Three More Ways to Learn to Write

The book Follow the Story, by James B. Stewart, helped me tremendously. It’s less about the mechanics of a sentence, more about overall structuring, emphasis on building the reader’s curiosity and driving them through the narrative. The book is great—I should probably read it again. For a time, it was given to every Wall Street Journal writer when they joined the paper. —Luke Mullins

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at The Washingtonian.
I’m guessing that over time I’ve just learned how to do it. But I remember one editor years ago taught me to close all holes. It wasn’t that she taught me specifically to do this, but that I learned I had to know what I was talking about and address any questions or counterarguments a reader might have because she would ask those questions and make those counterarguments. It was a way for me to shorten the editing process and I learned something about writing while doing it. —Ben Armbruster

Ben Armbruster is national security editor for at the Center for American Progress.
When it comes to writing, I think of my brain as a car and reading as the fuel. If I don’t devour books, magazines, and newspapers, the car doesn’t go. When I am blocked, reading always helps get me back into a zone where I can write. There is so much well-crafted television now too—I think there are a lot of great lessons for writers in shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men. I am very grateful to early mentors who taught me that you have to read much to write well.—Jessica Voelker

Jessica Voelker is the online dining editor at The Washingtonian. Previously, she was the lifestyle editor at Seattle Met magazine and she developed television shows for National Geographic.

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