ThinkFWD Workshop Recap: Writing Dumb with James Dowd

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Written by Digital Surgeons,
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Write Dumb by James Dowd

Just a few weeks ago, ThinkFWD hosted a four-hour interactive writing workshop, and it was SUPER DUMB.

In a good way.

That’s because the workshop was designed around the book Write Dumb: Writing Better by Thinking Less, which was written by Digital Surgeons’ James Dowd, who was joined by fellow DS writers, Jimmy Burt and Zac Zuber-Zander for a goofy, yet information-packed series of writing tips and exercises.

write dumb writer's workshop

From small business owners to chefs, the writing workshop saw a wonderful range of professionals joining in who didn’t necessarily consider themselves ‘writers’ beforehand. But, regardless of what they do for work or fun, they were looking to think simpler and write better, faster, and effectively by learning to overcome their fears, anxiety, self-doubt, and excess of thought when it comes to putting words to the page.

More writing workshops will, of course, be hosted throughout 2020, but, since you missed this one, here are three simple writing tips to fuel your work, no matter what you do for a living.

Top 3 Dumb Writing Tips You Missed

Think Less, Write More: Whatever you’re doing, you’re overthinking it. You think about what you’re going to write, and you call it writing. You’re not writing, you’re thinking. They’re different. In fact, try to write a great email in your brain. Go on. We’ll wait. Fine, we know you didn’t. Anyways, when you try to write the whole email, you will surely do great..for a while. But, by the time you get to the end, whoosh, the beginning is gone. Your brain just can’t remember everything you want to write down. You have to put it on the page. Fill the page, fix it later! Ruminating is not writing.

You’re Already a Great Writer: Your brain is just an asshole. Seriously, it curses you with knowledge and the sense of self. With knowing things, your brain assumes everyone knows it, too (They probably don’t, or they wouldn’t be reading your writing). Meanwhile, your brain is so protective of who it thinks you are, it inhibits your writing, so as not to allow anyone to judge you. What a jerk! Ignore it. You went to school for years. You read words every single day in many forms. You’re a writer. You got this! Write Dumb.

Be Dumber Than Your Reader: No one wants to see you show off through your writing. They don’t want to look up your fancy words, and they certainly want, and need, to understand what you’re saying. So, simplify, express yourself clearly, without overthinking it, and don’t try to impress anyone. Your reader will not only appreciate understanding what you’re saying, they’ll feel good about themselves. Make them feel smart by writing dumb.

write dumb by james dowd book

Hey, we got a review!

“I was hesitant to sign up for a writing workshop because ‘I’m not a writer’ but as I quickly learned, that wasn’t true. We’re all writers and I greatly benefited from the tips and tools shared. I now have a better understanding of how to approach my writing – AND the lessons apply to other crafts as well. Happy to say I have the book, Write Dumb, and I’m looking forward to putting everything I learned to use in my business.” — Steve Walter, Photographer

Interested in joining the next writing event, or even bringing the ThinkFWD writers to your business for help unlocking writing skills in your employees? Head over to, and let us know!