Write what you repeat

Over the past few years, I’ve realized that I don’t have a method or writing system. The words flow in if I decide to block out the distractions and get to work, irrespective of the time of the day. Of course, the best writing happens when I’m feeling mentally fresh, and there’s nothing else on my mind, which is usually the first thing in the morning.

But when it comes to the sheer act of writing, there is a reason why I’ve struggled a whole lot less than folks who want to write but aren’t able to because they don’t know what to say or where to start. It’s this — I have always written what I repeat. The excerpt from Deb Liu’s post below explains this the best:

I started writing at the advice of Andrew Bosworth. As one of the most prolific writers at the company, he pushed me to write. I told him I didn’t know what to say. He suggested that I start with, “Write what you repeat.” At first, this baffled me. So I asked for clarification. He said, “You meet with dozens of people every week. What are the things you say over and over again? That is what you should write about. If those people can benefit from what you said, I am sure others can as well.

It’s a maxim that I’ve lived by for years, and I don’t plan to do things differently now. It works. It also highlights one of the fundamental responsibilities of writers — to curate their thoughts and the zeitgeist through their words.

And I love what Rohan from ALearningADay.com has to say on writing what you repeat:

“Don’t answer the same question more than twice. Take the time to write it down. That act of writing clarifies our thinking on the topic while enabling us to help a lot more people along the way.”

As for me, the act of writing itself has compelled me to dive deeper and explore topics that I knew nothing about to master a few that I now advise people and organizations on. All it took was to decide to go out in the world and observe. And we all can surely do that, can’t we?

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