3Ts of Writing

The Tips, Tricks and Techniques in 50 sentences based on writing 200k+ words in the past 365 days.

  1. A blank sheet is scary 👻 The first word to write is "this" word and things will start flowing. "This" is a powerful word because it mobilises thought. eg: This piece is about writing tips for non-fiction internet writers.
  2. There are three parts to writing. There is writing, there is editing and there is publishing. Writing is all about putting down 100 crappy words in a blank slate and start thinking from there. Editing is where the crafting begins. Generally the grammar nazi in us wakes up, the perfectionist in us holds us back and more. Publishing is all about having the courage to press that button and share the idea to the whole world.
  3. Segregate writing time, editing time and publishing time. Don't mix them. Don't try to do all of them at once. Each activity kindles different parts of our brains.
  4. Write with an eraser. The thumb rule is to say the same thing in 50% less words. Simplify Simplify Simplify.
  5. Quantity >> Quality. How often you write determines how well you write.
  6. Writing never ends like how designing never ends. You need to end the writing with publishing. The act of publishing does something to us internally. It is powerful. Later you can edit this published version and make it better again.
  7. You get better at writing by writing. There are no shortcuts. Put down the words. Stitch them together. Sequence them. Play around with the order. Arrange them. Ship them. Do this everyday.
  8. You write to think. Not the other way. When pen hits the paper, you start thinking. You write to think and not think to write.
  9. A bad first draft is a conduit to a better second draft. Without a bad first draft there is no second better draft.
  10. Writer's block is a myth. It is the perfectionist inside us judging us constantly. Don't fall a prey.
  11. When you write, focus on the idea. Writing helps to express ideas using words.
  12. Writing objective for the first line is to make the reader read the second line. Keep going.
  13. You need to shoot many times to see which one hits the bulls eye. You will never have the first dart hitting the bull's eye 100% of the time.
  14. People care about lessons. People care less about happenings that taught you the lesson. Give them what they want.
  15. Make nouns and verbs and have some fun. Sollaboration is a coined word for solo-collaboration. Xperian is a coined word for People who care about experiences (like a Spartan, an Xperian).
  16. Your writing needs more reading. The more the input via reading, the processing of thoughts get better. Naturally the output gets better.
  17. Write for yourself and see if that idea makes sense to you (for you are your biggest critic). Be selfish. Other's will read as a side effect when the idea is expressed well.
  18. Human beings love curious and novel things. Make your writing interesting for your readers.
  19. To get the greatest ROI from your writing, stop calculating ROI from each word.
  20. Focus on the process and not the product. If the process is enjoyed, you will also enjoy the product.
  21. Use your social media as your creative gym. You have a lot of trainers there who give you feedback instantly.
  22. Courage >> Content. Having courage to say something is more important than the content itself.
  23. After the first draft everything from there goes onwards and upwards only.
  24. Readers are nice and warm if you are authentic. They care less about your grammar and typos. Your ideas matter.
  25. Writing is a meta skill. Meta skills make you better in every dimension.
  26. Your writing is not meant for everyone. A few will resonate and many won't and that is ok.
  27. Never use a long word when a short word will do. Never use a complex word when a simple word will do.
  28. We are a bunch of stories. We want more of them. Write more stories.
  29. Condense what you want to write into one tweet before you start writing the piece. That is your core idea.
  30. Use a list to organise your flow of thoughts.
  31. Use analogy and metaphors to explain complex ideas. Make use of power of positive transfer of knowledge and ride on it. We all know what is red green and amber from traffic lights, you don't have to explain again.
  32. Don't plan your writing. Write and then plan how to express. Planning will keep you stuck.
  33. Show when you can. Don't tell. Use comparisons to show, describe the whole and the part pops out and show the sequence. The readers will connect the dots.
  34. When you write ask a ton of questions to yourself. Your answers will be the fuel to creative writing.
  35. Focus now and write. Diffuse later and edit. Don't write and edit together.
  36. There are teachers everywhere. Your ideas might pop anytime. So keep a notebook or notes app handy to capture the ideas. Develop them later.
  37. Pen/Keyboard is truly mightier than sword. Use it responsibly.
  38. Stick to your POV (Point of View). A strong stance (even a controversial stance) helps your reader understand you better. They might not agree but they will appreciate your POV.
  39. When writing becomes a habit, you will think less about writing and you will actually write more.
  40. Proof read your piece. Before publishing give it three days. All three days read it loud and see if you can do something better. Tie the knots, erase the words, make it simple, cut down sentences etc.
  41. Stick to one core idea. Use many auxiliary ideas to amplify your storytelling but your story is only one core idea.
  42. The only person who should give you permission to write is YOU. No one else.
  43. When you write with rhythm it reads great. Try and see if you can play with words and find the right ones that rhymes or sounds great. eg: brick & mortar, click & order, just rhymes well.
  44. Treat sentences like threads. Tie them beautifully. This gives a logical flow to your writing.
  45. Writing needs a writer's mindset and that includes patience, focus, diffusion, grit and above all conviction.
  46. Simplicity is complicated. Simple style needs hard thinking and a lot of hard doing.
  47. Your writing is your mirror. It shows how you think.
  48. Writing is a sport. It has rules. To play well you must know the rules.
  49. Imitation is the best way to learn a skill. Choose your inspirations and just imitate them. Writing is no exception.
  50. Write about what interests you. You will write more and write better.

Every craft is a rabbit hole. To hone the craft you must obsess over details. Over a period of time, I learned these tips and techniques by writing and re-writing many pieces. Many are not even published to the world. The reason being, English is not my primary language. I still think in Tamil and speak in English. I still count in my mother tongue. It is not natural for me to converse in English. So writing in English on Internet to the vast wide world was the scariest thing to do and I have ever done.

It took me 1000 days of writing and 300K+ words  to get over the fear about my style, taste, voice, confidence and other elements of writing. Till date I am my harsh critique. I am still learning how to write better. I realised there is no end to this process. Every piece will be a fWIP (forever work in progress).

One last things...

The core of writing is the idea. Obsess over the idea, the rest will fall in place. I hope these tips and techniques gives you a quick booster to better your writing.

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