Writing is hard. This advice is easy.

Writing is hard. This advice is easy.

Writing a dissertation is hard. Writing an email is hard. Heck, writing this paragraph was hard.

Writing has always been just plain hard. So here are three things to keep in mind that will make it a lot easier.

  1. Have a goal. Are you trying to persuade someone? Teach someone? Inspire someone? Jot down precisely what you need to accomplish—in one sentence. Writing well is tough when you know what you want to say. It’s impossible when you don’t.
  2. Write like you talk. Don’t try to sound smart. Don’t use long words when a short word will do. Don’t use long sentences if they aren’t necessary. Talk your words down on paper—quickly, continuously, without self-criticism.
  3. Edit ruthlessly. Editing is what makes ordinary writing great. Read what you wrote out loud. Fix the parts that don’t sound right to your ear. Above all keep asking, “Is this clear?” Go through it five times. Ten times if it’s something important. Keep tightening, polishing, improving.

Writing isn’t easy. But it’s something that anyone—not just “writers”—can do.

Keep these three things in mind, and I’m betting your next writing project is a whole lot easier. Maybe even fun. How nice would that be?

Let me know if you think writing is hard, and why. Leave a comment below.

 

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