Spring For Writers: Read The Elements of Style

by Randy Murray on April 16, 2012

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. And it’s an excellent time for writers.

I grew up on a farm, lived the farming life, so the rituals and habits of spring run deep in me. I’ve created my own Spring writing rituals as well.

The first, and perhaps most important, is a yearly re-reading of The Elements of Style.

“Strunk and White” or “The Little Book” is and should be one of the essential tools for every writer working in the English language. It’s short, enjoyably readable, and really does cleanly and concisely lay out the key rules and practices of good writing.

“Omit needless words,” the key exhortation from William Stunk Jr. in his original work, is still some of the best advice you can give an writer. And there’s so much more in this little book.

Read it regularly, but reading it in Spring will help you reset and refresh your focus on clear style and communications. In the Spring farmers till the ground, open it up for planting. Writers can do the same thing with this little book.

If you’ve never read it and want to be a writer, get yourself a copy immediately. I strongly recommend getting yourself an actual printed copy, a small book that you can keep on or near your desk or carry with you. Wear it out and buy another.

If you need more urging, hear this: the White of Strunk and White is E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web and many other wonderful works. White was one of the earliest writers for the New Yorker, and along with his colleague James Thurber, helped to hone a clean and clear writing style that all of us can still benefit from.

Read this little book, again, perhaps sitting outside in the Spring air.

Then get back to writing.

Amazon Link: The Elements of Style (4th Edition)

Thanks to my friend and editor, Penny Mattern, for suggesting a yearly reading of this essential book.

The Spring For Writers: Read The Elements of Style by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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