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How to Write

Michael Lopp:

Wait for time to pass and see if the bumping sound returns. Reread what you’ve written so far and find if it inspires you. Yes? Write as much as you can. No? Stop writing and wait for more bumping.

Repeat until it starts to feel done in your head. If it’s handwritten, type it into a computing device. When you are close to done, print it out on paper. Sit somewhere else with your favorite pen and edit your work harshly.

His title is “How to Write a Blog Post”, but I’d call it “How to Write”, full stop. When I’m serious about a piece, it always goes to paper at least once. I spent more time on my iPhone X review than anything I’ve written in years, and it went to paper twice. (Here’s a scan of my second printed draft, with handwritten revisions.) My thing is that I don’t use my favorite pen — which, of course, has black ink — but instead a pen with red ink. Editing is an angry, bloody act and therefore must be done in red.

There’s nothing magic about printing on paper and editing with a pen. To me it’s all about changing context, putting my brain in an at least slightly different mode. That’s why I love Lopp’s imperative to “Sit in a different place” — you need to see your own words in a different light.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018