As a freelance writer, my business is to know how to write just about anything from news articles to promotional materials. As such, I need good reference books for my professional library to help remind how to write those things that I only write occasionally.
Which means anytime I see a book about writing, it gets my undivided attention. A new book, How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide by Laura Brown not only caught my attention, it has earned my recommendation.
For so many people writing a simple letter or memo feels like a punishment. While others like myself, it’s punishment not to be able to write. This book is an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand guidebook that offers tips and suggests for writing for anyone and for any type of writing.
The first section of the book covers Brown’s suggestion for the writing process. She introduces her “writing spinner” with six steps to the process. The steps include:
- Determine the purpose for the writing
- Determine who the audience or the readers are
- Brainstorm ideas
- Organize thoughts and ideas
- Do a first draft
- Revise, revise, revise
Brown stresses that the six steps don’t have to be followed in linear order. She writes, “There’s nothing wrong with the six-step process. What’s wrong is dictating the order in which you take the steps. When step-by-step becomes lockstep, it prevents you from being the writer you can be.”
The book is written in three sections, “The Writing Process,” “E-Writing and the Technology Revolution,” and “The Entries.” The last section, which makes up the bulk of the book, includes writing samples with suggestions on how to turn bad writing into good writing. The samples are a good mix of writing for personal reasons, writing for business, and writing for school.
Examples in “The Entries” section include writing tips for completing
- Love letters
- Wedding toasts
- Notes to children’s teachers
- Personal essays
- Book reviews
- Cover letters
- Business letters
- Press releases
- Business apology
- And many, many others
The best part of this book is the writing style and how easy Brown makes it to follow her writing process and her writing suggestions. It works as a complete guidebook for beginning writers as well as seasoned writers.
The book has found a home among my writing reference books that line my writing desk. Anyone who is looking for a writing reference will find their money’s worth with this book.Powered by Sidelines