Monday, January 5, 2009

I'd make this the next book you read

I just finished Jack Hart's book (links here and here). Here is my review on Goodreads. I'm blogging it because I think this is a book every newsroom staffer -- no matter what your job -- should read:

I would like to have this book loaded on a computer chip and implanted in my brain. Then I could draw on it at will. And as a writer and editor, I would scale mountains and slay dragons and always return home a hero.
But such automatic success would eliminate the trying, failing, trying again and succeeding that is so rewarding if you are a writer or editor. You know you'll never know it all, but you keep learning to get as close as you can.
So what I'll do is just keep this book nearby. I'll dip back into it now and again for its hundreds of dead-on, plain-English writing and editing tips. Beyond that, I'll remember its message: You can be a better writer and editor not by waiting for a thunderbolt to form you, or by finding the key to the secret room where the elements of great writing reveal themselves, but by consciously working at the precision elements of the craft, for a lifetime.