Writing Well

Our goal

This handbook helps you write nonfiction books and blogs.

What is writing?

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

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

Why write nonfiction?

1. Clarity

Great minds became brilliant through communication. Great ideas emerge while writing or speaking—not before. When you express ideas, your brain can't help but to draw connections between them and advance them.

Writing is a laxative for the mind.

2. Leverage

Keeping thoughts to yourself is a disservice to others. If you have something important to say and you say it well, you send strangers down paths badly needed.

As history has shown, a writer can change the world from their couch. Writing is the most radical thing you can do without spending a dollar.

3. Connection

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

One way to do that is by doing cool things, writing about them, then getting the word out. Or podcast. Or vlog.

Whenever you distribute content with an authentic voice, similarly-minded people want to meet the person behind that voice.

What you'll learn

Together, we'll deconstruct any topic you want to write about. You'll learn to write plus rewrite your thoughts so that they're interesting, substantitive, and resonant.

I’ll provide a cheatsheet on the last page of this handbook, but I recommend taking notes. Doing so forces you to slow down and draw connections between ideas. This helps you internalize them. 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. Advanced nonfiction writers wanting to improve their craft: You’ll encounter unique insights to better understand how exceptional writing works.
  2. Aspiring writers who fear publishing online: This handbook should increase your confidence. We'll overcome key blockers together.

Over the next 30 minutes, you'll become a much more deliberate writer. There's a science to nonfiction writing that many haven't realized.

Who's Julian Shapiro?

I spend thousands of hours deconstructing topics that interest me. I compile my insights into handbooks (like this one). Over a million people read them annually.

Readers like my writing for its density of insights and efficiency.

I also write threads on Twitter, which are read by over a million people per month. They're consistently among the most viral long-form content on Twitter.

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.

Start the handbook

Page I — Writing an introduction

Deciding what to write about.

Next page →