15 writing tips from great 20th-century authors

Hemingway, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Orwell—even a couple of guys named Strunk & White—offer insights about keeping text lively and informative.

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Although bloggers and novelists have different roles, we’ve gathered some favorite writing tips from outstanding authors of the 20th century.

Their timeless advice applies as well to your next blog post as it does to fiction. Use these tips to improve your blog writing skills and avoid some of the pitfalls that tend to detract from quality.

Ernest Hemingway

Staring at a blank Word document? Ernest Hemingway had a simple trick for overcoming writer’s block:

1. To get started, write one true sentence.

“Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going … I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.”

Let’s say you’re writing about global versus local supply chains. One thing you know—your one true sentence—might be, “Supply chains have become more complex over the last five years to meet global demands.” That’ll work nicely as a starting point to build on.

2. Be brief. Hemingway had little regard for writers who, as he put it, “never learned how to say no to a typewriter.” If you can say something clearly in 20 words, leave it at that.

David Ogilvy

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