Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson
Canon Press 2011
Impact: We shall see!
Recommend it: Yes. Even if you only write for necessity.
What to Expect
Doug Wilson attacks the craft head on...by addressing the craftsman. Wordsmithy discusses how to be a person with your head on right--how to be a good writer not just good at writing.
The book is divided into seven tips with seven sub-tips, "a veritable Russian doll," as he puts it. From living to reading, from mechanics to language, from lousiness to skill, from sketching to stretching, Wilson moves with light-hearted seriousness from topic to topic while demonstrating his own subject matter.
Each portion has a bolded take-away-point and various recommended books (which I can't wait to attack). It spares no words, but at the same time feels slightly rollicking. Between the style and organization, the book is good for taking notes or glancing to refresh or re-inspire. Be careful if you're reading in a quiet library. You will laugh at some point or other.
I started through for the third time to take notes and found myself writing down something out of almost every paragraph. This review has been in progress since the first week of January... My blog life is in ruins. ;-) But I'm glad I'm finishing now after reading it a few more times...
When I started Wordsmithy I was trying to make some heavy decisions about teaching, life, and all that. I think I could rightly blame chapter one for the mess of algebra and Latin I'm in. Wilson gives a strong argument for living like a human and tackling the difficult, and not just the difficult directly related to writing.
I had to explain enough chuckles that I ended up reading large portions out-loud. Also wonderful.
In short, Wordsmithy makes me want every soul to be a writer so I can force this book into their hands and head. But perhaps the rest of you already know all this stuff and don't need the encouragement and fun. :-)
Even so... there will be a giveaway of this slight tome happening here abouts. Watch carefully.
From the Book
These are all from the first chapter. You'll have to discover the rest for yourself. :-)
"Real life duties should be preferred over real life tourism. You are learning about the world and the people in it, about whom you will write, and you are learning how to do your job in the service of others, which is what you need to continue to do as you undertake the writing life. Knowledge of how to do your duty in one area transfers readily to another area."
"Live Ovid said, it is an art to conceal art, and I would add that it is art to half conceal the deep message. True artists know how to do this deftly, and message-mongers do not. But doing it deftly and with wisdom should never be confused with not doing it at all."
This quote is particularly good for me-
"If you enjoy living, you will enjoy writing about it. And if you enjoy writing about it, the chances are greatly increased that the readers will enjoying reading it."
"Love what you observe, love what you write, and love those who wrote it."