Writing is a means to clarify thought and a extract meaning, I.e thinking. It is something I am hoping to have a lifelong practice of doing. To do this I will be approaching it systematically. The goal for me is to write though through and researched essays as opposed to short form. Short form does not give me pleasure as it doesn’t really think deeply, nor is it researched and most of the time it is a stream of conscious as opposed to critical thinking that expresses thought.
One of the ways I am hoping to do this is via a pretty strict routine where I will develop my writing like I develop a piece of software. This will cut down on when I release something but it will hopefully allow me to really think through a problem and posit it as an actual problem before releasing it.
This will have a few benefits. It will allow me to focus really hard on a problem for a while. It will allow me to ask the questions that I am seeking. It will allow me to really think through a piece before I publish it.
- Pose a Question that you want to answer. If a question isn’t compelling it may not make sense to move forward with it as you are just adding fluff to the world as opposed to things that have substance. Make this question itself a single page narrative on why this question is essential to answer.
- Find books and media on the subject. Find the expert in the field. Find people you should talk to about the subject as it pertains to your Question.
- Go through the books and media and seek answers to your Question. Start outlining and create a structure.
- Get feedback on this outline. What are you missing? What do we need to cover that we are not covering? Update the outline until we are there.
- Write an initial rough draft with citations.
- Copy edit it for style.
- Does it lead with a story?
- Is it too serious?
- Does it have a picture to go with the story? Does it have other graphics?
- What is it conveying?
- Does it cite research?
- Does it have the appropriate link?
- Is it clear and even if it is technical is it simple to understand? Surprisingly even the technical stuff isn’t understood by 80% of my desired market segment.
- Does it tell a story instead of stating facts?
Repeat this list three times.
- Make sure the examples and metaphors make sense and aren’t clichés.
- Personalize the writing. You are writing for yourself. Make it clear and remove unnecessary words.
- Switch passive phrases to active.
- Define foreign phrases, scientific words, or jargon.
- Read it out loud
- Search for “ly” words and remove them.
- Remove unneeded words.
- Give it to another person to read it over.
- Spell check.
- Grammar check.
- Am I taking a stance? Does this bother me? Do I believe in what I am writing? Can I reference things which give credibility to my argument?
Make it Pretty
- Add links to other relevant posts I’ve written or external links.
- Check for broken links.
- Add a header image.
- Add images in the text to aid the content and which give the reader a break.
- Post it on Twitter.
- Post it on Facebook
- Post it on Relevant Locations
On Writing Well
Need to simplify writing.
Don't clutter things. No need for a lot of extra words.
Style should be you writing for yourself. You are who you are primarily writing for. Only yourself.
Ask yourself some basic questions before you start. For example: “In what capacity am I going to address the reader?” (Reporter? Provider of information? Average man or woman?) “What pronoun and tense am I going to use?” “What style?” (Impersonal reportorial? Personal but formal? Personal and casual?) “What attitude am I going to take toward the material?” (Involved? Detaced? Judgemental? Ironic? Amused?) “How much do I want to cover?” “What one point do I want to make?"
Choose an overall unity in how you write.
This should not jump between styles. Have a consistent story.
If writing nonfiction leave one idea behind that you give the reader awe the