As part of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review program, I received a copy of Wordsmithy in exchange for my honest review. They also generously offered a free copy to give away, so don’t forgot to enter for a chance to win below!
I always thought that either someone knew how to write well or not. I thought it was something you were born with.
It wasn’t until I was teaching my own children to write that I realized I was wrong. I started reading books about writing and I realized that writing is a skill that can be taught. Just like someone can learn to play the piano or draw with enough practice. Sure, there might be people who have a natural gift with words, just as there are people who can play musical instruments by ear more easily than others, but I would bet that if you have an interest in learning either of these skills, you will get somewhere. So it is with writing.
Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life
That’s why I appreciated Douglas Wilson’s book Wordsmithy. In it, he offers practical tips on becoming a better writer. This book doesn’t include the writing assignments that are included in many writing books, but life-long habits that will make sure you have something worth saying and know how to say it when the time comes.
Wilson has organized his book into seven main tips on increasing your skill with words. Under each of these tips are seven sub-points that expand on the main point. (That’s forty-nine tips if you’re doing the math.) As Wilson describes it, you have a “veritable Russian doll” of writing tips.
One of Wilson’s tips is,
Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write.
If you don’t know what to read, pick up some of Wilson’s recommendations. Listed under each sub-point he has enough reading material (and variety) to keep you busy for years. Even if not all the books fit your tastes, you’re sure to find a few that do.
I also appreciate his advice to not be afraid to mark up books. For some reason, I have an aversion to writing in books, but this is definitely not the first time I’ve heard the value of annotating books. If this goes against your grain, at least keep a commonplace book (another one of Wilson’s suggestions) in which you write quotes or memorable phrases you come across.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Wilson loves words and his writing shows it (in a good way, I think. You may differ).
If you want to become a better writer or want to inspire your students to write better, I highly recommend checking out Wordsmithy. I think it’s a book you can pick up again and again and find fresh inspiration each time.
Timberdoodle has offered an extra copy of Wordsmithy to give away to one of my readers, so make sure you enter the giveaway below. (Wordsmithy will be shipped by Timberdoodle. This contest is open to a US address only.)
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