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There’s Only One Way to Improve Your Writing

“Without entering into the discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about the manner of my writing; observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling and pointing (which I ow’d to the printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances. I saw the justice of his remark, and thence grew more attentive to the manner in writing, and determined to endeavor at improvement.” – Ben Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

It’s easy to think you’re good at writing. I’m excellent at watching my spelling and punctuation, etc., for example. But there are so many other facets to writing than putting words onto a page.

When somebody showed Ben Franklin where he was falling short in his writing, he didn’t roll his eyes or complain that he “should be” better at this (like I often do). He paid attention and got determined.

That’s what we all need to do – and not just in writing. We all need to “endeavor at improvement”, and it takes rolling up our sleeves and doing the work. Putting the effort in is the first – and really, the only – step.

benjamin franklin, criticism, improvement