[SoG] Want to learn how to write long-form?
|Aug 23, 2020|
Want to learn long-form writing?
Good morning, ladies and gents!
Thank you for all the emails and messages to my mail from last week. That last email had the highest open rate for any mail that I've sent ever (82% of you opened the mail! - probably something to do with the subject line). I am so so glad that I have you guys around! And thanks to all the inputs, I have started to work on compiling what I have. Still WIP but I do know that I will gather things at www.saurabhgarg.com. Do see it when you can.
Coming to the agenda for the week. Like the note-taking thingy, I am back with another edition of things that I want to "share" with you. For the uninitiated, I wrote about how to take great notes to recipients of this letter. It has since then sort of blown up and it has allowed me to offer a session on effective notes to 300+ people. And each of them seems to be super happy with what I have to say about notes. Yay! Do see notesforgrowth.com for more.
The note-taking thing started as an inquiry into my own productivity stack and then I read and talked and understood what works for me. And I put out what I knew for friends and family to see. And it seemed to help them. So, encouraged, I am back with the next thing that I think I want to get better at. And like all things I do, I want to share as I go along.
So, here is a 101 on long-form writing.
What is long-form writing?
There is no agreed-upon definition per see but I consider any piece longer than 2000 words a long-form piece. But the good rule of thumb is that, that the piece must become a definitive source of information on that topic. Case in point? The Note Taking 101.
You may or may not be the "only" source on that topic but you have to have a definitive content piece on it.
Why is long-form so important that I am willing to punt on it? And I want everyone around me to learn?
The world we live in a curious place. On one side, we have this generation that wants everything snack-sized, you know, in short bursts. Tweets, Tik-Tok, sachets, dates faster than you can spell d-a-t-e-s and I don't know what all. And on the other, there are people that create super long tomes that are thick as Bible and are so tough to consume that they are left to gather dust in those fancy libraries.
So, people like you and me are left with two choices - either succumb to, what I call, superficial. Or drown in the deep dark dungeons of dense documents!
Now, if there was someone that could write about interesting things, scratch beyond the surface and yet remain palatable, I can bet my backside that you'd want to read that person. Plus if the piece passes the Lindy Test, even better!!
To be honest, I discovered this simple "truth" a few months ago and I've been working at it since. I think it's the only way to grow the audience that I have access to. And why would I want an audience? Well, the other "truth" in this world of ours is that unless you are rich or genius, you need to have access to an audience that gives you opportunities, ideas, and a lot more!
So, what do I propose?
I have a vague "structure" that I think we can follow to churn out long-form writing.
Here's it in brief...
A. It starts with having enough things to write about.
Which means that you need to develop your curiosity. This means that you need to read more, experience more, live a "richer" life.
B. Then you need to gather data, facts, opinions, links, and whatnot.
To be able to have enough masala when you set to write. You know, research!
C. Then, you MUST write!
And writing has nothing to do with grammar, structure, language, word, etc.
In my opinion, writing as a tool must inform, educate, and entertain. And as a writer, your only job is to ensure that the reader is so immersed that she wants to read the next line.
D. And then, distribute.
This is what most people do NOT do. They assume that if their work is good, the audience would come in. Which is the biggest lie ever told to creators. You have to spend 10x the time distributing your content than what you take to create it! In fact, I am guilty of this. I don't do anything to market my work. Trying to change as I go along!
E. Finally, repeat!
Writing is like gardening. You need to sow the seeds, put the manure, wean out the weed, and obsess over things! It takes as much patience and as much time. And as much hard work. If not more.
Where is the proposal?
If you are keen on learning the craft of long-form writing, I invite you to join me and a few friends, as we meet every week and help each other with writing better. Like other things, we are just starting and we don't know where we'd reach with this. But I do know that we'd find something along the way!
Do see this tweet for more details.
Oh, and if this is not for you, share this with a few friends that you think may benefit.
Or the ones that I can learn from. Now that I have decided that I want to make writing a key part of my life, I better start!
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