste of time.

    Take yours truly for example.

    I didn't want to be a writer when I first heard Naval.

    I wanted to be a stand up comedian.

    So I spent months writing jokes only my girlfriend had the good grace to hear. But as COVID restrictions lifted I realised I didn't want to work in comedy clubs every night.

    But the mornings I wrote would fly by - my first taste of flow.

    So I went back to the drawing board and asked, ‘How could I maximise my writing time?’

    I found blogging.

    Then it was a series of experiments (that are still running now).

    I’m so far removed from my original plan, I would’ve laughed you out the room if you told me 3 years ago I'd have an 'email business'.

    Exploring your curiosity is a journey where you don't know the destination.

    Which is where Bruce Lee comes in.

    He explained that ‘an intelligent mind is an inquisitive mind’. His advice on the creative process:

    Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own”

    This is how you explore.

    Don't bounce around like a bull in a china shop, seeing what survives the damage.

    Approach curiosity clinically.

    For what you enjoy most, ask why - then do it more.

    For what you don’t, dissect it. What can you extract from the experience? What should you avoid in the future?

    “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

    - Albert Einstein

    From explorer to expert

    The exploring phase never truly ends.

    But as you create, you’ll begin to pick up signal in the noise. You’ll narrow your focus on topics you love - offering unique perspectives to solve old problems.

    You'll begin to combine unrelated topics in a way that excites your audience.

    And that, my friend, is when you’ll begin to stand out in the noise.

    let curiosity be your guide

    Kieran Drew

    About Kieran

    Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business