jml's notebook

# Review: 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

# Review: 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Highly recommend this book to everyone.

I didn’t buy this book for me. I bought it for an acquaintance who writes badly, and thought the least I could do is read it before I smack them over the head with it. I’m glad I did.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing is a short, punchy book with lots of excellent, practical advice about how to write better. Unlike Elements of Style, it is not patronizing and not over-prescriptive.

Although many of the examples are focused on journalistic writing, Provost is keen to frame writing in the broadest possible context. Writing is a way of getting what you want, and you are more likely to get what you want if you write well.

Each chapter focuses on a theme, like “Six Ways to Avoid Punctuation Errors” or “Twelve Ways to Avoid Making Your Reader Hate You”. Each “way” is short, and comes with concrete examples.

I suspect the best way to use this book is to pick one tip to work on and engage in some deliberate practice. I certainly would like to do so.

I have been reminded that I always have something to learn. More than that, that believing I already know it all is a great way to learn nothing, and conversely, that believing I have something to learn is a great way to learn more.