On Writing Well – Book Review

When I asked caddy-turned-ghostwriter, Mark Eglington, what I could do to write better, he told me to read On Writing Well, by William Zinsser. I’d read it about ten years ago, but I took Eglington’s advice and reread it.

Zinsser’s advice on writing well is simple: Be clear. Be concise. Be human.

Simple advice.

Simple, but not easy.

Be clear. Be simple. Be brief. But overall be true to yourself. Make that your credo. If you’re true to your humanity, there’s no way you won’t write well.

William Zinser

Clarity

Zinser says writing is just thinking on paper. If done well, you can make any subject clear. If you’re not going to be clear, why even bother?

Sometimes a negative example is best. Don’t write like the White House press secretary talks:

Simplicity

Use simple words. Never write anything you wouldn’t say in conversation.

Brevity

Most of your writing could be cut in half and still get your point across. In fact, it will probably be better. Cut the fat.

Humanity

Take the reader on a trip. Use humor. Tell a funny story. If you find it funny, someone else might too.

Practice Often

Make writing a habit. The only way to get better at writing is to do it often. Any method you use to write more is okay. Write by dictation. Write from your phone. The important thing is to set aside time to write.

What Should You Write About?

Write for yourself. You’ll draw readers in if you write about things you are interested in. If you try to write for others, your writing will suffer.

Write what you know. Write about your hobbies. Write about hunting, fishing, sewing, running, cooking, or cars. It doesn’t matter what you write about. What matters is that you add your humanity and enthusiasm to it.

Get Your Writing Out There

I hope these tips help you get started writing. If you’re looking to get your ideas out there to the world, check out my post on how to start a blog.

On Writing Well Audiobook on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.