On Writing To Discover New Ideas

Headline: Writing is a Tool for Making New Ideas

Sub-headline: Not just communicating ideas that already exist



AUGUST 22, 2022

Florian Klauer / Unsplash
This essay is brought to you by Sora Schools, a pioneering middle & high school where students are free to pursue their interests and learn in their own way.

Hey all—Dan here. Today we have a post from guest writer Eliot Peper. Eliot’s the author of 10 sci-fi novels and he also does strategy consulting for startups and venture firms. At Every we care a lot about writing—and this short piece will help you think differently about the role writing can play in your thinking and your creative process. I hope you enjoy it :slight_smile:

Some writers love planning. The legendary creative nonfiction writer and teacher John McPhee, who helped shape the voice of the New Yorker, draws detailed structural diagrams and outlines every story with extraordinary precision before he embarks on a draft.

Readers can be forgiven for assuming that extensive outlining is the norm. In school, English teachers assign five paragraph essays that proceed in lockstep from thesis to conclusion. The way many of us are taught to write makes writing appear to be the act of typing out a preexisting idea.

This is the assumption most people start with:

  1. Figure out what you want to say.

  2. Write it down.

  3. Congrats, you’re a writer!