Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace

By · Sunday, June 28th, 2009
Date Read: June 11, 2009
Book Title: Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace
Author: Joseph M. Williams
Publisher: Pearson/Longman (2006)
Nonfiction: 148 pages
Style was the eighth book I read in 2009.

Reason I read Style:

I am very fortunate to have found mentors who help me. Recently, I made a friend here at Taft Camp. My new friend’s name is Steve, and I actually met Steve through Justin, another friend of mine who was recently released from Taft Camp. Steve had read some of my writing before he self-surrendered. As we became acquainted, he told me that his wife, Peggy, was Professor of English at a Nevada University. Peggy has since begun editing some of my writing. She sent two small books on writing, one of which was Style. That was the reason I read it.

What I learned from reading Style:

Writing does not come naturally or easily for me. It’s kind of like my running in that way. Those who read of the thousands of miles I run each year may consider me a natural athlete. The truth is that running is work for me, an exercise in will. Writing is the same. I write because I feel a real need to connect with society and feel as if my life has relevance, though writing itself does not come easily. I know that I have a tendency to write choppy sentences, and I do not consider myself gifted in the art of writing gracefully. Through discipline, I can write prolifically, and practice can help me write with clarity.

From reading Style, I learned that many writers struggle with the same challenges of choppy sentences. I hope that I picked up some techniques taht will help me improve as a writer.

How reading Style will contribute to my success upon release:

Regardless of what career I pursue upon release, I know that effective communication skills will help. I need to work on developing more effective ways to connect with my fellow citizens, and learning about writing techniques is a useful way to spend my final months in prison. I’ve been writing for many years, though I always look for guidance that can help me improve. Reading Style has given me new insight that I appreciate.

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