An incomplete set of principles

An incomplete set of principles for writing that’s designed to elicit meaningful political action in these perilously disengaged times.

  1. Structure sets you free.
  2. Find, test, invent new words to posit something new. Avoid negative examples or negative characterisations. Don’t say what it’s not like; say what it is. 
  3. Use the imperative whenever possible in an advocacy piece.
  4. Read while writing. Not as a practice or a habit that you maintain, but as something you’re actually doing at the very same time. Switch and switch back. Know where you are.
  5. Give examples.
  6. Power over banality. Powerful tension; paradox over straight fact.
  7. Use counter-intuitives to stress a truth.
  8. Develop an ear as well as an eye for scansion, texture, sound. Balance short and long sentences. Words. 
  9. Create the future that the piece heralds. Write as though it is already here and expects something of us. Make a personal commitment to the future you’re always already creating. 
  10. Plan unintended consequences.

IMAGE: Collingwood Yards under construction. Photo by Esther Anatolitis.