In my normal day job as a naval architect I regularly spend a lot of time writing proposals, specifications, reports, and letters. I do not fall into the stereotype that some people have of engineers who can not write and actually believe I have decent writing skills. I am often asked to write or help write letters to companies, recommendation letters, application letters, etc. for friends and family since my writing seems to get results. I am also a daily news writer and product reviewer for Geek.com and receive lots of positive feedback from readers. I was blessed to have some excellent teachers in high school who challenged me to write and then in college I had some more great instruction on how to put my ideas and thoughts together in written form. However, while others may think I am quite good, I personally feel I can improve and jumped at the chance to put together a review of an ebook titled, “How to Write”. As readers of my blog and Geek.com know I am an avid ebook reader and was happy to see Stacy Harp from Mind & Media get a chance to review an electronic format of a book.
How to Write was written by Herbert and Jill Meyer and is published by Storm King Press. This is a book that has been around since 1986 and was updated in 1993 to reflect a change in the hardware related to writing. The amazing thing is that now this book is available in electronic format for only $1.99. I was sent a free copy to review in Adobe PDF format, but it is also available in Microsoft Reader and Mobipocket Reader format. I am going to buy the Mobipocket format since I use this reader on my Tablet PC, Palm, Series 60, and Windows Mobile devices.
How to Write is just over 100 pages in Adobe format and is both an instruction book and handbook that everyone who writes should immediately purchase. When I say everyone who writes, I mean anyone who writes letters, memos, reports, reviews, novels, short stories, manuals, etc. which I imagine covers just about all of us. I plan on having my daughters read this book now as they are really starting to develop their writing style and feel this will help them focus and improve immediately.
How to Write starts with an introduction talking about how the volume of text available to us today is an exponential increase over what our grandparents may have been exposed to and how important it is for authors to now put together material that compels the reader to continue reading their text. I admit I am a serious data hound and could browse all day on the internet reading about mobile devices, Christianity, sports, news, and more. I end up focusing on certain sites where I find the writing to be of good quality and with good content.
There is a small section on how to use the book and the authors recommend that you read through the entire book from cover to cover and then continue to use it as a handbook afterwards. That is why I am buying the Mobipocket format, so it is with me and my mobile devices at all times.
The main content of the book is divided into 3 parts; Organizing for the Job, Turning Out a First Draft, and Polishing the Product.
I have always been very self-disciplined and extremely well organized so organizing for the job was a section title I was excited to read about. This part is divided into 3 key steps; choose your category, pick your points, and collect your details. The authors go into great detail for each step and as you will read organization is vital to creating a well formed piece of written material.
The second part is also divided into three important steps; figure out your theme, make your outline, and write your draft. I found the instructions and tips quite helpful and plan on ensuring I follow the advice in my writing. The authors provide detailed examples of the methods and techniques so the reader has no doubt about how to apply them in their own writing.
The third part discusses polishing your writing with accuracy, precision, consistency, briefness, fairness, and more. This part ends by bringing in the draft of a sample from part two and then shows how the writing can be polished and refined to a final product
The final section of the book is titled Ready, Set, Go and answers some common questions you may have about writing, while also encouraging you to get out and write.
I read through the book in just about an hour and plan on using it as a handbook for my daily writing tasks. I highly recommend you purchase this book for yourself or student you may know for the very small fee of only $1.99 and think you will find it worth much more than that.