On Writing Well.

· January 12, 2021

I am nervous writing this review.


The ultimate non-fiction writer’s guide.

If you think that the way I write this review will be a reflection on how good this book is, you’d be wrong. Writing is hard work, and I don’t intend on putting that kind of effort into this piece.

The core idea of the book is to strip writing down to its core. Its a fairly simple idea, but there is a lot of nuance to this. Zinsser spends most of the book breaking down the various styles of writing with lots of examples. The one thing I disliked about the book was that the majority of examples in this book are America centric, which made it harder for me to appreciate certain parts.

I am not going to attempt summarizing this book, since a lot of the books concepts can effectively only be taught in examples. Rather, I would go over the parts of the book that I enjoyed the most.

The hard thing about writing.

Writing is hard, and Zinsser illustrates the struggles of a writer succinctly, bringing to attention the many moving parts in a piece - the audience, styles, themes and motivations.

Writing is a deeply personal thing, and this book makes a great case for why the best writing comes out when the writer is writing in earnestness. This earnestness shows even in the way this book is written.

Zinsser even goes over the various forms of non-fiction writing. He goes over The Interview, The Travel Article, The Memoir, Science and Technology writing, sports writing, Criticism, Humour and writing in your job. There is something for everyone here. I especially loved the chapters on Science and Technology, and Memoir writing.

In the last part of the book, he goes over aspects of writing that are more personal to the writer. This includes the motivations, the decisions and the vulnerabilities of the writer.

This book is truly comprehensive when it comes to non fiction writing. I can see why its subtitled as the “Classic Guide to Non-fiction”

Everyone should write.

This book makes a case for why everyone should be a writer. It shows you the general principals of writing and help you develop a style. This book made me look at non-fiction writing in a very different light. Everyone should write, and write in earnestness. This book is the perfect start. I give this a 8/10.

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