When you write you complete your ideas. If you don’t write at all you don’t even realize you have incomplete ideas. You have an illusion that all of your ideas are complete. –fromPaul GrahamWriters recognize in much higher resolution that there is a difference in how they think about certain subjects before and after writing. Non-writers don’t even realize this delta existsPutting Ideas into words
Use the first word that comes to your mind – Stephen King
This one feels important because every word in the sentence can be substituted with any other. I could have written: this one feels meaningful, significant, crucial, vital, consequential, pivotal, etc. Each of these words has a different meaning network, connects to slightly different contexts. An animal inside you does a roughly good job picking the right words. And when writing, it needs to pick a couple of words every second. If you don’t trust the first word that comes to mind, you can only overthink it and become a victim of distortions, rationalizations, and false aspirations.
Learn how to ruthlessly edit out
When I write I focus on not stopping writing. What helps me to do it well is a writing warm-up. I heard this from
He said that the writing process is very hard for most writers. And he admitted that it can be also very painful for him. He is a pro writer, an editor of Esquire, a publisher of many widely read books.
The writing warm-up is simply putting a timer on (I do it from 10–60 min) with the only goal of not stopping writing. During this time I usually process emotions, speculate on things, sketch first drafts, or describe how the present moment feels. I think what happens during this time is my mind slowly getting used to the mode of writing – a process of thoughts being translated into words. Maybe the transitory period is needed as writing has a peculiar rhythm. It needs to tap into some specific mind abilities. (People may need to slow down, be more precise with the words, browse words for more precise ones etc.)
I highly recommend it. It feels a lot less effortful to write later on. I actually took this idea further. Probably a majority of writers struggle with writer’s block. I want all my writing to be as dynamic as describing an idea to a friend. I don't want to overthink how to describe a thing. I want just to keep trying. I also use this method when editing. Whenever I think a sentence or paragraph is off I hit enter and mark it with "\" and then rewrite it again and again until it feels right.
AI and Writing Predictions
I expect that large language models will get better, but that it will probably be a long time before they replace "writers." However, long before they do, they will probably change the nature of writerly employment. Here are some predictions about how that might shake out.
The key to great writing is ordinary words