What’s this book about?
This book is written for the average English writer who has difficulty knowing how to write well. It can also be used by students in middle or high school, or for those studying English as a Second Language. That’s why the language in this book is very, very simple.
It is not designed for people who already know how to write well, or for those who already have a solid understanding of the rules of grammar. They might get a book such as The Elements of Style (along with the excellent companion, On Writing Well).
The problem people face these days is that they can get anything they want off the internet, but most reference sources are often too complicated for the average person.
So, I have used simple language throughout this book, with the hope that it is useful to the broadest audience possible. I’ve specifically made things less complicated, and this does mean that I have skipped over some things that people highly educated in grammar will howl over. Well, this is not written for highly educated people. If you are highly educated in grammar, you don’t need this book.
(If you’re adventurous, there is a section at the end of the book where I get into more detail, but I don’t want to lose you along the way with anything complicated.)
I wrote this book because modern-day writing has become terrible. I see many errors in all forms of writing, from simple emails to school papers.
In an online world, you write all the time and are judged by how well you write. You may post a message on Facebook, send a message on a dating site, use email, or write a blog. You don’t want to look poorly educated.
One can suppose that good writing has been lost for a number of reasons. I won’t speculate as to why, although I suspect it has a lot to do with the generally poor state of education these days.
Unfortunately, I can’t teach you how to become a great writer. The best way to learn to write well is to read well-written books (or even magazines and online articles), write a lot, and ask for help when you need it.
I can, however, help you with tips that I learned along the way myself, from stern-faced English teachers, fellow writers, and a lot of study. I love this language, and I’ve spent my life learning about it.
Am I a great writer? Not really. I’m decent, and I still make mistakes myself. I’ve done something, however, that not many people get a chance to do: While I am a professional CEO, I’ve spent a great part of my career doing professional writing. I started my career as a technical and marketing writer and later, became a fairly well-known writer in the online world. One thing I learned early on was to have no shame. I would take anything I had written to the smartest writer I knew and ask him or her tear it to pieces. I learned a lot that way. Practice makes (nearly) perfect.
I hope this books helps you to become a better writer. However, I know that my work is not complete and I’m always looking for feedback. Email me from my website and let me know your thoughts, or where you could use some help. I consider this book a “living document” and will continue to update it from time to time.