In recent days, I’ve seen two excellent posts on writing better from David Gunderson and Charles Spurgeon, via Lucid Books. I also came across a helpful list of ways to write more from Samuel Miller, one of the founding professors of Princeton Seminary.
Since writing is something I do and try to improve, I found these three lists helpful. I share them here for others to consider their content and apply their wisdom. If you know of other lists, please feel to add them in the comments. Continue reading
Douglas Wilson’s little book, Wordsmithy, packs a punch. He subtitles it “hot tips for the writing life,” and in 120 pages gives 1200 imperatives—or something like that. As far as I can tell, the whole book is one giant imperative composed of dozens of witty, winsome, and eyebrow-wrinkling maxims for good writing.
Wilson hits his mark. After reading his book, I both want to write better and feel as though his little book has opened my eyes to ways I need to improve as a writer—that’s one of the reasons why I am writing this.
His truckload of imperatives are dumped into seven principled piles: (1) know something about the world, (2) read, (3) read mechanical books (e.g., dictionaries, books of quotations, etc), (4) stretch before your routines, (5) be at peace with being lousy for a while, (6) learn other languages, and (7) keep a commonplace book. Each section of even chapter comes with books to read and crisp, clear writing tips.
If you want to write well, read Wordsmithy. If you are thinking about writing as a vocation, read Wordsmithy. If you want to see good writing, read Wordsmithy. It will be worth the read.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss
Are you a writer? Do you want to write? Does your schooling, work place, or ministry call you to express yourself in words for the sake of others?
If so, John Piper’s counsel on how to write with others in mind is worth ten minutes of your time. Pastor John challenges writers to love the ones for whom they are writing–even if they don’t know who they are.
This is a good admonishment. When we write we should not write for the sake our name, but for the sake of Christ’s. And when we write we should always consider it an extension of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Since writing is often accomplished in a secluded office or in the interior of our mind (in a busy coffee shop), the reminder to think beyond the white screen is essential. Listen to the brief interview.
May we learn to not only to love writing, but to love others with our writing.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss