Teach Me To Write Well

When I read Dusty’s post from January 15, Creating an Online Presence Today For, Tomorrow, I immediately wanted to be her friend She’s here working on polishing her grammar and style and (has??) had a slight love/hate relationship with both. I very much appreciate her drive; but moreover, it’s her headstrong, I-can-learn-it-from-a-book attitude I dig:

Well, I couldn’t wait any longer. So I’ve bought a book to study in the meantime, and though it is mindnumbingly dry so far, I’m going to learn what I need to learn. Which is to say get my chops up high enough to at least be skilled enough to be published in The New Yorker (the grammar and punctuation end of the writing, nothing else). What writer doesn’t dream of that.

Well, Dusty, I love grammar AND books on grammar. If only that love took me to the writing and editing promise-land. Although the brain injury may have something to do with 1.) both my inability to learn and retain from my books and 2.) my way shortened attention span.

When I was able to work, I produced videos for facult who were teaching online classes. I was responsible to making sure the learning translated from script (which I edited) to final video deliverable (I worked with an amazing video editor; and with our faculty member as the talent and one who had to develope the core of the course, our tiny group created impressive materials). The title of the post a play on the title the course introduction video we created that I’ve embeded below… Write Well:

If only I hadn’t lost the tab to Dusty’s page, I could have created a pingback to her. I’ll head to The Commons in search of her, but if anyone happens upon this and can help a girl out, I’d very much appreciate it. I found the blog post!

A few of my favorite grammar and style books:

  • The Elements of Style (13th ed) by William Strunk
  • How To Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark
  • Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
  • The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation by Rene J. Cappon
  • 100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses and Misuses from the American Heritage Dictionaries
  • Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything from Them) by Marcia Riefer Johnston [This is laugh out loud fun for me!]
  • Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • Writing to Learn by William Zinsser
  • Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing by Patricia O’Conner
  • Everybody Writes: Your Go-To-Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
  • Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves: Telling Stories in an Age of Blogging by Jerry Lanson
  • How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them by Ben Yagoda
  • Spunk and Bite: A writer’s guide to bold contemporary style by Arthur Plotnik
  • The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
  • Stong Verbs Stong Voice: A Quick Reference To Improve Your Writing And Impress Readers by Ann Everett
  • Show or Tell? A Powerful Lesson on a Critical Writing Skill by James Thayer

I get lots of help from online resoues as well. I watch webinars, go through self-directed courses, and am working through certificate programs (editing and basic journalism) via The Poynter Center’s NewsU. I hold an Associate Membership with the American Copy Editors Society (ACES).

  2 comments for “Teach Me To Write Well

  1. writing, writing, words words words.
    February 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Hi! Thanks for that post, and all those resources!! 🙂


    • February 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      I was too lazy to link, but most are available as ebooks on Amazon, iBooks, and B&N Nook (This IS THE Price is Right!). I highly recommend the print editions of (an) AP Stylebook (the 2015 is forthcoming, so the 2014 is available a nice price) as well as their app or other digital offering. I’m currently digging the assignments in Jerry Lawson’s Writing For Others, Writing For Ourselves: Telling Stories In An Age Of Blogging and in Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools: 50 EssentIal For Every Writer (I use the college edition because it’s spiral-bound). Please excuse my lack of proper title etiquette, I lack the ability to add any emphasis to my typing at the moment.


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