9 responses to “Writing advice from William Zinsser’s classic, On Writing Well”

  1. --Deb

    It’s been a while since I read Zinsser. (College writing class circa 1988-89.) I agree, though, that his book is a classic. Somebody else just mentioned this a couple weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about rereading mine … and now I think I REALLY have to!

  2. Kerry Dexter

    Never studied journalism/ writing — or English, for that matter, got credit by exam — at university, so I came to this book later, and was interested to see that there were a lot of aspects I had picked up on my own, through studying the arts.

    The last quote you offer is great, but I think a bit differently about his view on style. I’d say good writing is a matter of both confidence and humility rather than ego.

  3. Michelle Rafter

    Kerry: I think in the quote, and the section on style, Zinsser uses “ego” to mean sense of self rather than inflated sense of self; given that, I agree with him that style is about letting the real you shine through.


  4. Marshall Kirkpatrick

    Good stuff and excerpts/summary much appreciated. Have been looking for a read just like this.

  5. Michelle Rafter

    Marshall, if you like this, I’d also suggest William Blundell’s The Art and Craft of Feature Writing – another classic. Blundell was a writing coach at the WSJ and this book first came out in 1986 – not sure if it’s still in print, you could try for used copies at Powell’s.


  6. Mike

    I re-read this book every year. Wish more marketing/PR pros would read it ­čÖü

  7. If you write, William Zinsser’s book is your bible « Maney | Digital

    […] is a big part of what I do as a PR professional. I read William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” in college and re-read it every year to keep my writing as sharp and tight as possible. If you […]

  8. Annette Gendler

    Funny to come across you mentioning this book today – my daughter has to read it now as a high school junior, which I think is a great idea.