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Seven things the best online writers do that don’t rely on brains

Alex Mathers
4 min readNov 25, 2023


Ask an inexperienced writer about the game of writing online, and many will describe it as an intellectual pursuit.

Years of writing have shown me that this is, for the most part, not the case.

The best writers know that conventionally understood forms of intelligence are NOT required to write things people love.

Brains and personal expertise on a topic will, of course, contribute to some good pieces.

The majority, however, of what makes an outstanding writer and a superb body of work goes far beyond IQ or intellectual intelligence.

Here’s what I mean:

1. They write into the writing mood.

Some of the best writing we see originates in an initially terrible first draft. Great writers don’t try and write gold straight away.

They know the immense value of writing whatever comes to mind in the initial stage of writing anything. It’s in this phase that the mind loosens.

Refreshing and intelligent insights come to the fore without fuss or strain.

You don’t need to be in the mood to write well. It rarely starts that way.

But you can write yourself into the spirit if you are first willing to write anything, free of judgement.

2. Write about shit that genuinely interests them.

It shouldn’t be a bigger problem than it is, but many writers resort to writing about things they don’t enjoy writing about.

They write what they think they ‘should’ be writing. They write for a dreary, narrow niche. I see this all the time.

Then they wonder why their work isn’t resonating with their readers.

You need to feel your words at a higher frequency for others to enjoy what you’ve shared. This starts with focusing on topics that are on your mind to begin with.

Go there, then triple down on the topics that work for you.

3. Write for themselves first.