Recently I picked up a book that had nothing to do with Business, Internet… or Productivity… and on the other hand had a lot to do with both: I picked up what’s considered the best book on writing… as I want to improve my writing skills:
I’m writing three books right now…
Well, I have three book projects opened up and started at this point. All three are non-fiction books that cover startups and internet business… and productivity (of course). I should finish the first book (which I started last - go figure…) quite soon, so stay tuned.
That’s why I decided to “read” a book on writing to learn some new skills and listen to the “Master Editor” himself. I wasn’t disappointed.
Sol Stein talks more about fiction… but refers to non-fiction a lot
A great discovery for me - what makes a non-fiction book work is the same thing that makes the fiction book stick so well… the structure, “suspense” and other aspects of popular bestsellers can be applied to non-fiction, too. Books on business shouldn’t be boring, right?
Many techniques… and I’ll have to listen again for sure :-)
Before I finish up my book I’ll definitely listen to this one again to make sure I follow Sol’s advice on revising, cutting content and moving things around. He’s talking heavily on reducing “filler-words”, repetitions and many aspects of the book that don’t bring new value to the table.
Changing “hats” - reader vs author vs editor dilemma
Sol’s constantly challenging authors to actually wear several “hats” when writing their books:
Casual book browser - pick up your book and see if it actually interests you when you read the first page
Writer - just write - don’t stop, just keep on writing and don’t edit what you just wrote
Editor - print out your book and edit it. Remove stuff, use red pen, be cruel to your book and as objective as can be
Reader - read the book and see if it bores you… where you loose focus, where you get distracted…
Curator - remove passages that don’t add value, choose the best ones, put them in the right order…
Writing a book is no piece of cake… but I’m determined to do it anyway :-)
That’s right - I want to improve my writing skills. That’s why I’m blogging here anyway. Books are not dead and that’s why I’m writing these and I want them to be really good. And short and to the point. Edited masterfully just like Sol Stein has taught me. Good examples of such books in business currently are Rework by 37signals and new “The Modern Meeting Standard” by Al Pittampali (now free on Kindle!). Wish me best of luck and if you’re into book writing - go ahead and learn a few things from the master Sol Stein himself.
Do you write? Do you practice writing? What did you discover recently that improved your writing skills?