I just finished reading “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. I enjoyed most of it. I’ve skipped the chapter on sports writing because sports is not a subject I find particularly interesting (but I’m reading it now). I feel a bit disoriented now: I’ve read a lot of good advice from a such master, and I can’t say that I know the precise next steps to improve my writing. I think I should have took notes.
Here I will try to write down a few things that I still have fresh in mind and ones that I think I understand enough to follow.
- Write about things that you find interesting. Your reader will feel your joy.
- Be yourself, write in your natural tone—this will become your style.
- Keep an eye on the clichés expressions and use them sparingly.
- Don’t think too much about what your readers might say. It’s good to consider your audience but you should bend yourself too much only to fit them. One thing that I found interesting is that how his advice to keep the words and phrases small and clear applies to programming too. I think this is one of those basic universal truths that apply in many contexts.
I guess one thing that I should do is to do more of it. I have times when I feel inspired. I think I should watch for those and take notes.