My Favorite Quote on Writing

I keep on hand a folder of great quotes from admired writers on the art of prose style. Perhaps my favorite is from C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 227:

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

Steven Pinker on Good Writing

If you’re a writer (or you aspire to it), be sure to check out a brand new book by language expert Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (Viking). It was released earlier this week and quickly claimed the top spot in its category in Amazon.

Just a few days back, Pinker delivered a worthwhile lecture on good writing. It includes some Q&A at the end. Have a listen here:

Newton’s Comfort for Christian Bloggers, Writers, and Preachers

Taken from the diary of a friend of John Newton’s, recounting a personal conversation they enjoyed:

January 26, 1804 —

He [Newton] told me that after he was settled at Olney [his first pastorate], and had preached six sermons, he thought he had told them his whole stock, and was considerably depressed.

“But,” he said, “I was walking one afternoon by the side of the river Ouse; I asked myself, How long has this river run? Many hundred years before I was born, and will run many years after I am gone. Who supplies the fountains from whence this river comes? God. Is not the fund for my sermons equally inexhaustible? — the word of God. Yes, surely. I have never been afraid of running out since that time.”

I asked if he had consumed all the variety in the Bible now he was an old man and an old minister. He smiled, and said, “O no, Sir; O, no, Sir.”