How to Write Usefully
Telling people something novel doesn't always mean surprising them. It could mean telling them something they knew unconsciously but were unable to put into words. In fact, those insights are often more valuable because they are more fundamental.
The way to get novelty is to write about topics you've thought about a lot. Anything you notice that surprises you will probably also surprise many readers. If you don't learn anything from writing an essay, don't publish it.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
An essay exists at multiple levels:
A good essay works at every one of those levels simultaneously.
Writing begins with these 3 steps:
Just like essays, speeches have three main sections:
However, unlike essays, speeches must be written to be heard as opposed to read. It should contain some color, drama or humor.
The clearest thinkers tend to be those that draw from multiple disciplines.
Develop the habit of reading and eliminate/reduce the things that might stop you from doing that (e.g. mindless TV watching or checking social media constantly).
Confusing models with reality is a cardinal sin of clear thinking.
If you believe too strongly in your models of the world, you can start to ignore evidence that your model is wrong.
The basic idea is that when you reward people for a particular measure — clicks, dollars, likes, etc. — people will find a way to “game” the system.
For example: If journalism is fueled by clicks, journalists are going to write sensationalist clickbait.