On Writing Well by William Zinsser

  • cut cut cut

    • don't use adjectives unnecessarily

    • don't modify a word that already contains the meaning you need

    • don't use a complicated word when a simple one will work

  • If you think clearly, you will write clearly
  • Don't use a word in writing that you wouldn't use in conversation
  • Don't try to be in your writing someone you are not: be true to who you are
  • The only person you are writing for is yourself, so don’t ever worry if the reader likes you or agrees with you
  • Humor is a lubricant in writing
  • Re-writing is the essence of writing
  • Use active verbs rather than passive verbs (something that you can picture someone doing)
  • Use short, blunt, simple, sacramental nouns
  • Writing is learned by imitation
  • Read everything you write aloud and make sure it sounds good