Why every editor should read “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction” by William Zinsser

The book “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction” by William Zinsser was first published in 1976. It offers useful advice to experts who work with nonfiction texts on a daily basis: writers, editors, proofreaders. Even though the primary purpose of the book is to teach a person write informative and impressive nonfiction texts, reading this book will be useful to editors as well. Here’s why.

To begin with, the job of an editor is not merely to spot mistakes. When an editor comes across a paragraph that needs changing, they are the ones who are going to rewrite it. This book offers useful advice on how to write nonfiction in a clear and creative manner. If you are a wannabe freelance writer, this book is the first material you should study. Editors, in their turn, will learn more about fundamental writing rules and unique insights which will help them do their job more effectively. Besides, the majority of companies that are looking for editors want applicants to have exceptional writing skills as well.

Due to the fact that William Zinsser has worked as an editor, he knows how to write a guide that will come in handy not only to writers, but also to editors. If you are a magazine editor, this is a must-read for you. Apart from that, the book is not only informative, but also very fun to read. There are tons of useful examples that are balanced out by hilarious anecdotes. The latter helps to prove the point much better than a detailed grammatical rule.

The author highlights the importance of constant practice: the more you write and edit, the better you become at it. You should start by writing as often as possible. At first, it is allowed not to pay much attention to the quality of the text. Jotting down ideas and forming them into paragraphs is fine. Later, you should get down to the editing process. This is the part where you are supposed to choose which parts are going to stay and which ones you will either rewrite or delete. Typically, editing takes longer than writing as your main goal with editing is to polish your text. The most significant rules every editor should adhere to are as follows: be concise; be simple; be clear; be human. Aim for using shorter words and shorter sentences. Active voice is always a better choice than passive voice. Make sure there is a logical transition from one part of the text to another. Make your writing unique and memorable. Pay special attention to the introductory and concluding paragraphs. They need to be impressive, informative and strong.

No matter whether you edit texts dealing with the issues within the fields of sports or architecture, reading this book will be equally advantageous. You will find out more about fundamental nonfiction writing principles which will help you get one of those well-paid editing jobs faster. There are lots of editing positions available but not all companies can offer an applicant lot. In case you have just started looking through the list of jobs for editors, gaining as much knowledge and experience as possible is crucial. The best piece of advice is to send your resume as you as you spot the vacancy ‘editor wanted’. The jobs editing section on vacancy websites may have tons of offers but it does not mean that you will find an interesting position. When a company is looking for editors to join their team, they want applicants to share their expertise in the field. The more useful material you have read on editing and writing, the easier it will be for you to get one of those jobs for editors. So, allocating enough time to read  “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction” by William Zinsser will definitely help you land one of the available jobs for editors and prove how useful your knowledge and expertise can be.

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