Writing backward and forward

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There are two challenges with writing anything — flow and impact. The flow problem is this: does each sentence lead into the next, and each paragraph lead into the next, in a way that draws the reader along? The impact problem is this: does the piece take you with ironclad logic to a place where … Continued

In praise of hard, tedious work

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You know the kind of work I mean. It demands skills you don’t have. It’s slow. It’s disagreeable. And you spend half your time taking breaks, complaining, and avoiding it, because it’s just soul-sucking labor. That work is more valuable than you realize. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes about flow, the state you attain as you work … Continued

How to create “flow” in your writing process

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The brilliant psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience of “flow” — of being productive, in the moment, and making rapid progress on work that matches well to your skills. Flow creates great writing, but it happens only if you prepare properly. If you’re writing something longer than 1000 words, it matters how you write it. You’re … Continued