Become A Better Writer In 60 Minutes (Masterclass)

Become A Better Writer In 60 Minutes (Masterclass)

Intro (00:00:00)

  • The speaker promises that following their advice will improve writing skills.
  • They clarify that they are not necessarily great writers but have achieved results through writing.
  • The speakers have credibility due to their success in building and selling newsletter businesses, reaching a million-person audience through tweets, and selling products online through email.
  • The class is free, but viewers are asked to subscribe to the channel in exchange for the valuable information they will receive.
  • Writing is a valuable skill that can help you grow an audience, sell products, and convince people of your ideas.
  • Good writing can help you achieve your goals and be more successful in life.

Why not how - Persuasion at scale (00:02:50)

  • Writing is a powerful tool that can be used for persuasion, storytelling, and personal relationships.
  • Writing helps clarify thinking, reveals the clarity of one's thoughts, and generates new ideas.
  • The process of writing involves refining ideas and cutting down bad ones.
  • The speaker is creating a survey to ask members questions that people are often afraid to ask, such as net worth and asset allocation. The survey will be available on a landing page at join

To write clearly, you must think clearly (00:07:00)

  • Clear writing requires clear thinking.

Begin with the end in mind (00:08:00)

  • Begin by deciding the reaction you want from your audience before writing.
  • Chris Quigley, an expert in creating viral videos, emphasizes the importance of working backward from an emotion.
  • People are more likely to share or act if they feel a strong emotion, such as LOL, WTF, OMG, cute, or heartwarming.
  • Quigley's agency had a high success rate in creating viral videos because they had a large blog audience and always worked backward from an emotion.
  • Elon Musk's recent tweet about hidden language in a bill that could lead to Trump's impeachment went viral because it evoked outrage from both Democrats and Republicans.
  • Quigley used a search engine to find YouTube videos targeting specific emotions, which he found helpful in brainstorming.

Headlines not outlines (00:11:30)

  • Begin with the end in mind by deciding on the reaction, action, and takeaway before writing.
  • Headlines and subheadlines are crucial, with the subheadline acting as a clarifying sentence that rarely changes.
  • Unlearn school-taught writing techniques, such as outlines and long word counts, as they don't apply to effective internet writing.
  • Internet writing should be concise, quick, and eliminate fluff, as shorter content is preferred.

Warmup with copywork (00:13:30)

  • Copywork is an effective technique to learn how to write.
  • Choose writing that you love and copy it word for word.
  • Handwriting is more effective, but typing is acceptable.
  • Don't add your own stuff or improve the original writing.
  • Do copywork for even 10-15 minutes daily.

Draft fast, incubate slow (00:16:30)

  • Warm up by copying others' work before writing your own.
  • Don't be afraid to look stupid during the drafting process.
  • The incubation period after drafting allows for breakthroughs and improvements.

Great writing is great editing (00:17:30)

  • Editing is where great writing happens.
  • Incubating your work before editing allows for passive thinking and better ideas.
  • Shift your time ratio to focus on quick and dirty drafting rather than overthinking.

Build your swipe file (00:20:00)

  • Keep a swipe file of well-written phrases, headlines, connecting words, sign-offs, and hellos/goodbyes.
  • Use your swipe file for inspiration when writing.
  • Having a swipe file can help overcome writer's block.

Don't bury the lead (00:22:00)

  • Avoid burying the lead by placing the most important sentence, provocative statement, promise, or hook at the beginning of your writing.
  • This grabs the reader's attention and creates curiosity.
  • When reviewing your writing, cut most of the introductory context and background, leaving only the last few sentences.
  • In school, you may have learned to write with a thesis statement at the end of an opening paragraph, but it's more effective to state your thesis statement right away.
  • Mistake 1: Starting with a bunch of introductory context, background, or fluff.
  • Mistake 2: Using passive voice instead of active voice.
  • Mistake 3: Overusing adverbs and adjectives.
  • Mistake 4: Not using strong verbs.
  • Mistake 5: Not varying sentence structure.
  • Mistake 6: Not proofreading your work.

Create a curiosity gap (00:24:30)

  • Begin with an attention-grabbing opening line that creates intrigue and compels the reader to continue reading.
  • Use the "mind the curiosity gap" technique to gradually reveal information and keep the reader engaged.
  • Test the effectiveness of your opening by covering up most of the text and ensuring that the first two sentences create a desire to read the next sentence.
  • Continue this process until the reader is invested and willing to read more detailed information.
  • Headlines are critical as 80-90% of readers only read the headline.
  • An ineffective headline can lead to readers skipping the content entirely.

Write like you talk (00:26:00)

  • Use juicy headlines to create curiosity and encourage readers to continue reading.
  • Avoid clickbait by delivering on the promise made in the headline.
  • Write in a conversational tone that reflects your natural speaking style.
  • If you can't explain a concept verbally, you're not ready to write about it.
  • Avoid using jargon and complex words that most people don't use in everyday speech.
  • Informal writing can be professional, and it's often more engaging than overly formal writing.
  • Stephen King's rule: any word you have to look up in a thesaurus is the wrong word.
  • Use simple language to explain complex ideas effectively.
  • Louis CK's writing is a great example of writing like you talk.
  • He uses simple language, humor, and personal anecdotes to connect with his audience.
  • His writing is relatable and engaging, making it easy for readers to understand and enjoy his work.

The voice memo test (00:29:00)

  • Louis CK Neville wrote a blog post about not stealing his specials and encouraging people to buy them directly.
  • Simple language and avoiding jargon is important for writing.
  • The voice memo test helps in choosing what to write about and avoiding unnecessary fluff and jargon.
  • The test involves sending a voice memo of no more than 60 seconds in the morning, summarizing the main points of the topic.
  • If the topic doesn't make it to the voice memo, it's likely not worth writing about.

Lower the reading level (00:31:30)

  • Write as if you are explaining the topic to a friend.
  • Use the voice memo test to ensure your writing is interesting.
  • Write to one person, as if you are having a conversation with them.
  • Aim for a reading level of around sixth to eighth grade.
  • Use tools like the Hemingway app to check the readability of your writing.

How to tell a great story (00:33:00)

  • Storytelling is an advanced skill for great writers.
  • Use storytelling to evoke emotions in your readers.
  • An example of a great story is the founder of Hint Water being told she would never succeed by a Coca-Cola executive.
  • The story went viral and resulted in millions of dollars in sales for Hint Water.

Intention meets obstacle (00:35:30)

  • A story is about someone wanting something and facing an obstacle.
  • The more the character wants something, the greater the obstacle.
  • The core element of any good story is intention and obstacle.
  • In a movie, the audience should be able to pause at any moment and say what the character wants and what's in their way.
  • Stakes are what is at stake if the character doesn't achieve their goal.
  • The true art of storytelling is establishing high stakes emotions in a low stakes environment.

High emotional stakes in a low stakes situation (00:39:00)

  • Establish high emotional stakes in a low stakes situation to make the reader care about the outcome.
  • Use relatable or small situations that carry emotional impact.
  • Example: Larry David's show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creates stories out of silly and small situations that are relatable and emotionally impactful.

Short sentences (00:40:00)

  • Use short sentences to make writing more understandable.
  • Example: Warren Buffett's annual shareholder letters became shorter and simpler over time, with words per sentence dropping from 17 to 13 and the reading level dropping from a 10th grade to a fourth grade level.
  • Short, simple sentences are key even in complicated environments.
  • Use a letter from the CEO as a tactic in a sales page to establish trust and credibility.
  • Example:, an alternative to Gmail, has a letter from the CEO on their sales page.

Great writing has rhythm (00:42:00)

  • Simple language is often more effective than complex language.
  • Varying sentence length creates rhythm and makes writing more interesting.
  • Use a combination of short, medium, and long sentences to create a pleasing sound.
  • Use tactics like periods instead of commas and starting sentences with conjunctions to change the rhythm and grab attention.
  • Copy work: Copying text with a good rhythm can help you internalize that rhythm and use it in your own writing.

Our favorite resources (00:45:00)

  • Stephen King's "On Writing" is recommended for its combination of biography and practical writing tools.
  • Theo Von, Dave Chappelle, Shane Gillis, and Louis C.K. are all masters of storytelling and capturing attention.
  • True Crime podcasts like those from Parcast excel at storytelling and creating tension.
  • Authenticity is key in storytelling and writing, as it attracts people who genuinely connect with your content.
  • Effective writing involves being authentic, finding your niche, and sharing your passion with the world.
  • Planning is important before starting any business, even if it's not a traditional business plan.
  • Copywork, the practice of copying text by hand, can be a valuable tool for improving writing skills.
  • The speaker's course on power writing and the website are recommended resources for further learning.

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