Want to be a Great Writer? Then Don’t Focus on Writing. (Do This Instead)

Do you want to be a great writer?

To create stunning works of art that people can’t stop reading?

To craft brilliant articles that touch hearts and change lives?

Maybe being a great writer has been your dream since you were barely old enough to scribble on the walls in spaghetti sauce.

Or maybe you’ve been trying for years to get your writing career to “take off,” with no luck.

If so, you’ve probably already imbibed lots of writing advice. Everything from “write every day!” to “Sit down at the keyboard and bleed.”

Forget all that.

The key to writing well isn’t to focus on writing.

It’s to focus on your writing system.

Hemingway was an American journalist, novelist, and short story-ist whose brevity and inimitable style influenced an entire generation of fiction writers.

Stephen King is a prolific writer who has sold hundreds of millions of books, many of which have been made into movies and comics.

A.J. Jacobs is a journalist, lecturer, and editor at large for Esquire magazine.

You know what all these successful writers have in common?

A honed writing system.

Hemingway, King, and Jacobs didn’t just throw words on paper whenever they felt like it. If they did, they wouldn’t have become great writers and we would never have heard of them.

Hemingway always wrote in the morning, as soon as the sun rose. Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, rain or shine. Jacobs writes ever-more-detailed outlines-that-turn-into-books while walking on a treadmill.

So if you want to be a great writer, don’t focus on great writing. Focus on creating and sticking to a great writing system.

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