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Here are 12 secrets the world’s best

writers don’t want you to know about:

(1) “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all
others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these
two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut”

(2) “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the
tools) to write. Simple as that”

(3) “Write in a way that comes naturally. Write in a way that

comes easily and naturally to you, using words and phrases that
come readily to hand”

(4) “Writers must…constantly ask: what am I trying to

say?…Then they must look at what they have written and ask:
have I said it?”

(5) “Go with your interests. There’s no subject you don’t have
permission to write about…No area of life is stupid to someone
who takes it seriously. If you follow your affections you will write
well and will engage your readers…No subject is too specialized
or too quirky if you make an honest connection with it when you
write about it”

(6) “Writers who write interestingly tend to be men and women

who keep themselves interested. That’s almost the whole point of
becoming a writer…If you write about subjects you think you
would enjoy knowing about, your enjoyment will show in what
you write”

(7) “The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If
it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence,
your article is dead. And if the second sentence doesn’t induce him
to continue to the third sentence, it’s equally dead…Readers want
to know — very soon — what’s in it for them…Therefore your lead
must capture the reader immediately and force him to keep

(8) “Surprise is the most refreshing element in nonfiction writing.

If something surprises you it will also surprise — and delight —
the people you are writing for, especially as you conclude your
story and send them on their way”

(9) “Every successful piece of nonfiction should leave the reader

with one provocative thought that he or she didn’t have before.
Not two thoughts, or five — just one. So decide what single point
you want to leave in the reader’s mind”

(10) “Your biggest stories will often have less to do with their
subject than with their significance — not what you did in a
certain situation, but how that situation affected you and shaped
the person you became”

(11) “Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we

can keep out of it that shouldn’t be there…Examine every word
you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve
any purpose”

(12) “Rewriting is the essence of writing…professional writers

rewrite their sentences over and over and then rewrite what they
have rewritten”

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting

famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making
friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the
lives of those who will read your work, and
enriching your own life as well” — STEPHEN
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