Habits, Templates, and Keynotes

Turn Writing into a Habit

The best way to get better at conveying your ideas in writing is to do that as much as possible.

Don’t write just when you have an idea you wish to share with the world. Capture your thoughts, your dilemmas, and things you observe and experience in writing. Whether you use your writings as a journal or not, the mere act of slowing down to phrase your thoughts textually will make you a better writer.

Don’t Use Templates

Templates aim to capture structures and best practices that seem to work. But there are at least two inherent problems with using templates.

First, what works in one context might be far less effective (and sometimes even destructive) in another. Not every idea, every audience, and goal can benefit from the same selection of templates.

But beyond that, if you stick to a predefined template, your texts become expected and less engaging. Even the perfect template can work only so many times.

Experiment, learn what works in each context, and apply patterns rather than templates in your writing.

One Sentence Keynote

If you can’t phrase the core idea of your article, book, or talk in one simple sentence, refine it before you start writing.

The keynote of your text — the central idea — must be short, accurate, and simple to express (even if not to explain — this is, after all, why you write the text).

Refining the keynote of your text will help you focus your writing, choose the relevant bits, and make your text more effective.

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