In his memoir On Writing Stephen King writes:

While it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and

while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one,

it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.

For those of us in that category—competent writers who want to become good writers—I would recommend Douglas Wilson’s short new book, Wordsmith: Hot Tips for the Writing Life. You can read some samples at the link. It contains Wilson’s trademark way of saying wise and insightful things in a punchy and memorable way. For example:

  • “If everything you write smells like a library, then your prospective audience will be limited to those who like the smell of libraries.”
  • “Read until your brain creaks.”
  • “Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out.”
  • “The brain is not a shoebox that ‘gets full,’ but is rather a muscle that expands its capacity with increased use.”

And that’s just from the first two pages!