William Zinnser Evergreen Tips

William Zinsser, best known as the author of On Writing Well, passed on in his Manhanttan home at the age of 92. Like many others, I’ve a copy as well and there are plenty of practical advices and golden nugget of wisdom in the book.

I particularly like the following tips:

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

If we can’t understand what we really want to say, how do we expect others to understand us? The best communicators – writers and speakers – think clearly and express their thoughts precisely.

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.

A shitty first draft is nothing to be ashamed of. Because writing is indeed difficult. But the most important thing is to get the thoughts down. Edit, edit, and re-edit again later.

And my favourite:

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.

I follow the writers I admire everywhere, across various subjects. I don’t read something just because it’s design, technology, football and the likes. The element of style stems from the author, and it’s prevelant across all the topics he touches on. That’s why we can be equally absorbed diversed topics such as travel experience and political writings.