Writing can be hard, even for people who do it all the time. When reading some of my favorite blogs, I’ve started to notice that I can get a sense of the author’s personality while reading it. William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, believes that everyone can learn to write well. How do we do it? Let’s check it out.
Easy, Breezy, Beautiful
Everyone has a voice but finding that voice is often difficult. Zinsser believes that one of the most important things in writing is making sure your writing voice is heard. As Zinsser states, “Don’t alter your voice to fit your subject.” (231) For me, I think it is hard to find a writing style that fits my personality. Zinsser suggests that we find specific authors that we enjoy and try to imitate their style. Once you find and develop your style, be consistent. Use your style regardless of the subject matter. By doing this, we will eventually find our own voice and style that will eventually lead us to eloquence.
Pushing the Envelope
Do you like writing? For as long as I can remember, I have always disliked writing. Zinsser talks about how this fear or writing is planted in students at a young age. (322) We feel pressure to fill up a blank page with wonderful and descriptive words. Zinsser claims that the trick is to write about something you are interested in. If you write about subjects you enjoy, your enjoyment will show up on the page naturally. If you push the boundaries (or the envelope) of your subject and bring your own life into it, your version of the story will show. You have to trust that your curiosity will connect with the curiosity of your readers.
The Journey > The End
I know this is true for myself. I get so caught up in the final product that I don’t even know where to start. Zinsser doesn’t teach people how to get published but he teaches how to write well. Zinsser’s teaching method is very different then most: he doesn’t believe in deadlines. (66) If you forget about the deadline, you are more relaxed & creative about the angle to take with the subject, your perspective, and the actual process of writing. So just relax and enjoy the journey of writing!
Zinsser ends his book claiming that when you turn in a piece of written work, you have to make sure it is the best possible piece of writing that you can turn in. Your writing represents you and paints a picture of you to the reader. If you believe in yourself, believe in your writing, and take risks, you will write the best you can.