A Renaissance of Reading and Writing
Douglas Wilson writes with a certain gusto which often causes no small stir. He's also unique as a theologian who also writes about a variety of other topics ranging from education, writing, logic, philosophy. I might argue that the church has far too few renaissance men and that's part of the problem Wordsmithy address. Wilson urges aspiring writers to write well by reading broadly and writing widely. My default in reading and writing is to pigeon hole myself into a hole by only focusing on theological work. Theology is wonderful and I could count the ways but Wilson argues that to writer well no matter what your preferred genre requires more than reading in just your field. He offers seven practical tips:
Know something about the world.
Read mechanical helps.
Stretch before your routines.
Be at peace with being lousy for a while.
Learn another language.
Keep a commonplace book.
Wilson than expands each of these points into seven additional sub-points which flesh out each of these thesis. I found the advice practical, punchy, and memorable in the way you expect if you've read anything by Douglas Wilson.
Intentional Reading and Writing
I've been encouraged to be even more intentional in my reading to improve my writing. I have kept a common book of sorts on and off for over the last eight or nine years but I've never included phrases and the like in my book. I've read three books since and have already benefited from tracking interesting phrases and turn of words. Don't tell anyone but I've also taken to heart his advice about reading through dictionaries and etymologies and jotting down interesting words. I would also add that if you purchase your books through Kindle and use its highlight feature tracking these items is easy. You can download the Kindle app to your computer desktop and then copy and paste into a digital common book or transcribe into your hard cover. Also, I found Wordsmithy to be a fantastic companion to Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. They very much complemented each other.