"Simplify, simplify."

Often I must go back to my basics; to learn again before I move forward.

William Zissner’s On Writing Well is a great book to read, especially when you are working on revision. Of course, it’s meant to be for writing nonfiction, but I find the sound and practical advice fits any sort of writing.

Here is what I needed to read today:

Clutter takes more forms than you can shake twenty sticks at. Prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Re-examine each sentence that you put on paper. Is every word doing new and useful work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something useless just because you think it’s beautiful? Remember Thoreau:

Our life frittered away by detail…. Instead of a million count half-a-dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail…. Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails.

Simplify, simplify.

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