Writing advice from David Ogilvy and the guy who wrote ‘Fight Club’

The famous adman explains his 12-step process, while Chuck Palahniuk shares his 13 best tips for writers. Those stories and more in this edition of The Week in Writing.

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Also, a behind-the-scenes look at the State of the Union speech, why digital writing is fragmented, and The New York Times adopts “Web first” writing.

David Ogilvy: “I am a lousy copywriter.” In 1955, famous adman David Ogilvy replied to a letter asking about his habits as a copywriter, which Ogilvy labeled “appalling.” He then lists his 12-step process for producing ad copy. This includes leaving the office, researching 20 years’ worth of ads, throwing away his first 20 attempts, drinking rum, and listening to Handel. He sums up the process this way: “Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.” Read his letter at Letters of Note.

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