My Top 5 Writing Tips

The top 5 tips that have improved my writing tremendously.

1) Use short sentences

It's easier to understand what you're trying to say when you use short sentences. For both yourself, and the reader. Short sentences make it easy to understand the properties of the sentence. Imagine your sentences are their own individual. They each have something to say. They contain within them one atomic idea. It’s as if they’re stepping up to a stage, saying their piece, and then exiting stage left. Try this out in your own writing.

Where I got this from: Several Short Sentences About Writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg

2) Compress your ideas

As a writer, you’re trying to communicate your specific knowledge and understanding of information to the reader. You're not simply regurgitating the information in the original form you found it. Rather, you are presenting it to the reader in a form that you have worked to compress and make more salient. Ideas and information should be presented as clearly and concisely as possible.

Where I got this from: Expression is Compression, by David Perell

3) Provide original detail

"Life is so rich, if you write down the real details of the way things were and are, you hardly need anything else." - Natalie Goldberg

Using original detail in your writing provides authenticity and groundedness. It makes your writing more believable. Through sights, sounds, and smells, original detail transports the reader to the setting that you experienced and are now writing about. Pay attention to the original details of your life. There’s a lot there.

Where I got this from: Writing Down The Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

4) Don’t say anything that’s not worth hearing

Do want your writing to be useful to someone? Then say only the things worth hearing. Cut the noise. Focus on the signal. What is the one thing you want someone to come away with after having read your writing? Say that thing, make it clear, and then get out of the way. This may sound like it runs counter to providing original detail, but it doesn’t, because original detail is worth hearing. It’s what sets your writing apart from everyone else’s.

Where I got this: How to Write Usefully, by Paul Graham

5) Writing is linear and sequential

If you want to advance your thinking and that of others, on any given topic, focus on writing in a logical, linear, and sequential manner. Take the reader from point A to point Z—and make sure you stop at every other letter along the way. Just like thinking well is about developing the next logical thought, writing well is about developing the next logical sentence. Writing short sentences will help you do this as well.

Where I got this: On Writing Well, by William Zinsser