Jonathan says that my prose style has become a lot better than it was last summer. The truth, however, is that it hasn’t. What changed is that I now write every day, which means that I start every writing session by rereading the entire document. This means that I have read my most recent article 26 times.
Of course, every time I read it, I change something in it. As a result, the style improves a little bit with every change.
Maybe a good writing style is just that: a very polished kind of writing that the author has spent a lot of time editing, rereading, and then editing some more. People will now tell me that this is self-evident but, for me, this is a huge discovery. I always thought that people who wrote well just sat down and produced beautiful prose as a matter of course. A lot of editing, however, meant that a person had a bad writing style.
It’s like that joke:
“So how is married life?”
“Great! I like everything about my wife, except for one thing.”
“What is that?”
“She is very dirty.”
“Yes! She showers twice a day, so she must be absolutely filthy.”