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Legendary Technologist And Essayist Paul Graham On Walking Into Ideas, The Test Of Good Writing, And Becoming A Connoisseur Of Bad Writing - Writing Routines

Evaluating criteria

The goal of an essay is to surprise the reader. If you write about a topic you understand reasonably well, and you're able to discover things you didn't consciously realize when you started writing, you have something worth saying.

Let your friends read your work. They'll sometimes find significant problems.

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Legendary Technologist And Essayist Paul Graham On Walking Into Ideas, The Test Of Good Writing, And Becoming A Connoisseur Of Bad Writing - Writing Routines

Legendary Technologist And Essayist Paul Graham On Walking Into Ideas, The Test Of Good Writing, And Becoming A Connoisseur Of Bad Writing - Writing Routines

https://www.writingroutines.com/paul-graham-interview/

writingroutines.com

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Key Ideas

Writer's block

Not knowing what to write about is more a problem when writing stories, but essay writing is basically thinking out loud.

When writers' block does strike, pacing around or going out for a walk helps.

Evaluating criteria

The goal of an essay is to surprise the reader. If you write about a topic you understand reasonably well, and you're able to discover things you didn't consciously realize when you started writing, you have something worth saying.

Let your friends read your work. They'll sometimes find significant problems.

Common traits

Great entrepreneurs and great writers have this in common: They notice anomalies that other people skip over.

Advice to aspiring writers

Write. You have to practice to get better. If nothing else, write a journal.

Become a connoisseur of bad writing. When you spot something that seems bad, try to figure out why. Once you become good at finding mistakes, you'll be less likely to make them.

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Set small, easy to accomplish goals and build upon it. Focus not on the end result, but on the process. 

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