**War Books: Five Books to Make You a Better Writer**
The United States Army recently issued a clarion call to its personnel, emphasizing the need to strengthen the Army profession through written discourse. Writing is a professional service and obligation, enabling leaders to share ideas, engage in doctrinal discussions, and contribute to the future of the Army. This blog post presents five books and resources that provide valuable guidance and inspiration for improving writing skills, empowering Army professionals to make significant contributions through their written work.
**1. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser**
William Zinsser’s seminal work, “On Writing Well,” is a must-read for aspiring writers. Its simple, straightforward advice identifies key principles that elevate writing regardless of the subject matter. Zinsser emphasizes clarity, precision, and impact, advocating for active voice, avoiding jargon and clichés, and organizing thoughts coherently. By following his guidance, writers can produce crisper, smoother, and more impactful writing.
**2. Working, by Robert Caro**
Robert Caro’s extensive biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson are renowned for their remarkable economy of words. His writing reflects a craftsmanship honed by practice and dedication, devoid of superfluous content. Caro’s work inspires writers to produce their best work and strive for excellence in their writing. While shortcuts exist in writing, the best writing avoids them.
**3. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King**
Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a classic in the how-to-write genre, offering valuable lessons on writing nonfiction from a master of fiction. King emphasizes the importance of storytelling in nonfiction writing, creating a narrative thread that carries the analysis or argument through to its conclusion. He stresses the need for engaging and accessible writing, even when dealing with dense or technical subject matter. The book is divided into five parts, with two parts particularly noteworthy: the second part provides motivation to write, while the third offers practical tools and techniques to improve writing skills.
**4. “Starting Professional Writing: A Harding Project How-To,” by Zachary Griffiths**
The Harding Project aims to strengthen the culture of professional writing in the Army and revitalize the service’s journals as platforms for dialogue, idea exchange, and collaboration. This concise article provides valuable tips and guidance for contributing to the Army profession through writing. It covers topics such as choosing the right topic, conducting research, organizing thoughts, and writing effectively.
**5. Anything You Like!: Reading Widely and Diversely**
Reading widely and diversely is essential for improving writing skills. As you read, pay attention to the writing style, organization, and techniques used by authors you admire. Identify what you appreciate about their work and try to incorporate those elements into your own writing. Reading widely exposes you to different writing styles and perspectives, broadening your horizons and enhancing your ability to express your ideas effectively.
Writing is a powerful tool for Army professionals to share ideas, contribute to the profession, and shape the future of the Army. The books and resources presented in this blog post provide valuable guidance and inspiration for improving writing skills. By following the advice and techniques presented in these resources, Army professionals can become more effective writers and contribute significantly to the Army profession through their written work. Embrace the journey of professional writing and strive for excellence in your writing.