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Wilson’s 7 Deadly Pointers for Gooder Writing

Some helpful tips on writing from Doug Wilson. To read the (very brief) details go here.

1. Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books.

2. Read. Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write.

3. Read mechanical helps. By this I mean dictionaries, etymological histories, books of anecdotes, dictionaries of foreign phrases, books of quotations, books on how to write dialog, and so on.

4. Stretch before your routines. If you want to write short stories, try to write Italian sonnets. If you want to write a novel, write a few essays.

5. Be at peace with being lousy for a while. Chesterton once said that anything worth doing was worth doing badly. He was right. Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out. (Emphasis mine -sds.)

6. Learn other languages, preferably languages that are upstream from ours. This would include Greek, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon.

7. Keep a commonplace book. Write down any notable phrases that occur to you, or that you have come across.

I just grabbed the beginning of each. The whole thing (which, as I said, is brief)  is useful.

My advice to add: Turn off the internet.

One Comment

  1. So the obvious question arising… if I’d turned off the internet before I read your blog I wouldn’t have read this useful list – or your advice about turning off the internet….
    My head hurts,

    Aunt C. Deb

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