Seth Godin is a serial entrepreneur, writer of an army of a bestsellers and a owner of a ridiculously popular blog. When he writes, people read.
Better writing is a goal of mine this year, so I’d thought I dig in to see what Seth has to say. Below are some nuggets of wisdom about how Seth approaches his writing practice:
- Write like you talk AND write every day. Seth writes every day and writes like he talks. Writing is a discovery process. We don’t know ex ante what will resonate with an audience. Write. See the response. Reflect. Improve. Write again. Writing daily and writing naturally have natural synergy. You can choose to pretend to be something you’re not, but, assuming your audience is smart, intelligent, excellent people, they’re gonna catch your lie. Eventually, if you survive to the other end, perhaps you’ll find that (A) you have things to say and (B) people care about it.
- Writing isn’t typing. Seth mentions that he spends ~15 minutes typing. I spend 15 minutes flicking to Facebook every day (a lot more sometimes). There is the type of writer that writes and rewrites and then rewrites again. Then there is the type of reader who thinks. If your ideas in your mind turn into things you want to say, the only time you need is the time to type out what you already want to say.
- Work harder. Seth mentions (probably exaggerating slightly) he studies / does research for 16 hours a day. Most of us barely spend 3 (be honest, you read Reddit at work…).
This is what it comes down to: 16 hours a day of thinking and learning and only 15 minutes of writing.
There is this camp of writers that says: “You should sit in front of a page and just write.” But perhaps a better way to approach things is: “You should sit in front of yourself and just think.”
Think until you have something to say and then say it.