Illustrations: Katya Dorokhina

How to Write Anything

How to Write an Article Millions of People Will Read

The key is specificity

Published in
5 min readMay 19, 2020

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This story is part of Forge’s How to Write Anything series, where we give you tips, tricks, and principles for writing all the things we write in our daily lives online, from tweets to articles to dating profiles.

I’ve written more than 300 stories on Medium since 2015. Some have gotten crickets, but many have been read and shared by millions of people interested in self-improvement, productivity, and personal finance.

Over the years, readers have asked me how they can write stories that more people will want to read. I’ve wondered this myself. What makes people care about what I have to say, anyway? I run a business, but I don’t have a degree in financial planning, or training as a life coach. I’m not a professional journalist.

But after looking back at my stories — from “How to Stop Overthinking” to “You Don’t Need Motivation — You Need a System” to “10 Bad Habits of Unsuccessful People” — I can share one thing about writing. That is, to really connect with people, you need to go deeper, not wider. Here are some ways to do that.

Pick a single reader

The more people you can appeal to, the larger your audience will be and the more success you’ll have, right? Entrepreneurs often think this way, too, and set out to create products or services for the masses. But here’s what I know: When you try to make something for everyone, it usually serves no one.

So I think of one person.

Before I write a story, I ask myself: “Who is this for?” For instance, when I sit down to write a piece about personal finance, I imagine I’m writing an email to my friend Quincy. Quincy has a 9-to-5 job, three kids, several hobbies, and a regular workout schedule. He cares about personal finance, but doesn’t have time to read dozens of books…

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