3 Tips from Ben Franklin on Writing

Great Seal of the United States
Great Seal of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” ~ Ben Franklin

I recommend learning to write from a master, Ben Franklin.  Read his autobiography or get the tips from How to Write like Ben on frugalmarketing.com. Here’s a summary from the article:

  1. Role-Model Reading: Ben read and thoroughly studied the themes and styles of authors he enjoyed reading, even taking notes.
  2. Flatter By Imitation: Next, Ben would copy the piece of writing and then a few days later he would try to write it from memory, but using his own words.
  3. Organize Your Mental Toolbox: Ben would often see that his re-written work was jumbled.  He would compare his re-write to the outline of the original work and rearrange his piece to match the original flow.
The blogger, John Forde, also suggests how to use tabbed-outline software for step 3. You’ll want to read the whole article.


7 thoughts on “3 Tips from Ben Franklin on Writing

  1. I so agree that we should learn to write — really learn anything — through imitation and modeling. Why do we always think we need to forge our own path or reinvent the wheel? This has been my philosophy for homeschooling for years. I’m just now realizing that I need to apply those principles in my own life, too!

    Thanks for sharing these links on Ben Franklin. I’ll be reading his autobiography with my teenagers this year in school. Now we have some tracks to run on!


    1. Hi, Julie,

      Great idea to study Ben’s autobiography for homeschool. I wish I’d thought of that when I was homeschooling my three. Glad to help. Let me know how it goes.

      I’ve taken some “creative writing” classes in the past and realize from this post that I still need to be proactive and growing in this area. It’s a little daunting to think about putting the effort in that Franklin did, but I’m thinking of writing more, so I’d better carve out the time!


  2. Sus, Thanks for posting this. Obviously, the greatest message I get from “Ben” is that to write well takes work. Don’t just expect it to happen! I really like the idea of reading and then trying to re-write at a later time. I have always felt that since we got the ability to copy material and pass it on, we lost some of our ability to intelligently pass on what we have learned and think is valuable. That seems to overlook thinking and processing well what we are reading.


    1. Hi, Anne, good to hear from you. I hope you and Jim are doing well.

      I like your points about processing what we’re learning and passing it along. I believe God is directing me in this area to write more devotional and inspirational content on my two other blogs. As you say, it takes time and practice to learn how to write well. It also will take time to start setting aside time for intentional ministry in this area of my blogging ministry.

      Thanks for your thoughts and send me an update on Jim’s health, please!


  3. Thanks for posting advice from Ben. He was an excellent writer. I’m currently writing curriculum that allows students to put his advice into practice. Would you mind looking at it when I’m done?


  4. Anne Marie, I’d love to see your curriculum, too. I find myself teaching writing in various homeschool and ministry settings often.


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