10 Writing Tips from Legendary Writing Teacher William Zinsser - Deepstash

Bite‑sized knowledge

to upgrade

your career

Ideas from books, articles & podcasts.

published 12 ideas

10 Writing Tips from Legendary Writing Teacher William Zinsser

openculture.com

10 Tips on writing from legendary writer William Zinsser

Never have so many people written so profusely and with so few inhibitions. Which means that it was never really a cognitive problem. It was a cultural problem, rooted in that old bugaboo of American education: fear.

8

STASHED IN:

47

You’ll never make your mark as a writer unless you develop a respect for words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive. The English language is rich in strong and supple words. Take the time to root around and find the ones you want.

8

STASHED IN:

44

“Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other. It’s impossible for a muddy thinker to write good English.”

8

STASHED IN:

44

“A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”

4

STASHED IN:

44

“Writing is an intimate transaction between two people, conducted on paper, and it will go well to the extent that it retains its humanity.”

5

STASHED IN:

45

“Sell yourself, and your subject will exert its own appeal. Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it.The more you keep in first person and true to yourself, the sooner you will find your style

5

STASHED IN:

46

Don’t ask who your audience is…you are the audience: 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.

5

STASHED IN:

45

Study the masters but also your contemporaries: “. 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.”

4

STASHED IN:

46

Yes, the thesaurus is your friend: “The Thesaurus is to the writer what a rhyming dictionary is to the songwriter–a reminder of all the choices–and you should use it with gratitude. If, having found the scalawag and the scapegrace, you want to know how they differ, then go to the dictionary.”

3

STASHED IN:

47

This helps in the search for rhythm and sound: “Good writers of prose must be part poet, always listening to what they write.”

4

STASHED IN:

46

“Decide what corner of your subject you’re going to bite off, and be content to cover it well and stop.”

3

STASHED IN:

44

For anyone who can’t stand to hear the word ‘unique’ modified, Zinsser has this to say: “…being ‘rather unique’ is no more possible than being rather pregnant.’”

6

STASHED IN:

45

0 Comments

Discover and save more ideas by creating a

FREE

Deepstash account.

Develop a

reading habit

, save

time

and create an amazing

knowledge library

.

GET THE APP: