Write Well

Why write nonfiction?

This handbook helps you write nonfiction books and blogs for three reasons:

1. Gain leverage

Keeping thoughts to yourself can be a disservice to the world. If you have something important to say and you say it well, you send strangers down paths badly needed.

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

2. Clarity of thought

Writing is a laxative for the mind. When you write, your brain can't stop itself from drawing connections between ideas—and exploring their implications. This shines a light on broken logic, which helps you gain clarity of thought.

Writing is the act of thinking clearly with the help of paper. Writing slows down your thinking so you can play with your ideas.

3. Human connection

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

If you do interesting things then write about them publicly with an authentic voice, like-minded people want to meet the person behind that voice. Writing is a bat signal for your people.

What you'll learn

You'll deconstruct a topic you want to write about. Across five lessons, you'll learn to be more interesting, substantitive, and resonant:

See the bottom of your screen for navigation links.

I’ll provide a cheatsheet on the last page of this handbook, but I recommend taking notes. Reading educational content without notetaking is like exploring new territory without drawing a map. Help your brain draw connections between ideas.

Who should read this?

This handbook is for:

  1. Advanced nonfiction writers wanting to improve their craft: You’ll learn new insights to better understand how exceptional writing works.
  2. Aspiring writers who fear publishing online: This handbook may help increase your confidence. We'll overcome blockers together.

Over the next thirty minutes, you'll become a more deliberate writer who understands why they're writing what they're writing. There's a science to nonfiction that I believe many have overlooked.

Who's Julian Shapiro?

I spend thousands of hours deconstructing complex topics. I then compile insights into handbooks (like this one). Over a million people read them annually. I also write threads on Twitter, which are read by millions each year.

Before this, I wrote a column for the largest tech news site, TechCrunch. And I authored a boring programming book for Pearson Education.

You can learn more about me on my about page.

Begin: Writing an introduction

Let's figure out what to write about.