On Writing Well

If you want to sharpen your nonfiction writing skills, look no further than On Writing Well by Willian Zinsser. This book provides the reader with invaluable information to build a piece with simple, clear, and concise words.

Tidy thinking is greatly encouraged by tidy writing. The best writers create linearly, building one idea upon another. The words are vibrant and useful, and ambiguity is banished for hacks to pick up*. Deliberately choosing meaningful words when writing crosses over to effective speaking. One of my hopes for writing everyday is to become better at speaking with lucidity.

Here are some helpful hints from On Writing Well off the top of my head:

  1. Use “however”  at the beginning of a sentence, not the end.

  2. *Don’t worry about ending a sentence with a preposition; especially if doing so makes the writing sound less stilted.

  3. Use humor (something I’m really trying to get better at wielding).

  4. Build and maintain a personae.

  5. Edit and trim. Then edit and trim some more.

Becoming a better nonfiction writer helps in many areas of life. With all the emails, texts, blogs, tweets, and memos that are ubiquitous in our personal and work lives, developing good communication skills has never been more important.