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All You Need To Know About Writing Well From Acclaimed Writer William Zinsser

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Why do some people write so well, and others, not so well? We often attribute good writing to language mastery and years of practice. While these two factors definitely help in our writing well, there are other equally important reasons.

William Zinsser, author of the book On Writing Well, breaks down the craft of writing to help us understand what it means to write. This book has sold 1.5 million copies and is regarded as one of the best guides to writing well. To know more about writing well, there are few people better than William Zinsser to turn to.

Photo from Dare To Be Better

Read and imitate

“If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it.”

Simplify your sentences

“Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Re-examine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something useless just because you think it’s beautiful? Simplify, simplify.”

Keep them short

“There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough.”

Write and rewrite

“I then said that rewriting is the essence of writing. I pointed out that professional writers rewrite their sentences over and over and then rewrite what they have rewritten.”

And if there’s only one thing you take away from this post, let it be this:

“But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every words that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what–these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence.”

William Zinsser, On Writing Well

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