Writing is easy, or at least, not impossible

Sound Writing #1

My current thesis is that writing is easy. Here is a foolproof method to improve your writing:

  1. Think of something you want to say.

  2. Write a sentence that tries to say that thing.

  3. Write another sentence that tries to say that thing.

  4. Compare the sentence from Step 2 with the sentence from Step 3. Delete the one that is worse.

  5. Do you think that the sentence now speaks to the reader in the way that you want? If not, go back to step 3. If yes, go back to step 1 with a new, connected thought.

It’s not that easy, I hear you cry. The trick, of course, is that there is great nuance in each of these steps—in formulating a thought worth communicating, in crafting a sentence, in understanding what makes one sentence better than another, in the act of empathy that leads to knowing how a sentence might speak to a reader.

There are also things this method doesn’t cover: how to structure a piece on a higher altitude than the sentence level, how to have something to say, how to use external sources for writing.

And yet, this is at a basic level what all writing is. As I continue, I’ll elaborate on how all writing builds on these very fundamental steps.