How Beginning Writers Can Avoid Coming Off As Pretentious

If you only rarely get the chance to write for a public audience, you pieces can very well end up reading like a first-year Comparative Literature major, eager to prove your skills and range. Noted author V.S. Naipaul offers a seven-step boot camp for breaking down your writing and instilling discipline.

Naipaul, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, states that you can’t write long sentences with big words until you know how to write with small words, in small sentences. Each sentence, too, needs to make a clear statement, adding to the previous statement. It’s good advice and a refreshing tonic for those looking to remind themselves of the fundamentals. Naipaul provides an action plan to put this routine into place:

7. Every day, for six months at least, practice writing in this way. Small words; short, clear, concrete sentences. It may be awkward, but it’s training you in the use of language. It may even be getting rid of the bad language habits you picked up at the university. You may go beyond these rules after you have thoroughly understood and mastered them.

Could you go six months at your work writing only in small words and short sentences? Do you know some fellow workers who could stand to do the same?

VS Naipaul’s Advice To Writers [The India Uncut Blog via BoingBoing]

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