· 2 min read

Question Driven Writing

Improving quality and speed of writing by transferring a well-known software development practice.

What is question-driven writing?

QWD is a way of outlining an idea or an essay by writing questions that can be answered instead of usual topics or subtopics.

Where did I pick up question-driven writing from?

I first read about questions via Jordan Peterson’s essay writing guide. Since I am a developer, this seemed very similar to TDD. So I gave it a similar name to help tune myself into the same zone.

How does question-driven writing help clear thinking and write better?

Typically when we write, we write something and then aim to push the quality and purpose of it.

QWD helps clarify the quality and purpose upfront. This kind of becomes a failing test like in TDD. This gives something to aim at. Now, when you answer the question, you’ll answer it precisely without dealing with other related questions/topics.

How does QDW help in breaking up paragraphs, and blogposts?

QDW also naturally breaks up paragraphs and groups related paragraphs together. Also, if you have many unrelated questions, you could break up your essay into multiple essays. (#cleanCode)

QDW forces us to have one main idea per essay.

How to do QDW? To do QDW, start by writing the topic name. And all the questions you have related to the topic.

Once you have a bunch of them written down, start answering them.

You’ll find some questions that can be grouped, group them.


What are the similarities between QDW and TDD?

  • Both TDD and QDW set the expectation of writing beforehand.
  • Both lead to precise writing.
  • Both reduce overall writing time.

Does QDW take more time?

By having precise writing and a clear aim, QDW reduces blank screen problems.

The cost of precision saves more time overall.

When you have a new essay idea, just write all the intents in form of questions. And you will more likely remember how to write it.

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