Original question from Quora:

What should every aspiring writer know about writing?

What are the basic writing skills everyone should have? What about advanced tricks and tips that would be useful to anyone?

This is a follow-up question to What should everyone know about math?

My Answer:

The most important thing to know about writing is the only way to get good at writing is to write a lot. That means you need to write every day.

There is no shortcut, advanced trick or anything that will make you a significantly better writer than putting the time in writing.

If you look at all the best writers, they show up every day and write. It can be 500 or 5,000 words a day. It doesn’t matter.

After that, I would say read a lot. Read “good” books, but also read popular or “trashy” books that millions of people fall in love with. There is a reason those books are popular. You should figure that out.

The last thing I would suggest is to take writing that you want to emulate and copy it down by hand on paper. There is no faster way to internalize good writing.

Do that for the same reason all musicians learn by playing music written by the masters of their craft. You play Beethoven, Bach, Hendrix, Beatles, etc. because that is the best way to learn what the masters knew.

No amount of reading posts on Quora will make you as great of a writer as just putting in the time writing. So, go write!

-Brian

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