Write like your reader talks.

Read a bunch of Internet forums about whatever you're writing about. Identify common phrases and put them into a list. Then, use their language whenever you write.

By writing like a friend, you build trust.
The idea of using your reader's voice works best for tactical writing that aims to be clear and persuasive. As a writer, this strategy also helps you get inside the mind of your reader so you can speak to their specific feelings.

(h/t @dollarsanddata)
@dollarsanddata Copywriters should do the same thing.

They should ask questions like "What inspired you to buy our product?" Then, they should collect the most vivid phrases onto a spreadsheet they can pull from whenever they write.

Let your customers do the work for you.
@dollarsanddata I keep a list of hundreds of fun words and phrases. I look at them whenever I edit my writing. Sometimes, I'll borrow a string of words directly. But they mostly serve as inspiration for the voice I want to write with.

Here's part of the list.
People who write regularly don't just read for knowledge. They read to learn tricks and collect raw materials for future creative projects.

Save the things that resonate with you most, even if you don't know how you're going to use them.
"But then how will I find my own voice?"

Great creators are honest about their influences. They know that 100% originality doesn't exist. Instead of chasing originality, they cultivate genius by looking for nuggets of inspiration.

Full video here:
Find things that inspire you, save the best stuff, use it as the raw material for your work, and aim to eventually transcend it.

Or, simply: Imitate, then innovate.

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More from @david_perell

23 May
What made Kobe Bryant so good?

5 championship rings. 7 trips to the NBA finals. Though fans were inspired by his excellence, others were offended by his personality. To learn about the nature of greatness, let's talk about his career.

Time for a thread.
The Lakers are famous for their roster of stars: Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.

Kobe wanted to add his name to the list but worried his legacy would be undermined by sharing the court with another great player who he didn’t always get along with: Shaq.
Kobe motivated himself through a combination of envy and desire.

For example, Kobe and Shaq had one of the most famous feuds in NBA history, due to the conflict of Shaq’s desire to be the team’s leader, and Kobe’s need to take the spotlight and outperform.
Read 9 tweets
19 May
This paper explores the core personality traits of entrepreneurs:

∙ Capable
∙ Hubristic
∙ High self-esteem
∙ More likely to have done “illicit activities”

But here's the key line: "The number one predictor of entrepreneurship is asymmetric information about skill levels."
I discovered this paper when @wolfejosh shared it a few years ago.

He mentioned a quote from William Blake: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create."
By asymmetric skill levels, the authors refer to people who are more talented than they are credentialed. They're the kinds of people who know how to build a business, even though they never went to college.

Being under-estimated makes them more likely to start a company.
Read 4 tweets
18 May
Philosophers are the strongest thinkers I know.

They're trained to evaluate ideas from a kaleidoscope of perspectives. They think like intellectual boxers, who understand ideas by making them fight with each other.

Their thinking is bloody, but boy is it effective.
In particular, I admire their patience with ideas.

Most people jump to moral conclusions when they find a new idea. A good philosopher has none of that hubris. Through critique and dialogue, they simply try to understand it instead, knowing that understanding is a slow process.
While the rest of us judge ideas, philosophers critique them.

They think dispassionately because they welcome the idea of being corrected, and in turn, updating their worldview. Thus, they welcome self-criticism, so long as it's done with a posture of intellectual generosity.
Read 7 tweets
6 May
For all the talk about progress, why are beautiful buildings like this so rare these days?
Modern architecture really makes you question the gospel of efficiency.

I mean, seriously.
Oh and while we’re at it, can we have some Art Nouveau wallpaper too?
Read 4 tweets
3 May
The Simpsons secret to writing: Create an imperfect world, then improve it.
First, flood the page with ideas. Then, edit.

“Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible.”

(h/t @MarketPowerYT)

The writers for The Simpsons were completely independent.

Since not even executives received advanced copies of the scripts, all the writers had to do was please themselves.
Read 5 tweets
30 Apr
New essay: A couple years ago, I realized that I knew embarrassingly little about Christianity.

So, I decided to change that. That search led me to history of human rights and the moral underpinnings of Western culture.

Here’s what I discovered.

I didn’t think this piece would resonate.

But in terms of quality responses in the first 24 hours, it’s the most successful essay I’ve ever written.

Never have I experienced such a flood of responses — and I particularly love the personal stories of religious transformation.
Religious or not, every Westerner bathes in the waters of Christian ideology.

We are desensitized to Christianity’s influence on Western thought not because it’s irrelevant, but because it’s so all-consuming.
Read 5 tweets

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