To write well there are two things you need to do: write (obvi) and READ — from a lot of different places and a lot of different sources. Specifically, you need to read writing that is rich and puzzling and maddening and memorable. Your brain is hungry and it needs to be fed, and sorry, but textbooks and journal articles alone won’t cut it. Now, some of this is, as epi/biostat folks would say, “non-quantifiable.” Which is another way of saying that we don’t know exactly how it works. Of course reading from a variety of sources increases your vocabulary, which can help your writing – no mystery there. But after you’ve been doing this for awhile, you’ll find that new words and expressions will pop into your head just when you need them. I have no idea how that works, just that it does.
What I’m offering here are non-fiction pieces from some of the best writers in the country, and to help make the experience as beneficial as possible, you need to actively engage with the text. There may be unfamiliar words or interesting expressions that you've heard of but not known how to use. You can see how the writer builds paragraphs and uses punctuation to guide the reader through a long, complicated sentence. And afterward, if you’re willing, a writing exercise which you can do or not, share with me or not, your choice. But it’s there if you want it.
This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I’m excited to finally begin. I hope you’ll decide to join me.