20 RULES FOR GOOD WRITING
1. Prefer the plain word for the fancy.
2. Prefer the familiar word for the unfamiliar.
3. Prefer the Saxon word to the Romans.
4. Prefer nouns and verbs to adjectives and adverbs.
5. Prefer picture nouns and action verbs.
6. Never use a long word when a short one will do as well.
7. Master the simple declarative sentence.
8. Prefer the simple sentence to the complicated.
9. Vary your sentence length.
10. Put the words you want to emphasize at the beginning
or end of your sentence.
11. Use the active voice.
12. Put statements in a positive form.
13. Use short paragraphs.
14. Cut needles words, sentences and paragraphs.
15. Use plain, conversational language. Write like you talk.
16. Avid imitation. Write in your natural style.
17. Write clearly.
18. Avoid gobbledygook and jargon.
19. Write to be understood, not to impress.
20. Revise and rewrite. Improvement is always possible.
Charles Spurgeon’s 9 Tips for Christian Readers
1. Know that your reading is important.
“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes
will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has
no brains of his own. You need to read.”
2. Reading and praying are the best ways to spend leisure time.
“We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to
be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you
may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” -
join in the cry.”
3. Read fewer books deeply instead of rushing through many.
“Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you.
Read and reread them…digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book
several times and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution
is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books he has merely
skimmed. Little learning and much pride comes from hasty reading. Some men are
disabled from thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. In reading
let your motto be ‘much not many.’”
4. Make sure your learning results in heart knowledge.
“An ounce of heart knowledge is worth more than a ton of head learning.”
5. Live in the Bible.
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”
“All human books grow stale after a time-but with the Word of God the desire to study it
increases, while the more you know of it the less you think you know. The Book grows upon you:
as you dive into its depths you have a fuller perception of the infinity which remains to be
explored. You are still sighing to enjoy more of that which it is your bliss to taste.”
6. Read the Puritans.
“By all means read the Puritans, they are worth more than all the modern stuff put together.”
“Next to the Bible, the book I value most is ’’John Bunyans Pilgrims Progress
believe I have read it through at least a hundred times. It is a volume of which I never seem to
tire; and the secret of its freshness is that it is so largely compiled from the Scriptures.”
7. Learn from Paul’s example.
[Speaking of Paul's words in 2 Timothy 4:13]:
“He was inspired, and yet he wants books!
He had been preaching for thirty years, and yet he wants books!
He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books!
He had a wider experience than most men do, and yet he wants books!
He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things that it was not lawful for a
man to utter, and yet he wants books!
He had written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!”
8. Discern what you should and shouldn’t read.
“Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin.”
9. Prioritize your reading with what nourishes your soul.
“Give yourself to reading.’… You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature,
but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and
expositions of the Bible.”