• Please share a link to one of your personal stories on Cake.
This post was quite easy for me to choose since I don't often share personal stories on Cake. Most of the conversations I start are more informative and are meant to generate discussions, and I think this post on my trip to Penang is probably the most personal post I've written on Cake.
• What made this story a good one to share publicly on Cake?
Even though this is a slightly more personal story than I usually write, it's still quite informative, which is why I decided to write it. If I didn't have any insightful information to share from this trip I probably wouldn't have written it.
Also, there aren't many Malaysians on here, and I think many people have never even been to Malaysia, so I thought it would be quite interesting to share this story with people from others countries.
• How long did it take to create this?
It usually takes me a few days to prepare a long-form post as I write in my free time when I'm not playing games, watching YouTube/Netflix, or reading, and though I can't remember exactly how long it took me to write this particular post, I think it was definitely a few days, probably a few hours of work in total.
• What’s your typical writing process? (Outlines? Stream of consciousness first draft followed by proofread and editing?)
Once I get an interesting idea in my head, I tend to ask myself if I have enough information to grow this idea into a full post on Cake. There have been times when I had ideas for conversations on Cake but decided against writing a post because I didn't think I had enough to generate an interesting discussion.
Once I decide I do have enough to start a conversation then I just start writing. I don't really bother with drafts, I just write from my head. Once I start writing then I just see where my ideas take me and let the words flow naturally. I find this works best for me. If I have a draft or a skeleton to follow then I might end up forcing my writing into a certain direction, which could lead to a more disjointed flow of information and ideas, which I don't like. For me, any form of writing must be smooth and ideas must flow naturally from one point to another.
I take this same approach to my academic writing. I'm currently writing a review paper for publication in an academic journal, and when I started I had no idea what I would be writing about. I mean, I had a title, but that was it. Then I just started writing, and as I was writing (also reading other scientific publications for reference) I got more and more ideas on how to grow the paper into what it is now - about 7500 words.
• What specific advice do you have for prospective creators? (How to craft a title? How do you decide on a story? Is a photo or image required?)
As Nike says, "Just do it". The best way to learn is to do. I've been writing for years, possibly more than 10 as I started blogging in my early 20s, and I feel like I'm much better now than I was 10 years ago. Everyone has their own creative process, and so the best way to figure it out is to create, and create often. Eventually you'll figure out what works best for you.
As for the prompted questions, titles should be perfectly balanced between clickbait and informative. They should be "clickbait" in a sense that you want people to be curious as to what you wrote about, but should also be informative enough so people can know from the title if the content would interest them or not. Lean too much either way and you could lose engagement.
Deciding a story, I think I've explained earlier how I decide what to write and what not to write. And as for photos, I've also shared my thoughts in this older post from over a year ago.
Hope my insights were helpful to everyone here.