Writing About Writing

On Amazon there are well over fifty books about writing. Popular reference books, besides the dictionary, are Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” and “Roget’s Thesaurus.” But, these are “tool books” to help you use a better word, avoid grammatical errors, or not look stupid misspelling something (or is it “mispelling?”)BOOKS_pile of

Books about writing are different. They are not reference books, per se, but rather books about the reasons for writing, instruction that goes beyond the books already mentioned, exploring the feeling one gets from writing, the sense of accomplishment of knowing that you are, little by little, mastering one of the most screwed up languages among those that use Latin script. (or is it “which uses…”)

My favorite book about writing is subtitled “The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.” Actually, it is perhaps my favorite book, period. (or should it be…”period!” Written by Lynne Truss, it was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and is famously titled, “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.” (or is it “Eats Shoots & Leaves?”)

A former writing teacher at Yale who writes about writing is William Zinsser. His “On Writing Well” is a must read for anyone who wants to be a writer, or just a person who wants to write well. Hence the title. (or is it “Hence, the title?”)

Another book by Zinsser, which I’m currently reading, is “Writing About Your Life.” Early on, Zinsser suggests that it’s good to just start writing about something that you do, or have done, and the words and thoughts will come. That’s how I wrote this piece. (or is it “…how this piece was written?”) Look it up.

One Comment on “Writing About Writing

  1. I used On Writing Well when teaching writing and love it still. Haven’t read his Writing About Your Life. Will look for it. The Strunk and White was also in my arsenal: a required book. Have Trusse’s Eats Shoots and Leaves but so far have not read it. Am currently reading a fine example of excellent writing, Beryl Markham’s West With the Wind. Her writing absolutely blows my socks off. If you haven’t read it, you might enjoy it. Isn’t writing fun.

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