I love writing. It is incredibly empowering. The sheer fact that I can actually put my thoughts onto paper in a way that other people can read and understand is amazing.
Paul Graham wrote a wonderful article titled Write like you talk and I agree with it wholeheartedly. In my opinion these are the main pillars on which I try to build my writing skills upon.
If I don't believe in what I am saying, it is waste of both mine and the person's reading my work time. If I believe in what idea or message or thought that it is I am trying to say, writing becomes second instinct and it is much easier to translate what is in my head onto paper. Being honest with yourself may sometimes be difficult but journaling often helps in this regard.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
I try to have my writing be as transparent as possible for the person reading it. If something can be said simply, it is best to say it, simply.
Read other people's work. Read books. Both fiction and non fiction, and get a taste to how different styles of writing can exist and how they can be used effectively.
Always be conscious when I am writing something and try to focus on the message and remove as much fluff as possible. Words like 'really' have no place in writing as they only undermine what you said before.
Be aware of pacing between words and sentences. The sentences ideally should flow into one another. Breaks in form of commas and full steps are important. As they allow for the reader to take a break and absorb the point that you tried to deliver.
Replace words like
really like with
love or other more appropriate words that save space writing and are more relevant to what I am trying to say.
I start writing all my articles by jotting down notes as dashed points below the title. Here is how that looks:
I then start writing the article and try to touch on one or all of these points as I write the article. I add/remove points as I write the article.
Short focused post is easier to both read & write.
Focus on making a single point.
If your post needs a table of contents, it's probably too large in scope.
Find a format that works for you. Experiment, ask for feedback & iterate.
A few, clear examples go a long way.
Headings, code samples and images can provide visual "anchor points".
Presentation guides perception.
You don't have to be an expert, just don't pretend to be.
Topics are everywhere - just look at the problems you're solving every day.
Share learnings & experiences instead of "selling" things. (Don't say
I hope I convinced you to use ... Just share what you want to share and let the readers decide for themselves.)
quite a few
have made (use made)
I try to take notice of things I like when reading. The main issue I find that authors make is writing to impress. Writing as everything else in life has to be and feel genuine.
There is no point in trying to impress someone with flashy words. Focus on the message you want to deliver and do it succinctly and with impact. Most readers remember the start and end of the articles most.
Having 0 frictions in starting to write & publishing is incredibly empowering too. Linus's site is great inspiration for that. Alongside many of the wikis people have made and published.
Quick notes interlinked are amazing. But when combined with proper researched and well done articles such as ones by Bartosz Ciechanowski backed by visualizations and data. It's even more incredible.
I personally have been focusing on growing this wiki for way too long, I want to write more long term pieces, properly researched and well done. Web canvas is so powerful in the kinds of stories you can tell. Or maybe make more photographical stories like ones seen on Exposure.
Most adverbs are superfluous. Most cases where you say "generally" or "usually" you're undermining your point and the use of "very", "extremely", etc. are hyperbolic and breathless and make it easier to regard what you're writing as unserious.
Examine every word: a surprising number don’t serve any purpose.
I just set aside about an hour a day, during my peak alertness time (around 11-2) during which I write. I have an outline of a book I want to write, and I just pick a section and start going (whatever I feel like that particular day). I write until the words don't flow any more. One thing that helped me a lot an idea I learned in high school of writing a shitty first draft -- almost stream of consciousness, without caring about quality, then going back to clean up later.
Writing with rhythm: This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
Learnup - Service to publish books.
Awesome book authoring - Collection of awesome resources for technical book authors.
Write.as - Minimalist, privacy-focused, writing and publishing platform.
Production Guide - Practical explanation of formatting and style conventions that should be consistent across Guides.
Left - Distractionless Writing Tool.
Fuzzy - Spell checking and fuzzy search suggestion written in Go.
E-Prime - Variant of English in which one avoids the use of the word ‘is’ and all its conjugations.
Fluently - Online text editor with a multilingual translator, dictionary, and thesaurus built-in.
Reading Supply - Writing and discussion platform.
Google Journalist Studio - Collection of tools to empower journalists to do their work more efficiently, creatively, and securely.
On Deck Writer Fellowship - Where the best writers go to grow their audience and improve their craft.
Telescopic Text - Experimental tool for creating expanding texts.
Grammarly - Free writing app to make their online writing clear and effective.
Prose for Programmers Book - Book aimed at helping software developers write better prose.
Pocket Technical Writing List - Small but formidable list of technical writing resources for software developers.
Compound Writing - Community-Powered Writing Workflow.