Good writing illuminates surprising things about reality. It must therefore be grounded in reality. Losing touch with reality is boring.
The best way to keep your writing grounded in reality is to write concretely. Don't write "the United States committed war crimes". Write "the United States firebombed women and children". Personal experience is always concrete.
- Don't argue. Arguing shifts your focus from things to ideas. It distances you from empirical reality. Don't anticipate counterarguments. Preemptive counterargument is form of arguing.
- Don't write positively about other peoples' opinions. I love George Orwell but putting him on a pedestal is no less shallow than arguing against him.
Writing about facts, feelings and faith is fine. Fiction has its place too. What you shouldn't write about is other peoples' beliefs. Doing so opens the Box of Infinite Recursion and ultimately leads to the Black Hole of Drama.
Reversed conformity is orthogonal to independent thought. Independent thought equals ignoring others' opinions.
Most people are right most of the time about most things. Deviating from consensus makes you less correct on average. How correct you are on average is unimportant when you are inventing radical ideas. You must weigh according to impact.
- Personal attacks cause collateral damage. Before you make a personal attack you should be extremely confident that your claim is true and that the good will outweigh the harm.
- It's worth publishing weird ideas even when most of them are wrong because if you publish a weird idea and your idea is good then it will be adopted by many people whereas if the idea is bad then it will be quickly forgotten.
Make your claims easy to falsify. Claims that aren't falsifiable aren't grounded in reality.
Unsurprising facts are boring. Good writing focuses on the surprising ones. If you're ignoring others' opinions then "surprising" means "surprising to you". Explore.
Surprise is temporary. If you discover something surprising then you should write about it immediately, before you acclimatize.