Rules for writing, according to famous writers

“Most writers have their own special “rules for writing,” even if they don’t talk about them. A lot can be learned by reading about other authors’ approaches to writing.”

40 Writers’ “Rules for Writing” (Authors Publish)

A roundup of “rules for writing” from 40 authors.

Good writing is table stakes for the future of work. I’m not a great writer, but I’m trying to improve every day, usually by learning and borrowing from others.

A good sentence

“A good sentence imposes a logic on the world’s weirdness. It gets its power from the tension between the ease of its phrasing and the shock of its thought slid cleanly into the mind. A sentence, as it proceeds, is a paring away of options. Each added word, because of the English language’s dependence on word order, reduces the writer’s alternatives and narrows the reader’s expectations. But even up to the last word the writer has choices and can throw in a curveball. A sentence can begin in one place and end in another galaxy, without breaking a single syntactic rule.”

How to write the perfect sentence (The Guardian)

Retaining more of what you read

Knowledge will only compound if it is retained. In other words, what matters is not simply reading more books, but getting more out of each book you read.”

7 Ways to Retain More of Every Book You Read (James Clear)

From James Clear: A helpful list of tips for retaining more of what you read.

I’m giving this a shot by treating every book as if I need to write a report on it afterwards. That means a lot of note taking. I’m hopping between physical notes on steno pads and using Notion more frequently as my personal knowledge base.

Professional writer = professional reader

Being a professional writer now means I can be a professional reader. Montaigne said he made bouquets out of other men’s flowers, but he was the one who provided the string to tie them together. I like that image, except bouquets eventually die, and the great thing about books is that they are paper bouquets that never die: they can be torn to their pieces and rearranged indefinitely.”

An intercourse with the world (Austin Kleon)

I’m a voracious reader. I think my blog proves that. I used to feel guilty for all my reading — I felt like I wasn’t producing enough, or doing enough — but not so much anymore. All these inputs are the raw material, and when the time comes, when I need to, I can remix what I’ve learned to create something new.

Company of One by Paul Jarvis: My summary & notes

Happy Monday!

I pre-ordered Company of One late last year. I’ve followed Paul‘s writing for a while, and this felt like an opportunity to show some support.

When I first got my hands on the book, I thought it’d be written exclusively for freelancers and solopreneur side hustlers. But as I progressed through the chapters, I started thinking that it’s really about running a sustainable company at 1x instead of chasing the mythical 10x.

What follows are my summary and notes for Company of One.

Read moreCompany of One by Paul Jarvis: My summary & notes