On Writing Well is one of my favorite books. It has inspired me to keep improving my writing. It’s one of several books I’ve got in my Billy bookcase to develop my writing (blogging) skills and styles. There are so many key elements that the author, William Zinsser, covered to help most aspiring writers to find their strenght and learn to craft. Develop your own style, your own voice. Be a writer. With his great advice, you can turn your passion into a profession. One of his advices is: “Fighting clutter is like fighting weeds — the writer is always slightly behind. New varieties sprout overnight, and by noon they are part of American speech.”
If you want to gain fundamental principals of being a writer, this is the book you should have with you of all time.
All in all, William Zinsser is the king father of “The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction”.
The New York Times’s Douglas Martin wrote about the author and his larger than life book:
It became a book that editors and teachers encouraged writers to reread annually in the manner of another classic on the craft of writing, “The Elements of Style,” by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.
His advice was straightforward: Write clearly. Guard the message with your life. Avoid jargon and big words. Use active verbs. Make the reader think you enjoyed writing the piece.
Roy Peter Clark of The Poynter Institute wrote this gigantic title to praise William’s work: “Why William Zinsser’s writing book is still number one”.
Zinsser is too tough on American writing, unable or unwilling to recognize the natural and necessary redundancies inherent in all language, and that jargon, while inflated, may suit the purposes of specialized groups of writers and thinkers. (“Aristotle, what’s up with all those unnecessary abstractions in your “Nichomachean Ethics“? Simplify, man. Just tell the kid what’s right and wrong.”)