Selfish Writing

Posted on Aug 7, 2021

Notes from Morgan’s article on selfish writing:

Morgan advices to write for yourself because it’s

  • you enjoy the writing process
  • you seem excited to put the topics on paper
  • writing makes you tighten up your thinking

Writing is the ultimate test of whether your thoughts make sense or are merely gut feelings.

Good writers take some vague feeling they’ve been thinking about, dig into a bunch, write down what they’ve discovered, realize half of it doesn’t make sense, delete most of it, write some more, realize the new stuff contradicts itself, panic when they realize they don’t understand the topic as well as they thought they did, talk to other smart people about why that is, learn something new that reminds them of this other thing that might tie into the second paragraph, discover that this thing they believed before they started writing isn’t actually true, realize that if that thing isn’t true then this other thing is probably really important, and so on endlessly. – Morgan Housel

Many of the good writers you enjoy aren’t much smarter than you. They have just forced themselves through the process of transferring the vague feelings into words and the clarity that generates.

You can learn a lot of things by writing things down, even if no one reads them.