Keep writing, even when it already hurts

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Lastly, the most important tip there is. I know Leo would agree with me here that the more we’ve both written, the more we’ve improved. We’ve also come to understand more about the process of writing and sharing content over time.

When we recently launched Buffer for Business, I remember discussing how the launch post might look like. And at moments like this, even when you’re almost out of ideas, to simply keep writing and see what comes is often one of the best ways to come up with a great story, at least, that’s how it turned out here.

As Jeff Goins says, the secret to prolific writing is practice:

Don’t write a lot. Just write often.

If you want to get better at anything, you have to practice. You have to be disciplined enough to show up when you don’t want to, and to keep at it when you’ve had enough.

I think this image says it all:

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

(Another great infographic from Copyblogger)

Over time, try to write less, not more

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And now we come to editing. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned about writing, ever, is how core editing is to the process of great writing.

The bottom line is this: Write less, not more. — Jeff Goins

Once you get more comfortable with just getting started and writing a rubbish first draft, you will find that at least as much of the writing process is in the editing, if not more:

It actually takes more work to write a short post. You may find you spend twice as much time editing as you do writing. (11)

Having someone else to look over your work can help immensely in this stage, as can reading your work aloud and letting it sit in-between edits.

Most importantly, you’ll need to learn to step back from the process of writing and put on your editor’s hat. View your draft as objectively as you can, while asking whether it makes a clear point and whether you’ve used the shortest, most simple words and sentences you can.

Kurt Vonnegut has an excellent rule we can all use when editing:

Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.