Writing Well


Style is a small part of writing well. Writing is mostly thinking clearly.

If you can think clearly, you can find something to say.

An ideal place to start is thinking through what bothers you most in life today.

Write a post where you work through that issue — and get to a sound conclusion.

Why? The best writing is therapy that you publish for the world to learn from.


If you have something important to write and you write it well, you send strangers down paths they badly needed.

That's why it’s a disservice to humanity to keep your great thoughts to yourself. Especially when you consider the scale of writing: articles reach thousands.

Writing is the most radical thing you can do without money. Skilled writers change the world from their couch.

That’s leverage.


To write is to think with the help of paper.

Becoming a better writer makes you a better all-around thinker. You learn to communicate more clearly and more persuasively.

The world's top minds became brilliant through the habit of writing. Writing is how they realized their intellectual potential.

Often, they don't see themselves as writers, but as thinkers using writing as a communication medium.

Social connection

My favorite benefit of writing is meeting interesting people.

The most efficient way to meet interesting people is to become someone they already want to meet.

How? Do cool things and blog about it.

Or podcast about it. Or vlog.

When you produce content with an authentic voice, people want to meet the person behind that voice.

The Shakespeares, Twains, and Austens of the future won't emerge from the book publishing industry. They’ll come from YouTube, podcasts, and blogs.

What you'll learn

Together, we'll get to the bottom of a topic you've always wanted to write about. And you'll learn to rewrite your thoughts so they impact readers.

I’ll provide a cheat sheet at the end, but I recommend taking notes. Reading without note-taking is like exploring new territory without drawing a map.

Who should read this?

This handbook is for:

  1. Professional writers wanting to reach the top 1%: You’ll acquire new writing insights, and you’ll better understand what makes your own writing good.
  2. Aspiring writers who fear publishing themselves online: This will provide you with confidence in your process — so you hopefully take the leap and publish.

In 30 minutes, I can help you become a remarkably better writer.

If you don't have the time to read this handbook now, you can get my bite-sized writing advice on Twitter in the meantime: here's an example tweet.

Who's Julian Shapiro?

I spend thousands of hours deconstructing complex topics. I compile my insights into free handbooks (like the one you're reading). Over a million people read them annually. Insights that don't make it into handbooks are shared on my Twitter.

I also write TechCrunch's growth marketing column, and I authored a boring programming book for Pearson Education.

You can read more on my about page.

If people cannot write well, they cannot think well. And if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.
– George Orwell

Start the handbook

Page 1: Introductions

How do you choose what to write about?

Next page →