I was reading a blog called How to Write this morning. I assume that writers everywhere are interested in the correct usage of their language. How to Write described it’s mission by saying “This site is dedicated to those of you who love to read or to write. I hope you find interesting reviews and discussions of your favorite books or authors, as well as, resources to help your writing endeavors.” As I scanned through the How to Write, the post that caught my interest was called “How to Write Clearly“. The author sited was Reverend Edwin A. Abbott. Abbott wrote a book called HOW TO WRITE CLEARLY – RULES AND EXERCISES ON ENGLISH COMPOSITION that was published in 1883.
The author of the blog post chose ten rules for writing clearly using Abbott as his reference point. The very old material is just as pertinent as it was over 120 years ago. In the preface to the book Abbott said:
ALMOST every English boy can be taught to write clearly, so far at least as clearness depends upon the arrangement of words. Force, elegance, and variety of style are more difficult to teach, and far more difficult to learn; but clear writing can be reduced to rules. To teach the art of writing clearly is the main object of these Rules and Exercises.....The art of writing forcibly is, of course, a valuable acquisition almost as valuable as the art of writing clearly. But forcible expression is not, like clear ex- pression, a mere question of mechanism and of the manipulation of words ; it is a much higher power, and implies much more.
I appreciated that Rev. Abbott recognized that quality writing is not all about mechanics. One could not help but see that he knew a writer must be talented in order to write “forcibly” or with “elegance”. I was inspired by his words.
Have a nice day.