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In newsrooms, publishing houses and wherever the labor centers on honing sentences and paragraphs, you are almost certain to find among the reference works a classic guide to nonfiction writing called “On Writing Well,” by Mr. Zinsser. Sometimes all you have to say is: Hand me the Zinsser. “Clutter is the disease of American writing,” he declared in one passage that tends to haunt anyone daring to write about Mr. Zinsser.
by Maria Popova “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” “One can never be alone enough to write,” Susan Sontag observed . Solitude, in fact, seems central to many great writers’ daily routines — so much so, it appears, that part of the writer’s curse might be the ineffable struggle to submit to the spell of solitude and escape the grip of loneliness at the same time. In October of 1954, Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. But he didn’t exactly live every writer’s dream: First, he told the press that Carl Sandburg, Isak Dinesen and Bernard Berenson were far more worthy of the honor, but he could use the prize money; then, depressed and recovering from two consecutive plane crashes that had nearly killed him, he decided against traveling to Sweden altogether.
I’ve written several posts about my 10-year-old son and his developing writing skills. And though he may not share my alacrity for writing, his school curriculum is full of great writing advice. Recently, he came home with a handout called “Six traits of great writing.” The advice outlined in the handout is basic, but it remains important for writers of all stripes. Here are the traits along with a few takeaways.
With email and social media, everyone writes all the time now. Are you any good at it? Here are eight ways to improve.
Every year is chock-full of words, and we have feelings about those words.
We’ve scoured the Letters of Note archives once again, this time for notes from men who would hold or were holding the highest office in the land. Here are ten of our favorite letters from the presidents. (There’s a Letters of Note book in the works — learn more and preorder a copy here. )
Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on February 6, 2012 – 9:47 am During halftime of Sunday’s Super Bowl game, Chrysler aired a stunning two-minute commercial featuring Clint Eastwood. The ad was a masterpiece of political writing. It acknowledged in stark, unequivocal language that the United States is in rough shape – but it wrapped that tough message in optimistic language that aimed to rally the nation. Here’s the ad: “It’s halftime.
To: The Upper Ones, From: The Strategy Committee, Re: The Alarming Behavior of College Students
Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.