A Foolproof Way to Never Write Anything

Wait until you have a brilliant idea.

This may take a few hours. It may take your entire life.

Once you have that brilliant idea, don’t settle until your first draft is PERFECT.

This may take a few hours. It may take your entire life.

Only work on your draft when you feel like it. Routines are for the uninspired. You can’t achieve perfection if you’re not in a writing mood.

When you finally sit down to write, make sure you bring your phone with you and leave your internet browser open.

Don’t outline anything. Don’t have an objective in mind. Don’t try and brain dump year ideas onto the page. If you do, you might find your idea isn’t as good as you thought it was. Then you’re back to square one.

When you write your lede, try to avoid narrative hooks. You’re an artist, not a salesman.

Remember: Write for yourself, not your audience.

Since we’re chasing perfection, write every sentence with painstaking precision. Then go back and rewrite it. Then rewrite it again. Don’t move on until you’ve done this.

If the words start to flow onto the page in interesting combinations, stop writing immediately and revisit the previous step.

Keep doing this until it’s literally impossible for you to continue working on the draft. You should be either physically revolted by what you see on the page, or on the edge of a mental breakdown.

It’s important to push yourself to your physical or mental limits because you never know the next time you’re going to be in a writing mood.

Try and write long meandering sentences with lots of fancy words. The more commas, the better. A good trick is to imagine you’re explaining this topic to a friend in the most condescending way possible.

Use passive voice. Avoid narrative. Use dangling modifiers. End sentences with prepositions. Always put the action before the object.

When it comes time to write your conclusion, don’t try to summarize your ideas or be poignant. If the reader didn’t grasp your brilliancy, that’s their problem.

Review the wordcount of the article. Then ask yourself how you can pump those numbers up. Longform = intelligence. If your article can be summarized in a tweet, you’ve failed.

Once you’ve completed the first draft, don’t show it to anyone. Don’t try and edit it. In fact, don’t even read it. If you followed the previous steps, your draft should already be perfect.

Time to publish. Or is it? What if people don’t like it? Maybe it’s safest to stash it in a file on your desktop for now.

Years later, you’ll reopen it and either 1) be embarrassed by what you wrote, or 2) think to yourself “is this actually…good?” If you experience 1) delete the draft immediately. If you experience 2), it’s probably not worth sharing either, just in case there’s negative feedback.

Instead, wait for the next brilliant idea.

This may take a few hours. It may take your entire life.

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