How to Write (Almost) Anything, From a Great Joke to a Killer Cover Letter

There’s an old saying attributed to legendary sports journalist Red Smith: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” The technology may have changed since the 1940s; the painful parts, unfortunately, haven’t. But that’s no reason for despair. Whether you’re just looking to punch up your tweets or have ambitions to write the Great American Novel, we’ve got you covered with this collection of great articles about the craft of writing, well, just about anything.

How to Write the Perfect Sentence

Joe Moran • The Guardian

Orwell advised cutting as many words as possible, Woolf found energy in verbs, and Baldwin aimed for ‘a sentence as clean as a bone’. What can we learn from celebrated authors about the art of writing well?

How to Write a Jeopardy Clue

John Wenz • Popular Mechanics

What is, “very carefully?”

A Linguist Explains How to Write Protest Signs That Everyone Will Remember

Daniel Midgley • Quartz

When you make a protest sign, you’re working with considerable linguistic constraints: Space is limited by what you (and your friends) can carry, and if you’re marching, your reader will have to absorb your message quickly, making sign-writing a tough task.

How to Write a Joke

The New York Times

Jerry Seinfeld describes the anatomy of his Pop-Tart joke, still a work in progress, and shows his longhand writing process.

7 Expert-Approved Ways to Write a Better To-Do List

Virginia Hughes • Mental Floss

Organizing tasks on paper is a tried and true method for getting things done. Here are some types of to-do lists that may be right for you.

How to Write a Poem

T. Rachel Cole • The Creative Independent

A guide to reading and writing poetry for people who don’t (yet) read or write poetry.

How to Write Email with Military Precision

Kabir Sehgal • Harvard Business Review

A few tips on how to quickly and clearly relay information and avoid miscommunication.

Perfect Thank You Notes: Heartfelt And Handwritten

NPR Weekend Edition

Ten tips for writing the perfect thank you note from John Kralik, author of 365 Thank Yous.

How to Write — and Read — Recipes Better

Bonnie S. Benwick • Heated

It’s a two-way street toward clarity and comprehension

How to Write a Condolence Note

Joanna Goddard • Cup of Jo

When a person is bereaved, the simple, sincere expressions of sympathy you write are deeply felt and appreciated. At this time of withdrawal from the world, your letter can be a warm and understanding handclasp.

How to Write a Great Song, According to Singer-Songwriter Neko Case

Emily VanDerWerff • Vox

“[Songwriting] is work. Experience, selection, taste. None of those things are something that happens to you. You’re not just an antenna.”

How to Write a Letter

Brett & Kate McKay • Art of Manliness

While email and texts have become the standard form of written communication in today’s fast-paced, digital world, there’s still a place for old-fashioned, snail mail letters.

How to Write Genuinely Useful Reviews Online

Alan Henry • Lifehacker

The best online reviews offer up the kind of information that’s invaluable when making a decision. Here’s how you can write those kinds of reviews.

How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Get You a Job

Alison Green • The Cut

Ten personalized, compelling cover letters are likely to get you far more interview invitations than 50 generic ones will.

How to Write a Killer Commencement Speech

Kara Alaimo • Bloomberg

Be personal. Be clear-sighted. And don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

How to Write a Bestselling Novel

Emma Cook • The Guardian

Everyone has a book in them, but how do you get it out? Here are some great tips from the ‘book doctor’ Philippa Pride.

How to Write a Book Without Losing Your Mind

Olga Khazan • The Atlantic

Expert advice on ending procrastination and finishing that manuscript, dissertation, or other big project.

How to Write 10,000 Words a Week

Drew Magary • Forge

The most productive writers know that writing is only one step in a larger process.

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