Thirty years ago, famed ad man David Ogilvy wrote a simple memo “How to Write,” in which he says, “People who think well, write well.”

People who write and edit well attack prose as if they were at war with the words. They have zero tolerance for lazy thinking or lazy writing.

In the battle between brevity and clarity, good writers fight to the last adverb. They devour other people’s writing (reading makes you a better writer). Good writers wrestle every sentence into submission. They stand up against awkward construction and sloppy usage.

Ogilvy also offered hope to those whose writing needs improvement. He explained, “Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.”

You have to learn to write well, and fortunately, you can learn to write well. The college drop-out/cook/salesman/diplomat/farmer who founded an advertising firm at the age of 38, despite having never even written copy, has 10 hints to help you.

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