5 writing tips from Abraham Lincoln

Not one for soaring hyperbole, Abe kept even his writing honest—and to the point. His style and preparation methods hold valuable lessons for writers of all levels.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Lincoln's writing lessons

Occasionally, if you are lucky, you come across a book on how a great writer writes. Such is Lincoln’s Sword by Douglas L. Wilson. No American president’s writings are as well known as those of Abraham Lincoln.

His First and Second Inaugurals, and the Gettysburg address survive in part for the music of Lincoln’s words, but that music served a purpose: His style served the content masterfully.

Here are a few things any writer can learn from Abraham Lincoln, as revealed by Wilson:

1. To convince, you must first understand. Good writers are good teachers. To persuade someone to abandon one position for another requires that you show some empathy. Lincoln told a colleague…

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.