Tuesday, March 16, 2010

William Zinsser: Writing To Learn

Most of us have been assigned (or assigned) William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. I recently finished reading his later book Writing to Learn and have renewed enthusiasm for writing and teaching writing.

Here are a few great lines to keep in mind while you are writing, editing and teaching:

“It {writing across the curriculum} establishes at an early age the fact that writing is a form of thinking, whatever the subject.” - i

“Writing and thinking and learning were the same process.” – ix

“Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone who thinks clearly should be able to write clearly – about any subject at all.” – 11

“We all need models, whatever art or craft we’re trying to learn. (…) Writing is learned by imitation.” – 14

“A piece of writing must be viewed as a constantly evolving organism.” – 15

“One of my principles is that there is no typical anybody; every reader is different. I edit for myself and I write for myself.” – 25

“Writing is a tool that enables people in every discipline to wrestle with the facts and ideas. It’s a physical activity, unlike reading.” – 49

“But failure isn’t the end of the world, in football or anywhere else. In writing – and therefore in learning – it’s often the beginning of wisdom.” - 50

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