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I Spent Three Months Collecting the Best Underrated Writing Tips on the Internet

by | Oct 25, 2021 | Writing

Writing advice normally makes me puke.

The focus is usually on a writing platform rather than writing itself. This leads innocent advice-givers to drift into the realm of fortune-telling.

These nuggets will light a fire in your belly and get you writing the best stuff of your life. Be warned: they’re not the typical cliches, like write shorter sentences. Nope. These are weapons of mass destruction.

“If you’re overthinking, write. If you’re underthinking, read.”

AlexAndBooks tweeted this. As writers we spend so much time thinking “what do I do next?” When your mind is full, dump your thoughts onto a page — especially if there’s something you can’t stop thinking about. When your mind is empty, fill it up with books.

Writers are salespeople. Sorry.

It’s called** best selling** author, not best-writing author — Robert Kiyosaki

The best writers lose. All the grammar ability means nothing. Throw your english degree in the bin. The writers who can package ideas into stories that sell the message win every time. Learn how to sell, not how to write.

Make free content. That’s the answer you’ve been searching for.

There is one common factor across the few millions of online creators who can make money from what they do: 90% of what they have to offer is free.

When I started blogging 2 years ago, I clearly outlined my strategy: first, make free content, and then convert some of that “free traffic” into paid customers, through downloadable resources and online courses. — Joseph Mavericks

If you seek to earn a living as a writer then follow the $0 strategy. Write as much content as you can for free without the paywall. Only put up a paywall between you and the reader when your bills stop getting paid. Short-term pain for long-term writing growth.

The need for rumpy pumpy on the first date kills potential romantic relationships. The same way paywalls kill writers’ dreams if used too soon.

On-chain writing is the future

Excited for on-chain writing.

Anytime anyone orders a copy, quotes it in a paid article, uses it in a paid book club, or monetizes it any way — authors receive a commission they set.

And otherwise, the writing will be free and open to the world.

Mirror.xyz makes this possible. — David Phelps

The old days of publications and ad models that screw writers are dead. Web 3.0 has built a new model for the writing business. It’s decentralized, democratic, and fair to writers. Learn about it.

Start with learning about Mirror.xyz

“No such thing as writer’s block (just insufficient research)”

Ryan Holiday slapped me across the face with this quote. It led me to buy the Roam Research app and prepare ideas before I sit down to write on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I even made a whole online course on this idea.

Sitting down with a blank page is the worst idea in the world. What I do is write headlines and a few dot points a couple of days in advance. I can always scratch what I’ve pre-prepared, but at least I have something more beautiful than a butt-ugly blank page.

Research determines quality writing.

Let a naughty thought sneak into your writing

One of the highest performing articles ever to be published on Medium is called “Five Signs of a Highly Intelligent Person.” The headline or subject matter has nothing to do with the article’s success. There is one sentence that made it a hit:

They [smart people] wear a mask during a pandemic.

This one naughty sentence generated 523 comments and made the story go mega-viral. If there’s a naughty thought you have while writing, that isn’t politically correct, dare yourself to write it. When you do you’ll stop people in their tracks and create a mountain of comments.

The purpose of writing isn’t to have people agree with you. It’s to make people think. Do that and you’ll be unstoppable as a writer.

The harsh truth no writer wants to hear

The platform is not the problem. It’s you. — Sinem Gunel

Datta girl. Sinem knocks it out of the park with this advice. When the quality of your writing goes down, the views go down. It’s not the platform’s fault. No social media app is constantly changing its algorithm every day to screw with your writing. Throw the tarot cards in the bin.

Focus on what you can control.

When views drop, increase quality, decrease excuses.

Edit like a murderer

Writing is 50% thinking, 5% typing, 45% deleting the bad parts.

Get to — and I cannot stress this enough — the point.

— Morgan Housel

Find the bad sentences and murder them so they die a horrible death. Find those adverbs and murder them too. Especially cut the throats of words like “really, potentially, and actually.” They’re weak as piss.

Loneliness is food for a writer’s soul

“How do I get traffic to my blog.” Or “how do I get buyers of my book.” or “How do I get people to follow me on Twitter.”

A lot of it is about loneliness. We sit in our house writing blog posts and then hit Publish. — James Altucher

The need for attention ruins your writing. Writers aren’t supposed to be famous. Loneliness and acting like introverts are hardcoded into our writer’s software. You can’t escape loneliness. Embrace it. That’s how your work gets seen — by sitting alone in a room with a laptop and punching the keyboard until you can write no more.

High-quality writing is an endangered species

People are vastly underestimating the demand for intelligent, high-quality writing on the Internet — David Perell

I get it all the time. How do I stand out? There’s so much writing online. Yep, there is … and most of it sucks. You’ve got to scroll for hours on some platforms to find one good article.

Work on the quality of your writing and most of the common problems will magically disappear, like the teeth the tooth fairy takes away when you’re a kid.

Writer’s block is a myth

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There’s simply a fear of bad writing. Do enough bad writing and some good writing is bound to show up. — Seth Godin

Sit down. Write a few bad sentences. Keep writing till it gets good.

My favorite writing hack is this: treat writing as a sport. Warm-up by writing a 250-word Quora answer or a one-sentence tweet. Once you get into writing, it takes over your brain and your fingers hit the keyboard.

Don’t under-research either. If you sit down with no pre-prepared ideas and zero research, you’re going to get your face ripped off. Write down ten headlines two days before. Use them when you sit down to write.

The online writing formula they don’t teach in literature degrees

How to build a mini traffic machine as a writer:

— Write one article every week (SEO)

— Repurpose it as a thread (social)

— Send it to your list (email)

— Post it in relevant communities (referrals)

Create once, distribute everywhere. — Andrea Bosoni

This sounds simple. There’s one big insight writers must tattoo on their faces: make the content you re-use contextual. Don’t go on LinkedIn and post a self-help quote without the words “work” or “career,” as an example.

“Never open with multi-sentence paragraphs. Ever.”

Alternating between single-sentence paragraphs and multi-sentence paragraphs is the fastest way to make your writing more accessible.

If the headline and the first sentence and the subheads all hook their attention, they start to read. — Nicolas Cole

I agree. Multi-sentence paragraphs and huge walls of text make readers click away in terror. Open with a grand idea distilled into one sentence. It forces you to focus rather than blabber on with a bunch of context, political correctness, apologies, and yogi hand-holding.

Personal stories that start with a killer opening line outperform everything

One of the best writers you can learn from is James Altucher. Repeatedly James shows us how one brain-busting first sentence followed by a personal story can hook you for 6–8 minutes without a problem.

These are James’ best stories to demonstrate:

  • How To Get People To Like You In 5 Seconds or Less
  • How to Be the Luckiest Person Alive, Again
  • How Minimalism Brought Me Freedom and Joy

Without personal stories your writing reads like a bunch of facts that belong in a scholarly journal at Oxford University. Too many facts and quotes put readers to sleep.

Personal stories glue human brains to sentence after sentence.

Light a fire inside before writing

Feel fire before you write. Or don’t do it.

I don’t write an article until I’m feeling it! I need to feel fire about what I’m saying because I’m trying to light that same fire in my readers. Until I feel that fire, I don’t hit publish. — Benjamin Hardy

Writers write snoozefests when we’re low on energy. Put yourself into a peak state before you write, or perhaps choose another day to write. The energy you have when you write bleeds onto the page. Bring your energy levels up with music or exercise before you dare talk to readers and take up their time.

My biggest writing hack

A fellow writer friend told me one skill I didn’t know I had. I expected them to say headlines, or subtitles, or images, or the choice of keywords, or promotion. Nope.

“Man, the angle you choose to write from is what makes you different.”

I never realized that. Many articles are snoozers because the angle the piece is written from is the same as 99 other articles on INC dot com. As an example, recently I wrote about astronauts going to space. The obvious angle was to talk about space and our wonderful blue planet … blah, blah, blah.

Instead, I chose the angle of what racism must be like in space. I found some quotes from astronauts who started to see humanity as one race rather than multiple. See what I mean?

Don’t pick the obvious angle to every story. Otherwise, you sound like a cliche writer that will drown in a sea of similar writing. No need to get fancy. Just choose a bizarre angle.

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