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Book Review: On Writing Well

I picked up William Zinsser’s On Writing Well because I’d seen it recommended somewhere, and it was in my local library.  At first, I loved the book.  It seemed to point out a lot of good tips.

The more I read the book, though, the less I was interested in it.  That could have been because of personal circumstances, but the book just didn’t hold my attention.  Perhaps I’m not dedicated enough about improving my writing to read a 230 page instructional manual.  Or maybe it was because, while some of Zinsser’s advice is timeless (such as the importance of revision and being concise), some of it is out of date (the third edition was published in 1985.)  I skipped entirely the chapter titled “Writing with a Word Processor.”

The further I got into the book, the more I skimmed.  I know I gathered good information, but not as much as I had hoped.

On Writing Well is a decent book to read once and perhaps keep on hand as reference, but I wouldn’t call it priceless.

Score: 6/10


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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