Writing Well


Writing is the art of thinking clearly with the help of paper.

An ideal place to start is by thinking through what bothers you most. Write a post to work through that—because the best writing is often therapy that you publish for the world to learn from.

Why write?


Writing is the most radical thing you can do without money.

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

It's a disservice to others to keep thoughts to yourself. As a writer, you can change the world from your couch.


Great minds became brilliant through the act of writing.

Writing is a laxative for the mind. Great ideas emerge while writing—not before. After writing ideas down, your brain is compelled to draw connections between them.

To write is to think using your mind's full capacity.

Social capital

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

How? Do cool things and write 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 deconstruct any topic you want to write about. You'll learn to write and rewrite your thoughts so that they're novel and resonant.

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.

Tip — See the bottom of your screen for quick navigation links.

Who should read this?

This handbook is for:

  1. Professional writers wanting to reach the top 1%: You’ll acquire novel insights on style to better understand what makes your writing good.
  2. Aspiring writers who fear publishing online: This should increase your confidence. We'll overcome key blockers together.

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

Who's Julian Shapiro?

I spend thousands of hours deconstructing interesting 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 about me 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 I — Writing an introduction

Deciding what to write about.

Next page →