Maria Konnikova, in her blog post on Scientific American, quotes Ed Cooke with an idea that would let writers improve their writing.

It’s related to the way I once heard that Benjamin Franklin learned to write. He’d take any piece of text that had impressed him, write a summary of it and leave it for a few days. Once he had lost memory of the exact wording, he’d try to reproduce it from his description. He’d find that by comparing what he came up with against the original text, he’d be confronted with subtleties he’d not noticed first time round, and therefore learn how these great writers maneuvered round ideas.

As Oscar Wilde wrote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Do you ever feel like your writing is horrible? That you aren’t making progress and you aren’t becoming a better writer?

Pick an author you admire and a work you think is exceptional. Then follow Benjamin Franklin’s practice as described above.

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