I am a perpetual apprentice to the oft neglected and under appreciated art of writing well. Words, either written or spoken, are the most powerful means of communication we have. While images, animations, sounds, and music certainly have the ability to capture our attention and engage us, words are needed to persuade, instruct, and argue.
The words you use, either written or spoken, can have powerful effects on your audience‚—if you use them carefully and skillfully. Whether your goal is to inform, to persuade, to call for action, or to entertain, your words and your stories can be powerful. They can be powerful, because language is software for the mind
For the past few years, aside from corporate email speak, I have spent the majority of my time writing software for computers. This has placed my writing, or software for the mind skills, a bit in the backseat. Obviously, being well read, and practice writing are the keys to improvement; however, there are times when direct discussion about the topic itself proves helpful. Below are a few resources that I have found in the past few months that maybe useful.
- The Elements of Style — This 92 year old book is always ever popular by writers. Its tips about the fundementals are always worth perusing.
- The Economist Style Guide — This is the style guide given to journalist at the eminent news magazine The Economist. It has a somewhat British English bent to it, but accounts for Americanisms.
- The New York Times: Grammar and Usage Section — There are a plethora of interesting articles and resources about writing here. The prestigious newspaper also critiques itself in the After Deadline section. Even the professionals make mistakes too, and still work to refine their craft.
- Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) — This is a 104 year old style guide (currently in its 15th edition) for American English. The CMS deals with aspects of editorial practice, from grammar and usage to document preparation.