Paul Graham on Writing

Four essays on writing:

I realize florid writing works for some people. But unless you’re sure you’re one of them, the best advice is to write as simply as you can.

I believe the formula I’ve given you, importance + novelty + correctness + strength, is the recipe for a good essay. But I should warn you that it’s also a recipe for making people mad.

How many essays are there left to write though? The answer to that question is probably the most exciting thing I’ve learned about essay writing. Nearly all of them are left to write.

Putting ideas into words is certainly no guarantee that they’ll be right. Far from it. But though it’s not a sufficient condition, it is a necessary one.

You can’t think well without writing well, and you can’t write well without reading well. And I mean that last “well” in both senses. You have to be good at reading, and read good things. [2]

People who just want information may find other ways to get it. But people who want to have ideas can’t afford to.