Welcome to Day 114...
Another day...another message from a master.
Today it's from William Zinsser - a prolific writer and journalist whose successful career has spanned almost 70 years . Here are his writing tips - in excerpts taken from an interview he did with Poynter.org
“All writing to me is a journey. It’s saying to the reader, ‘Come along with me; I’ll take you on a voyage,’ ” Zinsser said.
Too often, Zinsser said, people become so preoccupied with writing well that they clutter their stories with unnecessary words that lead readers astray. Good writers make every word count, and they avoid abstractions.
“Nobody wants abstractions,” Zinsser said. “They want specific details that help them discover something new.”
If you view writing as a process, Zinsser said, the product will take care of itself.
“I think we are totally obsessed with the successful finished product — the winning Little League team, the high SAT score, the perfect article,” Zinsser said. “If you’re thinking, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I can write something good enough to be published,’ you’re writing it for the wrong purpose. The finished product is the last thing you should be thinking of.”
“The only way to write something good is to write what you want to write and believe in the validity of its subject and don’t give a damn about anybody else,” Zinsser said.
When writers ask him how to be “successful,” Zinsser tells them to write the story they want to tell and tell it well.
A lack of confidence is one of the biggest obstacles to good writing, Zinsser said.
Confidence, Zinsser said, comes with trusting your instincts as a writer and learning to advocate for the stories you want to write. “You learn to write by believing in who you are.”
If you can find the right comic frame for your story without being insensitive, Zinsser told me, you can learn to have more fun while writing. In turn, people are more likely to enjoy reading what you write.
“I think people take writing much too seriously,” Zinsser said. “They just need to relax a little and have a good time.” The key, he believes, is to take your work seriously, but not to take yourself too seriously.Good stuff.
Here's the link to the full interview done by Mallary Jean Tenore in Poynter...http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/112132/william-zinssers-5-tips-for-becoming-a-better-writer/ and...Today's Takeaway Lesson...