“Just Write, Damn It”

Heed this sage advice and officially finish deprogramming yourself from Duke’s wretched freshman writing program:

I believe that ninety percent of writer’s block is not the fault of the writer. It’s the fault of the writer’s wrongheaded educational conditioning. We’re taught to write via a 20th century industrial model that’s boringly linear and predictable: What’s your topic sentence? What are your sections? What’s your conclusion? Nobody wants to read a piece that’s structured that way. Even if they did, the form would be more a hindrance than a help to the writing process, because it makes the writer settle on a thesis before he or she has had a chance to wade around in the ideas and inspect them. So to Hell with the outline. Just puke on the page, knowing that you can clean it up and make it structurally sound later.

Also good:

I lose more sleep over corrections than anything else related to journalism.

I don’t care if hundreds of people think I’m an idiot because they disagree with my analysis. The handful of corrections that were truly my fault all haunt me to this day.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan)


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