You can recognize a good writer by the style of his or her writing. And excellent writers can pick any style to emphasize their words. When I write, there are things that I recognize as my writing, but they are far from being style. And I don’t actively pick it — I just go with what my head comes up with.
What I experienced though, is that the tone of my thoughts, and through that, the tone of my writing adjusts to what I consume language-wise. Be it reading, watching or listening. After going through my blog roll, I am set for writing a blog post myself. When reading a good book of reference, I am ready to work on The Couch Book and reading a novel helps me to create more continuous, more flowing texts.
Knowing that, I try to plan ahead for the things I write to make sure my mind is set to the right tone I want my writings should be in.
I want The Couch Book to be the ultimate reference on CouchDB. I found that reading a few paragraphs of Robert Bringhurst’s excellentThe Elements of Typographic Style prepares me well. When I started reading that book for the second time, after the introduction, I suddenly knew how to write the introduction for The Couch Book. I am quite happy about that, since the introduction is one of the harder parts to write. The Elements finds the right balance between being a pleasant read and being instructional. While I can’t hope to match Bringhurst’s writing, I hope to find the right balance that suits my writing.
Thank you for mentioning Bringhurst, Jan! When reading this post, I really felt to get Robert’s book soon. It is kind of winter, huh? Winter’s means of existence is based upon reading and learning new stuff ;)