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Writing Advice Boiled down into One-Sentence Harsh Truths

by | Aug 30, 2020 | Writing

Writing advice is too complicated.

You need a degree to decode common writing concepts properly — like “prose” and “SEO.” Screw that.

I have racked up more than 100M views on my writing over the last six years. I didn’t study beautiful English essays or date Hemmingway’s mother.

If I was giving writing advice to my twenty-something writer self — that was young, dumb, and full of rum — here’s what I’d tell myself.

  1. Quit trying to be remarkable. Don’t try to be radically different or invent a brand new style. All writers are saying basically the same thing with 1% unique information. Your story and experience is the differentiator.
  2. Complaining about people copying or imitating your work is B.S. If you write on the internet then this is going to happen. See it as a compliment not an insult.
  3. Stop romanticizing over releasing your story into the world. Maybe the headline isn’t perfect. Maybe there is a spelling error you missed. Whatever story you think is brilliant will probably flop. If you could predict viral content then you’d be Tim Ferriss’ writing assistant already.
  4. Hit publish and move on, quickly.
  5. Most stories will go nowhere. That’s why the process of writing trumps any one story you write and think is remarkable and life-changing. It’s not.
  6. The audience is bat shit crazy. Love em for it. They will like weird stuff and highlight sentences you nearly deleted in your original draft.
  7. The level of vulnerability you use determines how many readers you help.
  8. Being useful is a massively underestimated way to write.
  9. Take a break from writing or you could end up single. Your partner needs you to be there for them.
  10. Publications have the right to reject your work. Let them.
  11. Change up your style often. Writing the same listicle garbage over and over, full of stoic quotes you don’t understand, won’t get you anywhere. Switch between fiction, non-fiction, essays, short pieces, long pieces and as many different styles as you can.
  12. Formatting is the hidden key for inspiration. The way you format helps you write. If your stories all sound the same then format like an out of control Kardashian fan who spotted Kim with Kanye.
  13. Your writing from one year ago will be embarrassing.
  14. Your writing from five years ago will make you vomit (as it should).
  15. TL;DR. Strip away the excess. Readers haven’t got time to read your complicated metaphors and see you bask in your own ego.
  16. Writing is a workout.
  17. Disconnect from the result. Write because you want to write — not because a fantasy influencer told you too.
  18. Fame is a terrible nightmare — just ask Tim Ferriss or James Altucher. Do you really want to be a famous writer who can no longer go to the supermarket without losing an eye to a selfie pole?
  19. Without flow you’re a tortoise. Consistent writing requires flow to stay on the right path and finish your story.
  20. A writing process separates amateur writers from pros. Copy another writer’s process and then make it your own until it morphs into something unique.
  21. Break grammar rules whenever you feel like it.
  22. Let mistakes creep into your work. Mistakes show your beautiful human side that makes you relatable.
  23. Write stories that make readers say “I felt like that before, too.”
  24. Hit publish. Do it again. Repeat for five years and change your #life.
  25. Your writing future is not guaranteed. You could die tomorrow, so why not write today?

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