Writing: what is good writing?

“Good writing is lean and confident.
That is not me talking. That is William Zinsser talking in his classic On Writing Well—the only book I recommend to those who are short on time but still wish to be better writers.

I almost completely forgot all about the above observation Zinsser made in On Writing Well until a few days ago. Here is what happened: I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with bestselling author Dan Pink last year about his article titled My challenge to you: only speak like a human at work, which was, if I remember correctly, published in the early July of 2010. To make a long story short, Dan graciously agreed to conduct a quick interview for sneezr.ca, but since he was very busy during that time we agreed to postpone it until early January of 2011.

Let me now fast-forward you right to Jan 3, 2011. Since I believe that honing and demonstrating Younique expertise is one of the best ways to achieve long-term success, I decided to not follow some “traditional” formula for the above interview. Instead, I simply decided to ask Dan just one open-ended question about his professional development: what are the five things that enabled you to be successful? Here’s his answer to my question:

1. Being born in the United States.
2. Have a smart and supportive spouse.
3. Practice.
4. Practice.
5. Practice.

As William Zinsser said, “good writing is lean and confident.”