How I Name Things

I’m obsessed with finding the perfect name for projects. The name should be short, memorable, communicative, and flexible. But, I’m always afraid the idea could be a tiny bit better with a little more research.

Where to Start?

When I started creating the Get Afraid Journal I knew I had to come up with an additional tagline and book subtitle. But what subtitle is the best? I had to ask myself some obvious questions.

Get Afraid Journal Try It for the Story Typewriter Desk
Coming soon!

What does my product provide?
Silly and offbeat things to try. Like, hugging trees or leaving your artwork outside.

What’s the book about?
Helping readers gain confidence and expand their comfort zone.

Who’s it for?
People who feel stuck, anxious or bored.

Do I want a slogan?

Who’s the target audience?
People looking for more joy, satisfaction and confidence.

What values do I want to convey?
Less serious self-help, more fun experiments.

After answering a few of these questions, I usually have a pretty good sense of what I’m looking for.

Jotting Down a Bunch of Ideas

The next step is to start a Google Doc and drop potential names into a huge list.

Then, I’ll bravely wade into the world of synonyms and antonyms.

Using a Thesaurus for Branding and Taglines

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to call the activities in the Get Afraid Journal challenges, tasks or prompts.

Enter the Thesaurus

  • Power Thesaurus
    I love this tool! You can sort words by rating, a-z, z-a, short first or long first.
  • OneLook Thesaurus
    OneLook ranks by relevance and it’s nice to be able to cycle through tabs for verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns.
  • Moby Thesaurus
    “The Moby Thesaurus is a weird and wonderful reference full of unusual and illuminating word relationships.”
  • WordHippo
    I’m a fan of WordHippo, because their results feel more fun and playful.

I decided to go with the word “challenges”, because it encompasses activities, tasks and prompts.

Using a Rhyming Dictionary for Taglines

Another helpful tool when naming things and doing copywriting is a rhyming dictionary.

Searching Domain Registrars

Once I’ve found a couple of names I really love, I’ll start searching domain registrars to see what’s available. It’s important to have your brand in the url of your website.

Testing Potential Brand Names

I like to try out potential names on everyone. I’ve even run Facebook Polls to the annoyance of everyone I’m friends with.

Later in the process of creating the Get Afraid Journal I started to second-guess the word “Journal“. I brainstormed alternatives. “What do you think of Get Afraid Dispatch? Get Afraid Notebook? Get Afraid Adventures?

It’s important to note how the book title sounds aloud and how it sounds when you read it. Get Afraid Guide looks great as text, but it sounds super weird aloud. I’ve even had trouble yelling out the current title in bars, “iT’s CalLeD tHe GET aFraiD jOurNAl!!!!”




“Nevermind! They’re little challenges to expand your comfort zone!”

“Oh! Ok! Cool! Where can I get one?”

Choosing a Brand Name

After all the research and pitches and tweaks, I usually settle into one of the earliest brand ideas.

Ultimately, the Get Afraid Journal is about taking action and reflecting on your adventures. The word “Journal” is a perfect fit for this project.

The book’s subtitle is trickier, because it should spell out what the book is about in plain terms. One of my earliest drafts was, “Challenges and creative prompts to expand your comfort zone.” But who walks around thinking, “I need to expand my comfort zone!”? I think people want to feel more brave or confident.

Instead of comfort zone alone, I focused on fun, offbeat, and adventurous.

The latest subtitle for my upcoming book is,

Get Afraid Journal. Try It for the Story – Comfort zone challenges to spark creativity and inspire adventure.

But who knows? I’ll probably change it again before the book comes out.

Get Afraid Journal Is Coming for You

Join the Get Afraid Today newsletter for a reminder on launch day and get a printable preview with 11 challenges.

Get one before it gets you.

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