Self-Improvement / Public Speaking

President Gerald R. Ford exercising in his dressing gown and jim-jams
Image: Public domain, via Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Today: Hamilton Nolan, author of the newsletter How Things Work, and the book The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor, which comes out next week; and Myriam Gurba, founding editor of Tasteful Rude, and author of Creep (2023) and Mean (2017).

Issue No. 7

How to Write Good
Hamilton Nolan

PEN America Won't Listen
Myriam Gurba

How to Write Good

by Hamilton Nolan

Sometimes I get concerned that young writers out there are being steered in the wrong direction. For example, Lauren Groff, famous writer, recently told an interviewer that when she wants to write a new novel, she writes the whole thing out by longhand in notebooks–and then puts them away, never looks at them, and rewrites the whole book over again. Wow! “The idea is that this way, only the best, most vital bits survive.” Yeah, I bet. 

I read another person somewhere saying that they wrote an eighty page thesis and then edited it down to four pages. Wow. You sure do love editing I guess. Gullible people who are susceptible to peer pressure might be thinking, “This is how you do good writing—by writing a lot of stuff and then throwing most of it away.” Oh really? Well, I have a problem with that. 

That’s right–I have a problem with that. (Writing tip #1: repeat the important parts.)

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