William Zinsserâ€”author of 17 booksâ€”talks in length on the trials and tribulations of writing ‘On Writing Well’.
My initial fear of immodesty was misguided. The best teachers of a craft, I saw, are their own best textbook. Students who take their classes really want to know how they do what they doâ€”how they grew into their knowledge and learned from their wrong turns. Thereafter, in every edition, I wrote more revealingly, trusting my readers to trust me if I veered down some unlikely trail of anecdote to illustrate a point.
It now occurs to me that I didn’t really find my style until I wrote On Writing Well, at the late age of 52. Until then my style more probably reflected who I wanted to be perceived asâ€”the urbane columnist and humorist and critic. Only when I started writing as a teacher and had no agenda except to be helpful did my style become integrated with my personality and my character.