Friday, May 1, 2009

Elements of Style Series

Too many people write poorly. In writing these words, I make no claim that my writing is perfect. Just ask my mother if you want to know how badly I can write. Nevertheless, most people neglect a set of simple guidelines for writing, even though these guidelines are widely available.

Bad writing hurts everyone. If a passage is written poorly, the reader wastes time deciphering the writer's words, and the writer fails to communicate what she meant to say. Both people are unhappy with the result. Good writing avoids this turmoil.

The best way I know to get better at writing is to spend time with your words. Proofread. Do not just write, print and send. Fuss over your writing. The extra effort is worth it. Nevertheless, all the fuss in the world does not matter if you do not follow a good set of guidelines. A classic set of guidelines on writing is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

As a public service to my readers, I am writing a series of posts based on The Elements of Style. I plan to focus on the tips in the book that I find most helpful, but this is no substitute for getting your own copy. Everyone should own a copy of The Elements of Style. It is a great reference, but it is even a better read. You'll never have more fun reading about writing!

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