Three resources for better writing

I began to learn to write at Loras College, a small Liberal Arts, Catholic college in Dubuque, Iowa. I became literate about 12 years earlier in grade school; but I did not learn to write. Perhaps one of the most important things I learned is that I will never finish learning how to write. There are rules that can be pretty much mastered. But the economy and inspiration of writing is elusive. So writing is a practice. One of the reasons I’m so excited to be part of this workshop: a forcible event to dig into this practice. I am more excited about the people who chose to be in the cohort. This will be a season of learning.

But back to those rules. Here are a few books on writing that continue to resonate for me after about 30 years of studying writing:

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynn Truss. This book focuses on rules of punctuation. And the author makes if fun.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Second, Strunk and Whites, Elements of Style. This one gets into more stylistic rules (which just might be a little paradoxical), but the advice almost always moves one to be a more lucid writer.

Elements of Style cover.jpg

Finally, the Word Finder by J.I. Rodale. This one is a little off the beaten track, but I crack it more than any other writer reference. It provides extensive lists of words that augment or modify a particular word. Its a lot like a thesaurus, but more useful.

I also use the thesauarus at thesaurus.com pretty consistently. But that is about the only online writing resource I use. One thing I hope to do over the workshop is become more adroit at using online writing resources efficiently.

That’s it!

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