Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writing to Learn (Again)

I've decided to spend the rest of the week sharing a few more of my favorite books on writing. I think it was more than 15 years ago that I bought Writing to Learn by William Zinsser. What I love about this book is that I can always turn to it and get advice about any subject that interests me. And, although I've read it many times, I always learn something new.

In his preface Zinsser writes: "I wrote this book to try and to ease two fears that American education seems to inflict on all of us in some form. One is the fear of writing...The other is the fear of subjects we don't think we have an aptitude for."

Actually, I'm neither afraid to write nor do I feel there's any subject that's beyond my ability. But, when I decided I wanted to begin writing about nature and gardening, I turned to Zinsser's book and was delighted to find a chapter on The Natural World. (I'd neglected reading it before because the subject wasn't of interest.)

There are plenty of other chapters as well, including those on Arts and Artists, Writing Mathematics, Writing Physics and Chemistry, and World of Music, among others.

In every chapter, Zinsser not only provides advice, but he shares ideas and information. In closing, one quote I particularly like is this one: "The artist Paul Klee once told his students that 'art is exactitude winged by intuition.'"

I love the quote, and I love Zinsser. One couldn't ask for a better writing teacher!


Wendy Love said...

Isn't finding an author you like comparable to a gold find? I am glad you have gone back to one you like and found it useful and helpful...again. I have just found an author Marjorie Holmes. It turns out she was friends with a favourite author Catherine Marshall. What a treat for me. Not sure if I will find any more Marjorie Holmes books but I will try. There is so much on the internet about writing that sometimes I am overwhelmed. I would rather just find one or two books, cling to them, like I do to my bible, and keep it simple.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
I've always been a person who finds an author I like, and then I read everything that person has ever written.

In terms of books on writing, yes, there are so many books out there, and so many "experts" on the Internet. But...over the years I have found there are only about a dozen people whose books I really like on the subject.

Actually, I rarely read about the subject of writing. Rather, I usually read people who are great writers in my area of interest.

Like you, I believe in keeping it simple.


Tamara (TC) Staples said...


Thank you for always sharing such wonderful resources. I LOVE books on writing. I learn so much from them. Of course, I also learn from reading the work of writers that really speak to my heart.

I love the quote, also.


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
Thank you for thanking me! It makes it all worthwhile!