The Most Powerful Drug

“Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind” —Rudyard Kipling. Tips from writers about writing, courtesy of @bobbie and @readmatter.

Annalee Newitz on writing: “Having an editor makes me stronger and smarter”

io9's editor-in-chief discusses the power of the infodump and the edit.

Carl Zimmer on writing: “Don’t make a ship in a bottle”

Talking about complex ideas is tough. But for this NYT columnist, doing it well is the key to greatness.

Clive Thompson: “Reading poetry shakes up my brain”

The Wired and NYT Magazine writer explains how ‘intense, nutty’ poems can break your writing rut

Graham Linehan: “You often see scripts where there’s no subtext at all”

The creator of Father Ted talks redrafting, showing off, and the problem with day-glo scripts

Arikia Millikan: “Write for your future self”

Could insomnia be the writer’s greatest ally?

From her days as a science blogger for Seed, as research assistant…

Will Storr: “By definition, nobody can write like you”

Will Storr is a man of many talents. He’s an award-winning journalist, contributing editor at Esquire UK, and the author of both

Alok Jha on writing: “I wait for the fear to kick in”

The science journalist and presenter shares his tips

Jennifer Ouellette: “Nobody likes soda that’s been left open and gone flat”

Jennifer Ouellette occupies a unique space in science writing, wedged firmly between the scientists and

Joshua Davis: “If I don’t make it happen, I’ll end up back at the phone company”

On one level, Joshua Davis is a tech writer. But his pieces are really about people, from rogue software entrepreneurs to fake internet stars to precocious engineers. And few writers of any stripe investigate their subjects so doggedly, or recreate scenes with such cinematic flair.

Nick Harkaway: “The problem is always earlier than you think”

Nick Harkaway is the author of several acclaimed books, including Angelmaker, a gangster-spy thriller featuring a

Aleks Krotoski: “Break your relationship with what you think you have in your head”

We’ve known the journalist, broadcaster and academic Aleks Krotoski for a long time, and she’s

Raj Patel on why writers should make time for naps

Raj Patel writes passionately and articulately about social justice. His most recent book, The Value of Nothing, looked at life after

Ed Harris: “Wanting to write is a ridiculous idea”

Ed Harris is a playwright, radio dramatist and poet. A regular on BBC Radio 4, his alternate reality war-time thriller The Resistance

Mac McClelland: “I almost always write while walking”

Mac McClelland is a reporter and author, and former human rights reporter for Mother Jones. She’s the winner of a ton of awards for

Geeta Dayal: “Writers shouldn’t be afraid to take the difficult path”

Author and journalist Geeta Dayal wears her influences pretty clearly: with a background in cognitive

Tim Harford: “You don’t need anyone’s permission to write”

Tim Harford’s deft touch and deep knowledge has made him one of the clearest, sanest communicators about economics around. A

David Dobbs: “Exquisite wisdom can be hard to follow”

David Dobbs is absolutely one of my favourite science writers: the author of great features and essays for the New York Times

Ben Goldacre and his Giant Archive of Crap

Ben Goldacre has built a career on his ability to expose the dodgy scientific claims made by drug companies, bureaucrats, quacks and the news

The spectacular serendipity of being a science writer 

Author and journalist Mark Henderson cut his teeth as science editor of The Times in London, before becoming…

Jon Ronson: “Don’t let your writing be a dead shark”

As a New York Times-bestselling author, journalist, documentary maker and now screenwriter, Jon Ronson has a…

Alexis Madrigal: “Follow your own curiosity”

A short version of this interview was previously published in Overmatter, the weekly email from digital longform publisher MATTER. Sign up for

Tom Standage: “Go back over your writing again and again”

By day, Tom Standage is digital editor of The Economist. By night, he’s the author of some amazing books on how the

Naomi Alderman: “Writing is mostly tricks for keeping yourself writing”

Naomi Alderman, author of Disobedience and The Liar’s Gospel, was recently picked out by Granta as one of

The Most Powerful Drug
The Most Powerful Drug

“Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind” —Rudyard Kipling. Tips from writers about writing, courtesy of @bobbie and @readmatter.

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