As I was making my reading list, going back over most of the things I've read the last few years I noticed how I wanted to re-read some of the really good books on that list. As I write this, Getting to Yes is spread open under my laptop cord and I'm trying to transcribe how hostile Persian negotiations can relate to getting my kids to wear the right clothes in the winter and pick up the dolls in their bedrooms. Both are diplomatic tightropes.
Among the great books on my list is Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. I've read this book cover to cover and in bits and pieces many times, but not recently. The book reminds me of my multimeter, not only because they are both green, but because they are tools I forget how to use. Just recently I was installing a new bedroom light and forgot how to measure an AC current. It's a basic mistake that I made because of infrequent use. It's the same with Writing Tools.
How to fix this then, use the tools. Each week for the next fifty weeks, I'll be sharing what the tool is, how I can use it and examples of its use. This will provide a nice refresher course on some tools for me, it will be a regular blog feature for you to read, and it will help us both appreciate good writing. (See that's The Language of Three, Tool #20).
Next week, Tool #1: Begin Sentences with Subjects and Verbs