Do you mark in your books as you read?
Growing up, I never – ever – wrote in a book. I was taught that it was disrespectful. I’m guessing that may have been true for you, too.
But not anymore.
Now when I am moved by something the author writes,
I underline it;
put exclamation points in the margin (!!);
Sometimes I even use color.
And now, I consider it a compliment. 🙂
The Craft of Writing
My children are storytellers. As I was learning about writing novels with them, my primary goal was to help them become better writers. I never expected to apply what I was learning to my own work.
I now study the craft of writing from a different perspective: writer instead of editor; non-fiction instead of fiction; blogs instead of novels.
As a blogger, I have been inspired by the authors of these ten books. (Please don’t judge the books by the level of my writing skills. I am very early in my writing journey.)
Each of these books is filled with annotated passages, so instead of selecting just one quote – which is Impossible – I have included two (or more) from each author.
I hope they inspire you, too!
28 Great Quotes about Writing
You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins
It’s time to kill the excuses and start writing. Time to become a writer again. Not a marketer or an entrepreneur. Not a blogger or businessperson. A writer. A real one.”
– Jeff Goins
The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business by Mark W. Schaefer
Although the world is facing an incredible content glut, this doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for everyone. In many industries, there’s no glut at all. Consumers are still starving for helpful new content to serve them.”
– Mark W. Schaefer
Master Content Marketing: A Simple Strategy to Cure the Blank Page Blues and Attract a Profitable Audience by Pamela Wilson
Content marketing is like putting out bait rather than throwing a spear.
Old marketing? It was like throwing marketing ‘spears’ at a school of fish in the hopes you’d hit one. You wasted a lot of energy and didn’t see a lot of results.
Content marketing? It’s like offering some delicious, nutritious bait, and inviting the fish to swim your way. It draws them in. The best part is that some will stay there, interacting with your brand. They’ll become your customers, and then repeat customers.”
– Pamela Wilson
Trust Funnel: Leverage Today’s Online Currency to Grab Attention, Drive and Convert Traffic, and Live a Fabulous Wealthy Life by Brian G. Johnson
Everyone on this earth is created with a special set of talents, skills, abilities, and passions that make them one of a kind, and to go through life not sharing that talent and helping others is a waste.”
– Brian G. Johnson
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly.
Never say anything in writing that you wouldn’t comfortably say in conversation.
Good writers of prose must be part poet, always listening to what they write.
You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.”
– William Zinsser
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
The best way to keep your readers reading is to talk about them, not you.
There are no shortcuts to becoming a better writer. So show up at your desk and get to it. Daily.”
– Ann Handley
Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi
Every content idea involves a story you are trying to tell. If you remember that the story can and should always be told in many different ways, you’ll have a leg up on the competition.”
– Joe Pulizzi
A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work by Jack Hart
In terms of both form and function, every piece of writing is, at the most basic level, either a report or a story.
Writers must never lose sight of the fact that they have only a few seconds to capture and hold readers who have plenty of choices about how they’ll spend their time.”
– Jack Hart
Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time by Mark W. Schaefer
Bloggers can’t hit it out of the park every time, but when they do, it’s probably because they found a way to make the words sing.
Respect your readers and their precious time. Get in, make your point, and get out.”
– Mark W. Schaefer
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by Strunk and White
Writing, to be effective, must follow closely the thoughts of the writer, but not necessarily in the order in which those thoughts occur.
All writers, by the way they use the language, reveal something of their spirits, their habits, their capacities, and their biases.
When writing with a computer, you must guard against wordiness. The click and flow of a word processor can be seductive, and you may find yourself adding a few unnecessary words or even a whole passage just to experience the pleasure of running your fingers over the keyboard and watching your words appear on the screen. It is always a good idea to reread your writing later and ruthlessly delete the excess.”
– Strunk & White
Where to start:
If you are just starting to learn about the craft of writing non-fiction, I suggest starting with On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser.
When you are ready for something more current, choose your favorite quote from this article and start there. You can’t go wrong with any of these books.
Make sure you have a pen or pencil in hand while you read (unless you’re reading a library book!), because these books are full of gems. 🙂
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