Last Updated on November 17, 2021
I like to write things. I don’t find it very easy, but I find it to be valuable. Sitting down is really the hardest part.
Why I write
I think writing is a crucial practical skill. Writing helps you think more clearly. Writing helps you be more precise with ideas. Writing creates something more permanent.
I also think writing can be useful as an emotional outlet. It helps me stave off the nilhilistic nihilism.
What and where I write
I’ve historically done more of my writing direct to my Medium blog. I write about business and technology, and also management and leadership. Some of my popular posts are about running good meetings, the importance of business writing, and giving feedback.
I write a semi regular newsletter about mental models. I cover mental models from many different core disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. My favorite issues so far have been The Fundamental Attribution Error, Confabulation, Satisficing, and Entropy.
Reading about writing
I was recently asked about how to get into writing. I suggested reading a lot – reading good writing is the way I improve my own writing.
I also love these three books.
I find myself rereading The War of Art about every other year.
There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.The War of Art
2. Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is wonderful.
E. L. Doctorow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.Bird by Bird
On Writing Well is more technical and a harder read that the previous two I recommended, but it is also really helpful.
Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it. Use its energy to keep yourself going.On Writing Well
Don’t take it too seriously
Also my advice – don’t take yourself and your writing too serioulsy.
I also like what Steve Jobs told the Stanford grads:
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.Steve Jobs