onwritingwell.jpg

Writing isn't easy and it isn't fun. It's hard and lonely and the words seldom flow.

Rewriting is the essence of writing.

Establish a daily schedule and stick to it.

Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.

Strip every sentence to its cleanest components.

Writers must constantly ask: what am I trying to say?

Clutter is the laborious phrase that has pushed out the short word that means the same thing.

Put brackets around every component in a piece of writing that isn't doing useful work.

A fundamental rule: Be yourself. Relax and have confidence.

Write in the first person: use "I", "me", "we", "us". It retains the humanity.

You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for. If you lose the dullards back in the dust, you don't want them anyway.

Never say anything in writing that you wouldn't comfortably say in conversation.

Writing is learned by imitation. Make a habit of reading what is being written today and what was written by the masters.

Considerations of sound and rhythm should go in everything you write.

Good usage consists of using good words if they already exist to express myself clearly and simply to someone else.