I first read this book in 2017. I picked up a used copy recently and decided to reread it. Klinkenborg’s prose is so damn good. Here’s his advice on writing:
Learn to write anywhere, at any time, in any conditions,
With anything, starting from nowhere.
All you really need is your head, the one indispensable requirement.
Here’s his advice on editing:
It’s true that the simplest revision is deletion.
But there’s often a fine sentence lurking within a bad sentence,
A better sentence hiding under a good sentence.
Work word by word until you discover it.
Don’t try to fix an existing sentence with minimal effort,
Without reimagining it.
You can almost fix never a sentence—
Or find the better sentence within it—
By using only the words it already contains.
If they were the right words already, the sentence probably wouldn’t need fixing.
And yet writers sit staring at a flawed sentence as if it were a Rubik’s Cube,
Trying to shift the same words round and round until they find the solution.
Take note of this point: it will save you a lot of frustration.
This applies to paragraphs too.
You may not be able to fix the paragraph using only the sentences it already contains.
It’s definitely a book to keep around to improve my writing.