Writing

Writing and Thinking

  • There is a relationship between the reader and the writer1.
  • Writing is a method for building a network and being “micro” famous for introverts2.
  • The Writing Well3 handbook by Julian Shapiro
  • It is important to find your voice in writing, so that your writing is equivalent to when you talk4.
  • Focus on writing more frequently but less length, this helps break out of the procrastination loop with a paralyzing focus on quality5,6
  • Journaling
  • Blogging
  • Technical Writing

Explanatory Writing

  • Use concrete examples to explain things4

Basic Structure4

  1. Explaining what they’ll explain and how they’ll explain it
  2. Explaining it
  3. Summarising what they’ve just explained

Writing Confidently

Avoid weasel words and couching your statements. Rarely does this actually give you the safety you want. “In my opinion, the rocket will go fast”. We understand that it is your opinion, simply state, “The rocket will go fast”. This is especially true when writing to your superiors / bosses. There is a desire to be “safe” and not tell them what to do. if you are worried about this, present the facts as you see them, then offer your opinion on course of action. If you are not certain about a something, decide if you want to be saying it. If you do, find support. If you can’t find support, cite that, or reconsider your priors. Write as though you are writing to a group where you would feel safe, for example your peers or subordinates.

Discovery by Deletion

Discovery by deletion comes from Justin Mikolay, this is where you discover what you want to say by removing what you do not7. You hear this expressed as the idea that you should get all your thoughts out in the first draft and not try to compose at that point. Then, remove and edit incrementally.

Anti-patterns

Metadiscourse should be avoided

Books on Writing

General

  • The Art and Business of Online Writing8 - Nicolas Cole
  • On Writing9 - Stephen King
  • On Writing Well10 - William Zissner
  • The Sense of Style11 - Steven Pinker
  • The Art and Business of Online Writing8 - Nicolas Cole
  • Writing that works12 - Kenneth Roman & Joel Raphaelson
  • Clear and Simple as the Truth 1 - Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner

Creative

  • Show your Work - Austin Kleon
  • The Creative Habit - Twyla Twarp

References

1.
Thomas, F.-N. & Turner, M. Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose - Second Edition. (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2011).
2.
Hobart, B. Writing is Networking for Introverts. at https://byrnehobart.medium.com/writing-is-networking-for-introverts-5cac14ad4c77 (2019).
3.
4.
Costa, L. Explaining explaining: A quick guide on explanatory writing. at http://lucasfcosta.com/2021/09/30/explaining-in-writing.html (2021).
5.
Crittenden, M. Write 5x more but write 5x less. Mike crittenden at https://critter.blog/2020/10/02/write-5x-more-but-write-5x-less/ (2020).
6.
Chen, A. How to write more. at https://andrewchen.com/how-to-write-more/ (2024).
7.
Mikolay, J. How to Write Something Compelling. The mikolay letter Substack Newsletter at https://letter.substack.com/p/write-like-naval (2020).
8.
9.
10.
Zinsser, W. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. (Harper Perennial, New York, 2016).
11.
Pinker, S. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. (Penguin Books, New York, New York, 2015).
12.
Roman, K. & Raphaelson, J. Writing That Works; How to Communicate Effectively In Business. (Collins Reference, 2000).