[Question] How do you write original rationalist essays?

I really enjoy Scott Alexander’s and Paul Graham’s essays. How can I practice to learn to write as they do?

I’m getting pretty okay at writing tutorials, where I just walk people through the process of completing some project. I’m also okay at research-based posts—it’s not that difficult to gather information from the internet and compile my own summary that is hopefully useful to other people.

But I don’t understand how PG and SSC create such insightful essays seemingly by making them up (I’m talking about the SSC posts where he just shares his thoughts, not the ones where he analyzes studies or teaches you more than you ever wanted to know about x).

I can share things I have learned from experience, I can try to explain complicated subjects in more accessible ways, but none of these approaches will lead to essays that I see so many of at Less Wrong. People seem to just sit down, and generate interesting, original, and unique thoughts through the process of writing itself, by “thinking on paper”. Or maybe not, I don’t know.

Aside from just being born naturally very smart and gifted, is there anything that can be done to learn to write like this?

How do people like Scott Alexander, Paul Graham, Eliezer Yudkowsky, etc, just think of all these unique and original things? It seems like they just have a boundless source of ideas, every paragraph is insightful, and most of these thoughts are something they just came up with, not something they have learned elsewhere. Not just that, it seems that they come up with them as they are writing the post, not through collecting random epiphanies a person has now and then. Like, they can generate these epiphanies intentionally, on demand.

I guess the more general question is—how to I get better at creative, original thinking?

I have spent years practicing “creative” skills—traditional and digital art, writing, gamedev, programming, fiction. I’ve made a lot of things, I’m pretty proud of some of my projects, I’m getting pretty decent at some of these skills. But gun to my head—I can’t seem to just sit down and make up an original non-fiction essay worthy of Less Wrong (or even my personal blog), even a simple one. What’s wrong with me?