How to start?

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How to start?

  • TommyK

    I haven’t done much long-form writing since I was in grad school, 6 year ago.

    I frequently have thoughts that are too long to tweet but not long enough for much else.

    What are ways that others get their thoughts out articulately so they can be shared? Is it just a matter of practice and drive to do it?

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  • Wendy McElroy

    Hello Tommy: Until you are comfortable, tt may be useful for you to follow the format:

    –have an explicit statement of the situation/issue you are addressing in the first sentence or two. Don’t bury the lead
    –construct a concluding paragraph that expresses the intellectual destination of the article. That is, what you are concluding
    –view the in-between as partly a structured argument going from intro to conclusion and partly as a vehicle for any entertaining or background information.

    Good for you for taking the first step toward becoming a libertarian author.

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    Kwashiorkor

    For things longer than just a few paragraphs, I’ve found it useful to organize my thoughts using a mind manager tool like Freemind. It lets you create an outline by just adding nodes like a growing tree.  You can reattach branches and move things around to create a more coherent structure.  Keep adding ideas until you have enough content to form a coherent argument and answer anticipated objections.  Then you just have to form sentences out of the ideas out at the edges.

    I think it’s better than just creating an outline, because it’s more visual and and helps you bring out your creative side.

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    Richard Masta

    By no means do I consider myself a great writer, but I think highly of a few suggestions I’ve gotten, and I practice both:

    1. Keep a diary/journal. Try to write it in it every day. It’s hard but becomes easy, even if you’re just ruminating. Not only will you find yourself with hundreds of pages of your own intellectual fodder, you’ll find that your entries become more honed and to the point in the long term.

    2. Read, read, read long form writing. I like to write 3-5 page pieces when I can. I prefer this format on the sites and magazines I read. The template sort of falls into place when I take it to the writing desk.

    Excited to read more in this group.

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