James Clear

James Clear quotes on writing

Author of the #1 NYT bestseller Atomic Habits. I write about building better habits.

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1

5 good minutes of: -pushups is a solid workout -sprints will leave you winded -writing can deliver 1 good page -reading can finish an insightful article -meditation can reset your mood You don’t need more time—just a little focused action.

2

The two skills of modern business: Storytelling and spreadsheets. Know the numbers. Craft the narrative.

3

The trick to writing well is to... - take long sentences and make them short - take confusing ideas and make them clear - take unrelated concepts and make them related ...without losing the main idea in the process.

4

To improve, compare little things. -marketing strategies -exercise technique -writing tactics To be miserable, compare big things. -career path -marriage -net worth Comparison is the thief of joy when applied broadly, but the teacher of skills when applied narrowly.

5

3 tips for better writing: 1) Double the examples. 2) Half the words. 3) One big idea.

6

Many people assume they are bad at writing because it is hard. This is like assuming you are bad at weightlifting because the weight is heavy. Writing is useful because it is hard. It's the effort that goes into writing a clear sentence that leads to better thinking.

7

Reading is like fresh food for the mind. The consumption fills you with wisdom. Writing is like exercise for the mind. The effort leads to stronger ideas. Meditation is like fasting for the mind. The practice clears your mental digestive tract.

8

Don’t write to sound smart. Write to be useful. If you’re useful over a long time period, you will end up looking smart anyway.

9

How to be a better writer: -write about what fascinates you -make one point per sentence -use stories to make your point -cut extra words like “really” and “very” -read the whole thing out loud -post publicly (you’ll try harder when you know others will read it)

10

Before you ask for readers, write the article you wish you could read. Before you ask for the sale, create the product you wish you had. Before you need support, be the supportive friend. Before you need love, be the loving partner. Always give value before you ask for value.

11

If you want to spread an idea, write an essay that makes it easy to understand. If you want to spread an action, build a tool that makes it easy to do.

12

Writing is the antidote to confusion.

13

If you wish you would take something more seriously, do it publicly. Publishing an article pressures you to think clearly. Competing in a race pressures you to train consistently. Presenting on any topic pressures you to learn it. Social pressure forces you to up your game.

14

Improvement is an endless game. You can finish: -building a profitable company -writing a bestseller -winning a championship You can never finish: -perfecting your craft -learning all you can -maximizing your potential The way to win is to master that which can never be won.

15

3 tips for getting started as a writer 1. Publish on a schedule. Consistency develops ability. 2. Share your writing publicly. Writing is a magnet. It attracts like-minded people. 3. Write about what fascinates you. You don't need to be an expert. Curiosity leads to expertise.

16

One of the most underrated career skills that isn’t really taught anywhere is editing your own writing. Great writing is actually re-writing. Simplifying paragraphs. Clarifying key points. Double-checking for typos. Good writing will impress in any job.

17

When an online course tells you how to make money in real estate remember they are making money by selling online courses. When a conference covers how to build an online business remember they are building an event business. Learn from what people do as much as what they say.

18

Your teaching ability is constrained by your writing ability. If you can’t write it down, it will be nearly impossible to teach it to others.

19

A principle for writing, investing, and life in general: It is much easier to notice when something is working than to predict ahead of time if it will work. Take action, make many small bets, and run lots of quick (but thoughtful) experiments. Then, double-down on the winners.

20

The 3-Step Cycle of Developing an Extraordinary Mind 1) Explore widely. Follow many people, listen to tons of podcasts, read more books. 2) Clean up your information feed. Subscribe to fewer newsletters, follow fewer people, re-read great books. All signal, no noise. 3) Repeat

21

Conversation is usually a first draft of your thoughts. If true, we should be more gracious with people in conversation. In writing, we actively encourage people to ignore quality and explore ideas in the first draft. In conversation, if people make one misstep, we blast them.

22

The ridiculous jargon and impossible-to-decipher writing style of academic papers is a loss for all of us. Read Feynman or Hawking or Popper and you‘ll see complex topics do not require complex writing. Instead, many of our brightest minds are effectively hiding their insights.

23

I’m usually terrified people will hate my writing. My only saving grace is how I direct that fear. I use it to motivate me to find better ideas and share more useful examples rather than allowing it to prevent me from sharing at all. Fear is the gas pedal, not the brake.

24

Good revisions make great writing. Don't try to write twice as well. Simply write it twice, and you'll write well.

25

Good storytellers are more powerful than ever before. Technology has reduced the cost of sharing stories. One great story can move millions to act. Authors. Podcasters. Entrepreneurs. Politicians. Leaders. The person who tells the best story rules their corner of the world.

26

What doesn’t matter as a nonfiction writer: -Where you went to school -What you studied in school -What credentials you hold -How much experience you have What does matter as a nonfiction writer: 1) Writing something true, useful, and clear 2) Getting in front of more readers

27

Charity can be a lifestyle, not merely an occasional gift. Read charitably. Give the author your most rational interpretation. Listen charitably. Donate your undivided attention. Work charitably. Be generous with your expertise. In this way, you make charity a daily habit.

28

Share your work. An idea that is never spoken or written down dies with the person who conceived it.

29

In case anyone is wondering: 1. Writing a book is very not fun. 2. Launching a book is very fun. 3. Number 1 is what makes Number 2 possible. The height of your joy is linked to the depth of your sacrifice.

30

It is the responsibility of the writer to make it easy on the reader.

31

Don't ignore the answer just because you don't like the answer. You might not *like* tracking calories, but don't claim there is no way to lose weight. You might not *like* writing each day, but don't create excuses for your unfinished book. Solutions exist even when ignored.

32

Writers who don't write weekly, write weakly.

33

Simple habit tip: People who actually write down when, where, and how they will implement a new habit are much more likely to stick with it.

34

What things require a period of intense focus up front to become established, but persist & continue to perform after you move on to something else? -writing books about evergreen topics -saving & investing in passive index funds -outsourcing yourself from a business

35

Storytelling is just as important as innovation.

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