The Paradox of Writing: Great writing looks effortless. But because the ideas are so clear, casual readers don’t appreciate how much time it took to refine them.
**“Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up. But the writing is a way of not allowing those things to destroy you.” **— John Edgar Wideman
Folders are dead (…this is next)
Anne-Laure Le Cunff is the founder of Ness Labs, an Ex-Google employee, and has a Neuroscience Ph.D. Here’s how Anne-Laure’s Second Brain combines mindful productivity with digital notetaking tools such as Roam Research and Google Suite.
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Dickie Bush writing process:
My writing process:
I start with 3 questions at the top:
• What problem am I solving? • What are the benefits of solving it? • What emotion am I generating?
From these questions, I create: • At least 5 headlines • The bullet point summary
Then I fill in the details.
Dickie Bush on writing for business
Open with short paragraphs and short sentences.
Crack open the Wall Street Journal and read the top three stories.
I bet they all start with one or two sentences.
The goal of your first sentence: get the reader to read your second sentence.
NEVER open with a Wall of Text.
Be specific. Your biggest writing weakness: using generalities. Don’t make the reader guess. “Our campaign was a great success and we came in under budget” ↓ “We increased click-through rates by 21% while spending 19% less than expected.”
David Perell on Write while you read
Your notes should be lightweight enough to write them consistently, but evergreen enough to stay relevant. Your teacher was right when she told you to take notes on what you read and put the ideas into your own words. Digital note-taking makes your reading time more productive by making your thoughts searchable. Unfortunately, apps like Kindle, Pocket, and Instapaper make highlighting too easy and don’t encourage people to write about what they’re consuming. Too many readers end up with a long list of highlights they never actually return to.
David Perell on Writing
- Create an FAQ page for the key ideas in your field (here’s a good example from Laura Deming).
- Write a mini-biography of somebody who interests you, similar to what I did with Peter Thiel.
- Study the mechanics of an adjacent field and show how they could apply to your own. This is a good way to find entrepreneurial opportunities too. For example, Marc Andreessen studied the Creative Artists Agency and applied the ideas to venture capital.
- Summarize an academic paper and explain the concepts in simple language (here’s an example from Eli Dourado, who writes about key papers in economics).