I have started reading “On writing well” by William Zinsser and just from reading chapter 1, I can see what makes this book tick. It is a sequel to the seminal work on this subject – “Elements of style” by Strunk and White. I have enjoyed reading “Elements of style” so much that it left me with a longing for more on the topic; and “On writing well” satisfies that craving.
There is more to this book than just [literary] writing. Surprisingly, the insights gained from reading the first chapter go beyond the craft of writing – to software development, i.e. writing code. Following are a few assertions that the author makes which apply to writing code as well.
- Writing is not easy and fun. It is hard and lonely, and the words seldom just flow. (So is programming, but readme driven development can help.)
- Rewriting is the essence of writing. Professional writers rewrite their sentences over and over. (In other words, refactor your code all the time.)
- Writing is a craft, not an art. (Practice your craft as a programmer.)
- If your job is writing, you learn to do it every day. Like any other job. (Write code every day no matter your job title.)
- Professional writers are solitary drudges who seldom see other writers. (Many successful software developers too work alone – here’s an example.)
I am happy to be reading this book.