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“That’s the one thing you never do” she said

I dated a woman for about five months before I moved away from my hometown at 26 years old to begin my Ph.D.

As a country girl, she was very different from me, which I loved.

She was relaxed, easy going, and laid back; I was uptight, anxious, and worried about the future.

Whenever I’d make the hour-long trek to her house to spend the weekend with her, a soothing sensation of calm would wash over me as I felt ever more at peace the closer I got to her house.

Spending time with her never felt like a chore…


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A pivotal lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way

Sitting in my car, tears welling up in my eyes, panic running through my body, I said the following to my ex over the bluetooth system:

“I don’t have any reason to stay in this city if we’re not together! You’re the only thing keeping me here!”

Her: “You can’t say that to me! That’s not fair!”

Me: “Well, it’s true! I don’t!”

Her: “This is too much for me…”

Me: “I need you! I want to work things out!”

Her: “I know that, and I already told you I need some time to think about what I want! …


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A comprehensive examination of how engaging in philosophical analysis will make you a much stronger thinker and writer

In this piece I’m going to argue and demonstrate through the use of various examples that if you’re serious about becoming a stronger writer, you should invest time into the study of philosophy.

Engaging with philosophical puzzles and ways of thinking will significantly improve your capacity to think through, make sense of, and write about your ideas in clear, logical, and systematic ways.

It will bring you a clarity of thought and expression you might not believe you can actually achieve.

Because what follows is a very detailed and rather intellectually demanding analysis, here’s a preview of the key elements…


#4: “Make definite assertions and avoid noncommittal language.”

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Amongst both writers and editors, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is one of the most cherished and celebrated books on writing. The text’s chapter on style encourages writers to “be clear” whenever they put words to paper (or screen) (1979, p. 79).

Here’s what Strunk and White tell us about the relationship between clarity and writing:

“[S]ince writing is communication, clarity can only be a virtue. And although there is no substitute for merit in writing, clarity comes closest to being one. Even to a writer who is being intentionally obscure or wild of tongue we can say…


#3. How much will you distort the truth?

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As a writer, you face a barrage of questions every day.

Some have to do with the content of writing: “What should I blog about next?” “Is this topic popular enough for me to address?”

Others pertain to writing style and voice: “What’s the most engaging way for me to present this information?” “How do I find my own writing voice rather than mimic what’s in vogue?”

Still others relate to the practice of writing itself: “How can I find the motivation to publish more stories?” “At what points in the day am I most productive?”

There are other questions…


#4: You’re neglecting the marketing side of writing

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Whenever you set out to write something that other people will enthusiastically read, engage with, and share with others, you must approach your writing in a different way than you would if you were merely writing for yourself.

Creating content that attracts and retains other peoples’ attention requires more than just decent writing and an interesting perspective. It also requires explicit strategizing, a commitment to patience and growth over the long term, and an audience-first mindset that prioritizes the reading experience over the writing experience.

As writers, we sometimes get so wrapped up in the writing process and in the…


Quick and easy changes for better writing

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Some aspects of improving your writing require a lot more time and effort to master than others do. Learning how to think critically, organize your ideas, and incorporate the advice of accomplished writers is far more demanding than fixing grammatical errors, removing redundancies, and correcting your use of tricky phrases.

In this article, I’m going to share with you seven quick changes you can make to your writing that will improve the intelligibility, persuasiveness, and readability of your words. Some of these changes are technical; others are concerned with writing style.

When reading what follows, keep in mind that I’m…


Four must-follow steps for ultra productive writing

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Over the past 15+ years, I’ve experimented with many different strategies for creating the conditions that give rise to an effective writing session.

Four methods in particular have proven to be especially useful to me.

Each of the practices discussed below will help you feel your best and think as clearly as possible so you can write to the best of your ability.

1. Actively Block Out All Distractions

Here are three key facts about writing:

  1. Writing is intellectually demanding (yet highly rewarding).
  2. Great writing is the product of focused attention and hard thinking.
  3. It’s extremely easy to become distracted whilst writing.

Writing is the externalization…


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My parents’ separation put hate inside my heart, but the hate didn’t last because their love for me never waned

My parents separated for good when I was four years old.

My only memory of my mom and dad as a couple is of the two of them yelling at each other in the upstairs bathroom of the house in which I grew up.

Weekend visitation, separate birthday celebrations, child support payments and lawyers, scheduling conflicts and babysitters, two families that virtually never spoke to each other, one parent threatening to have the other one discipline me, envying the kids at school whose moms and dads lived at home with them — this was the norm for the first two…


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Four telltale signs that it’s time to move on

We were an hour and a half into our five-hour drive when it happened.

I had had a bad feeling about the trip before we left. I knew something like this was going to occur.

“I don’t feel well. I think I’m going to be sick” she said.

I pulled off the highway and parked in the lot of a roadside coffee shop.

She went inside.

After a few minutes, she returned to the car.

“Are you okay? What happened?” I asked.

“I threw up in the bathroom” she replied.

She had been in great spirits 90 minutes earlier when…

Nico Ryan

Ph.D. Candidate | Writer | Editor | Consultant | TikTok: vm.tiktok.com/tyB9vb | Website: nicothewriter.com | Newsletter: eepurl.com/c87lPj

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