- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Canon Press; 1st edition (November 16, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591280990
- ISBN-13: 978-1591280996
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life 1st Edition
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Aspiring writers do not need another pandering, pat-on-the-back, feel-good writer's manual. They don't need any more cheap promises for zero-to-bestseller surefire success. What they need is something with no-nonsense substance, and Douglas Wilson offers it in Wordsmithy. Quick, punchy, and immensely wise, Wordsmithy is a cut-to-the-chase collection of important and sometimes unexpected tips for the writing life. ---Brett McCracken, author, Hipster Christianity: When Church & Cool Collide
This book just nails what it takes to be a writer. And it isn't just a matter of being a sensitive creative soul. A writer needs to live in the actual world, to "read the kind of stuff you wish you could write," and to love language. This book embodies what it preaches in its practicality, in how funny and fun to read it is, and in the way its words dance through the mind. ---Gene Edward Veith, Provost and Professor of Literature, Patrick Henry College
Wordsmithy is funny, memorable, and full of thought-provoking advice. ---Credo Magazine, August 2012
About the Author
Douglas Wilson is a Senior Fellow of theology at New Saint Andrews College. Wilson is the author of numerous books on education, theology, and culture, including: The Case for Classical Christian Education, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Mother Kirk, and Angels in the Architecture, as well as biographies on both Anne Bradstreet and John Knox.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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Each of Wilson's seven writing tips has its own chapter, where 7 more sub-tips are given and additional books are recommended. I love the style that this book is written in. It is easily digestible, and will improve your writing immediately. His first two chapters are on living a real life and on reading more. I can't imagine a better start to a writing book.
I am a frequent highlighter/book-marker, but this book is so short and focused that there is really no need to highlight. All of the material is very good and easily referenced when you need a pick-me-up or a good kick in the pants. Wilson's writing is not a dry list of rules to follow, but a seriously funny guide to the writing life. It will make you laugh out loud and convict your own conscience in one fell swoop.
Some of my favorite quotes from Chapter 1:
"Your writing advances a particular view of the world. Pretending that it doesn't just confuses everybody, starting with you." (21)
"Interesting people are interested people." (23)
"Mark Twain once defined a classic as a book that everyone wanted to have read, but which no one wanted to read. In a similar spirit, lots of folks want to be "a writer" because they have had a few great ideas for a television script. They want to be a writer but are not all that thrilled about actually writing. They don't want to write, they want to have written." (25)
Buy it, you won't be disappointed. If you are at all interested in writing, this is the place to start. Highly Recommended.
Path: Wilson gives a series of seven broad suggestions to the writer. Because a writer is first an individual, he challenges the reader to become a better person so they might become a better writer. Therefore this book is not so much about where to put a comma, or how to find an editor, as it is on how to become an individual who has something to say.
The seven tips are as follows:
Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books.
Read. Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks.
Read mechanical helps.
Stretch before your routines.
Be at peace with being lousy for a while.
Learn other languages, preferably languages that are upstream from ours.
Keep a commonplace book.
Each of these tips receives a chapter which is then divided into seven more ideas to strengthen the main tip. At the end of the chapter Wilson leaves the reader with some outside reading.
Sources: Obviously an avid read, Wilson leaves the reader with a taste of Chesterton, Wodehouse, and the Scriptures.
Agreement: I enjoyed reading this humorous little book and it encouraged me to write. I need to write poems, stories, articles, and novels. I need to write something even when no one will ever read it. Not only did he encourage me to write, but he encouraged me to listen. I need to listen to those around me, listen to those I read, listen to what is being said.
Personal App: As Chesterton has said, anything worth doing is worth doing badly. I might as well get started.
Favorite Quote: "I estimate that my iPhone is the equivalent of having one hundred thousand servants. The problem is that about ninety thousand of those servants of mine are sitting on their butt all the time."
This would be a good book for someone who is interested in writing pretty much anything. If you are a blogger - buy this. If you are planning to write children stories - buy this. If you just like to read - buy this, you may start writing.
I plan on reading it again. Probably a few times. Some just to laugh, others to be reminded that I need to be listening, reading, and writing more.