Why write? "Scores of articles were written for the New Yorker because he himself [Editor William Shawn] was curious about something; he wanted to find out about a particular situation or person or event. Gill, Here at the New Yorker.
What are some characteristics of poor writing? "Dying metaphors...worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples: "Take up the cudgels," "toe the line," etc. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning. Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," A Collection of Essays.
What are some characteristics of poor writing? "[In poor writing] the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining)." Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," A Collection of Essays. [Note that, in contrast to Orwell's advice, his sentence is a passive construction. In the active voice, the sentence would read: "Poor writers use the passive voice wherever possible, etc., etc."] [Active voice: "The boy hit the ball." Passive voice: "The ball was hit by the boy."]
What are some characteristics of poor writing? "It is easier--even quicker, once you have the habit--to say "In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that...." than to say, "I think." Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," A collection of Essays.
Should you write as you speak? "Those who write as they speak, even though they speak well, write badly." Comte De Buffon. Gross, ed., Oxford Book of Aphorisms..