10 Key Principles for Writers: Purpose, Pattern, and Process

10 Key Principles for Writers: Purpose, Pattern, and Process


  1. “Purpose” is to writing what gravity is to the solar system: it helps hold things together in powerful and harmonious patterns.
  2. Remember that “purpose” (why you are writing) and “audience” (whom you are writing for) are critical factors in all writing.
  3. Target the text to the readers. Build it around what you want them to know and/or do. And get as close to your intended meaning as possible.


  1. Remember that “bad grammar” is the consequence of breaking a well-established pattern in phrasing. Identify the grammatical patterns that give you difficulty and then learn how to spot and correct them.
  2. Use “GI” (Generalization followed by Illustration). Make your main points more tangible, convincing, and memorable by providing examples that support them.
  3. When in doubt, cut it out. Edit out unnecessary words and details.
  4. Use words as clearly as possible. As you revise, replace imprecise or unnecessarily abstract phrasing with more direct and concrete phrasing.


  1. When you write, write. If you’re not putting words on paper, maybe you’re not writing.
  2. Before you write anything more than a simple document, make a plan.
  3. To check the quality of your writing, read it aloud to yourself. Good writing always sounds good.

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