The first thing I think people overlook when it comes to writing is the distinction between the research and the thinking and then the writing.

A lot of people don’t take the time to do that.

They think, “Ok I’m going to sit down and write.”

They’ve kind of thought about the idea, but they’re not thinking about it like a lawyer would – which is you need to have case law on your side and precedent. You need to know all of that before you marshal your argument.

And so that’s where you get a lot of lazy writing.

Let’s say I wanted to talk about managing your perceptions.

What sounds weak is when you say, “My friend Susie had this problem,” or “Let me tell you about my high school girlfriend or whatever.”

That’s not drawing from timeless material so it dates and doesn’t serve the argument well.

“I make the distinction between the research and the work and then the writing is really the stringing of the words together.”

I have the book laid out and 70 percent done before I’ve written any words.

So then the writing is actually about putting all the pieces together in the order that you want and there’s a lot of moving and adjusting and you actually know what’s in your head.

“People think that writing is this flash of inspiration, but it’s actually a very deliberate, slow, methodical process that is more like, ‘here are the words that I’ve put down, now [do they represent] what I’m trying to say.’”

Catch the full conversation here


Author |

Ryan Holiday is a media strategist and is the author of five books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy and The Daily Stoic. After dropping out of college at nineteen to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians.