Writing Better

What does it mean to write better? Last month I said I wanted to write more, but didn’t specify that I wanted to write better, which I think is my true goal.

Writing more is one way to get there, but I answered a different question instead. I answered “how do I write more?” instead of “how do I write better?”

Writing better might mean writing faster, more effectively, more persuasively, or even more clearly. Writing more is probably just one of the ways to get there.

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to write more and write better:

  • I signed up for Ultraworking/The Work Gymto spend more time writing. This is how I produced my post on Overwatch, but it nearly melted my brain. I need to continue to train my deep work & writing muscles.
  • I have been reading a couple books on writing: Extreme Productivity (recommended by Sebastian) which really helped me break out brainstorming from outlining from writing from editing. I have also been reading Reading Like a Writer, as recommended by Venkatesh for becoming a better writer. It is helping me pay better attention to the things I read and how they are written. It’s interesting seeing how these two writing approaches differ, one more focused on fiction/language and descriptive writing vs. more focused essay-based non-fiction pieces. I am still learning how to reconcile the two ways of writing.
  • This post on Advanced tips for writers has been instrumental in thinking about writing. I have been revisiting it regularly as I think about my own writing. Rewriting is the most important part of writing and definitely my weakest part. I find I am this way in other things: I don’t taste my cooking as I go, I hate viewing past tapes of me speaking, and I don’t like reading over my own writing. It’s something I need to get over but it’s painful. 
  • I am trying to constrain myself when possible. At Versett, we write memos with soft-caps of ~500 words that we share with the team. This constraint forces me to articulate my ideas and thoughts in a much more concise manner. Ironically, my recent blog posts are far too long by comparison.
  • I am also trying to tweet more, after reading this Against Waldenponding post and realizing it doesn’t make sense to simply shrink away from Waldenponding.

Other than writing more often, which I struggle with as I usually don’t have clear topics, are there any other tips that enable you to think about writing better?

Leave a Reply