How to be a better writer: A few lessons on writing

In January, I read five books on writing. Like my blog post on money truths, I share a few things I learned while reading these books. Here they are:

  • You have to write. A lot. Constantly. Daily would be the optimum.
  • Most of what you write will suck. A lot at first, less after a while. But it will never not suck. You have to get used to it. (Which is you write daily. If you write so much, you have to get lucky from time to time.)
  • You get to a good piece of content by editing. Editing so much. Editing is what makes a writer. A written piece of content only starts to be something in the editing process. To quote Verlyn Klinkenborg: "Most of the sentences you make will need to be killed. The rest will need to be fixed."

For some more practical lessons:

  • Write the first draft, without interruption, without looking at what you wrote, just write write write. Don't change anything while writing the first time. Let it flow.
  • Let the piece rest for a few days before you edit the living shit out of it. Again, don't edit while you write, and don't edit immediately.
  • Edit by removing. Revise toward brevity. Writing long sentences is easy. Writing clear, concise, short sentences is hard. Opt for hard!
  • Write slow (by hand?) if you need to think deeply during the writing process. Write fast (by keyboard?) if you just want to vomit all over the paper (or screen). Speed is a tool in your writer's kit.
  • Have a growing list of ideas, and check this list daily to figure out what to write about.

I have previously published another blog post on being a better writer. I wrote down quotes and lessons I regularly get back to. If you liked this post, you'd like that one, too.

How to write like you give a shit
Over the years I collected different pieces of advice and rules to help better my writing. I‘ll publish them here as a sort of reminder. Consider this to be my style guide. Maybe you find it helpful and learn something new.

Sources (Click this)

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
You are a Writer by Jeff Goins


💌
Did you like this post? Then you should know I have a newsletter called the Letters of Clio.

It's weekly, published on Thursdays, sent to your inbox with love, sweat, sometimes blood, and a lot of self-irony. Click here to sign up.

Photo by Luke Lung / Unsplash