‘Sharpening the Saw’

Rereading a book years later allows you to not only reanalyze its content from a new perspective, but you also witness a former version of yourself. I’ve been revisiting books in my library as of late, and one book in particular has been eye-opening.

Though I’ve read it before, I understand it now like I couldn’t when I read it the first time in college. On Writing Well by William Zinsser is a staple for journalists-in-training, and the chapters are succinct and the message clear. He writes about writing in a way that makes me want to write.

Most of the principles in his book are an integral part of my work now. As I read through the chapters on style, word usage, and various writing formats, I can see how my writing skill was shaped. And I’m once again reminded to omit needless words. Next on my rereading list is The Elements of Style.

A friend of mine calls this “sharpening the saw.” If you struggle with writing, it helps to go back to basics. But this also applies to any profession — When was the last time you glanced through the fundamentals with your now more experienced eye? It might be time to revisit them. It can only make you better.

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