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Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  931 ratings  ·  243 reviews
Wordsmithy is for writers of every sort, whether experienced veterans, still just hoping, or somewhere in between. Through a series of out-of-the-ordinary lessons, each with its own takeaway points and recommended readings, Douglas Wilson provides indispensable guidance, showing how to develop the writer s craft and the kind of life from which good writing comes.
Paperback, 120 pages
Published 2011 by Canon Press
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4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  931 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Courtney Carlson
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
If only he'd called it "Wordpsmithy"... :)
Becky Pliego
2018: Grateful for Pastor Wilson who generously gives us not only great books to learn about God, life, education, etc. but also this really good book filled with practical tips to encourage us to write too.

2012: Great book.
Jacob Aitken
I am evaluating Wilson on professional respect, and I am trying to keep my antipathy of his theology, polemics, and ecclesiology to a minimum. Wilson has triumphed in an area where most people have failed--writing. Therefore, if he writes a book on how to write well, and how to live the writer's life, then he deserves to be listened to.

The book is interestingly arranged. He writes an introduction and then divides that introduction to intersperse throughout the chapters. At the end of each secti
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As an early Christmas present my in-laws gave me a copy of Wordsmithy by Doug Wilson, and I read it very quickly. I have read many Doug Wilson books so I am used to his voice and perspective, but in this book he really is playful and expansive. This is not a how to manual for aspiring writers with nuts and bolts, there are some good books that can do that, such as The Book on Writing by LaRocque.

This book is all about how live as a writer. Read good books, live a life with something to say, pra
Mark Jr.
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, kindle
I try to be scrupulous in my use of the five stars allotted to me by the gentle people of Goodreads. Five stars means "it was amazing." And I can't honestly say that about this book. But it was certainly fantastic. I—four stars—"really liked it." I chuckled and I learned. And it was short. It's hard to beat those qualities.

All Christian writers should pick up this book, and most Christian preachers, especially those who do anything remotely close to manuscripting their sermons. Sermonizing is on
Jesse Broussard
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I feel far too inadequate to review this book, as if I were asked to give a comic introduction to Bob Hope: I'd much rather shut up and sit down.

Having said that, read this book. Again and again and again. Memorize the blasted thing, and buy and read all the books he recommends. Or just follow him around till you see a chariot then steal his coat.
T. Aidan McGuire
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Helpful teaching on the unteachable subject.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is one book Wilson has written that is funnier than this one, and it is an obscure one (Contours of Postmaturity). Get that one, and read it, if you can. But this one is helpful in a different way. A delight to read (which it ought to be considering it's a book on writing), and quite helpful.
Darby Stouffer
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. It's funny, it's easy to read, and it provides great advice for those of us that want to be better writers, but aren't quite sure how to go about it. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer.
Evan Hecht
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent wisdom found here that's worth rereading annually.
Josiah Brown
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a little while ago, and I have to say that it was amazing. All the tips that he gives don't necessarily help everybody in the same way, but it was a great sum of tips for the writing life. I am starting to get more and more into writing, and this was a great way to help me grow a bit as I learn to write better. I highly recommend this book.
James Nance
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good book full of good words, directing the reader and writer to more good words and good books.
Bethany B.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Doug Wilson attacks the craft head-on… by addressing the craftsman.

"Wordsmithy" discusses how to be a person with your head on right--how to be a good writer not just good at writing.

The book is divided into seven tips with seven sub-tips, "a veritable Russian doll," as he puts it. From living to reading, from mechanics to language, from lousiness to skill, from sketching to stretching, Wilson moves with light-hearted seriousness from topic to topic while demonstrating his own subject matter.
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
A Renaissance of Reading and Writing

Douglas Wilson writes with a certain gusto which often causes no small stir. He’s also unique as a theologian who also writes about a variety of other topics ranging from education, writing, logic, philosophy. I might argue that the church has far too few renaissance men and that’s part of the problem Wordsmithy address. Wilson urges aspiring writers to write well by reading broadly and writing widely. My default in reading and writing is to pigeon hole myself
Wesley Rea
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick and easy read for a car trip. I know Doug Wilson is a polarizing figure to some, but one cannot deny that he is a great writer. This book is filled with tips and thoughts related to becoming a better writer, and I felt very inspired by the time I finished it.

One point in particular that stuck with me was the section about how we forget most of what we read. This is because we are human and most of us can't possibly memorize every book we go through, even though the pressure migh
Jeff Short
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Of making many books there is no end, so says Solomon. I would add a corollary: Of making many books about making many books there is no end. In this case, that is a good thing. I have read enough of Doug Wilson that I wasn't surprised at how good this book is. Readable doesn't do it justice even if it is eminently. Wordsmithy is informative, insightful, and entertaining.

I must confess that I audibly chortled a number of times. I maybe even threatened a guffaw. I thought about including some quo
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lotta fun. Great advice from a pro, and it comes in small chunks, so I made lots of little bits of progress and finished in about 2 days. I've gotten into a habit of noting funny spots, and in this 120-page book, there might be 100. Not bad.

Gospel Coalition review here.

And here Wilson explains which writers have provided his own writing with "that winsome tartness." Those writers are C.S. Lewis, H.L. Mencken, P.G. Wodehouse, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Calvin, G.K. Chesterton, Rousas Rushdoony, William
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: words, writing
This punchy little book more than lived up to its title. Fun to read and makes you want to write.
Ryan Hawkins
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I listen frequently to the Home Row podcast hosted by J.A. Medders and this is recommended on there all the time. I love the podcast, and I enjoy Doug Wilson and his writing. And I did like this book. But I’ll be honest (and this might change as I will certainly read this book again, probably next year since it’s so short), I didn’t love this. I was a little disappointed.

In brief, here’s two main reasons why I was a tad disappointed.

First, it’s a very basic book structure (and Wilson admits it o
Terrence Daugherty
Worth reading repeatedly

I recommend this book to those nascent writers, like myself, who want to expand their abilities, but don't really have the time to compile the necessary resources for doing so. This book will be one of the few that I try to read often as I continue to develop my skills.

While Wilson is quite prescriptive in this book, he leaves the reader (or rather, the writer) with a plethora of recommended resources. Not only that, but Wilson also 'practices what he preaches.' His pith
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are innumerable how-to books for writers cluttering the marketplace. I tend to avoid them (often, I suppose, to my detriment), but I read this one on the recommendation of my father, and I'm not sorry I did.
This is not another book purporting to tell you how to write correctly, or in the manner that might prove most lucrative. This is more a guide on how to cultivate a life conducive to worthy writing. I found it to be equal parts approachable and entertaining.
Scotty Mac
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hard to beat a book on writing that makes you laugh throughout. This quick hitting practical guide to writing with power is one that I will recommend often to any aspiring writers such as myself.
Vincent Stewart
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Really fun! Great insight. Will reference again and again.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best writing books out there. Period.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, writing
I just wish there was more. Some really interesting thoughts on the writing life!
Valerie Kyriosity
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wrought iron makes my heart go pitter-pat. There are smiths who can make beautiful things out of the stuff. And then there are the mere farriers who can hammer a metal half-moon onto the overgrown toenail of a horse. Though they're not quite as lofty as the iron artists, they can sometimes save kingdoms, which isn't too shabby a calling.

That's the kind of wordsmith I am. I like to mess about with words, but I'm not much of a writer...just a pretty competent (I hope) equine pedicurist, i.e., a co
Anna Catherman
I found Wordsmithy an informative, sometimes tricky read. Quite scholarly and from a decidedly Christian perspective, it gave me plenty of food for thought. It was a little hard to get through for me personally, though (hence why it took me almost two months to read!).
Adam Ross
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-writing
Doug Wilson's book on writing is a lot of things, but boring is hardly one of them. His trademark pithy style is in full force here (something I haven't had so much fun with since A Serrated Edge).

If you picked the book up hoping for some help on the mechanics of writing, you're sure to be disappointed, because Wilson's book is about the writing "life," and therefore has more to do with prep than enactment, principles rather than rules. Much of it, in fact, is advice that needs to be applied ye
Aaron Downs
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading Douglas Wilson’s witty work about writing, Wordsmithy, was a wacky way to want wonderful words to work their way into my own writing. This short book serves as a sort of discipleship manual for those who want to use words effectively, especially in writing. The suggestions given by this book serve to help one become a better writer, a better speaker, and a better reader. The directions that Wilson gives, if followed, produce a disciplined, yet delightful, development of diction. Though I ...more
Aug 05, 2012 added it
I've enjoyed this book, it was a fun and informative read. Filled with practical advice for writers (maybe I think they are great because I've read very little on writing). I've enjoyed Doug Wilson's other works so I had high hopes with this book to reveal the working of a great writer. Wilson had seven points in the book, which he then breaks down into seven smaller points in a format that he describes as "Seven Russian Dolls." If you find that clever as I did, you would enjoy other witty sayin ...more
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
“Be at peace with being lousy for a while. Chesterton once said that anything worth doing was worth doing badly. He was right. Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out.” 13 likes
“A lot of aspiring writers quote the right people, but they do so like Mary Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. They quote Austen like Mary quoted her eighteenth-century bromides, and were Austen here to see them do it, she'd slap them right into her next book, and it wouldn't be pretty.” 11 likes
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