A Short Book Review: Wordsmithy by Doug Wilson

Have you ever toyed with the idea of writing? Is the art of wedding words one that you would like to master? Do you appreciate a good metaphor? Then you ought to read Wordsmithy by Doug Wilson. It’s a short book (128 pages) with seven chapters that Wilson describes as “Hot Tips for the Writing Life.”

Wilson writes in a cogent, succinct, and humorous style that keeps reading his book from being a chore. He breaks down his seven chapters in to seven, easy-to-digest chunks. You could cover considerable ground during a lunch break, which is something that cannot often be said for guys of his brain-size.

One of the best pieces of advice that I gleaned from the book comes in chapter five. Wilson says,

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. Some writers- those who live charmed lives- have been brilliant first time out, but this happens so rarely that we shouldn’t care who they are. You can’t copy them anyways. You can copy those who got good.

I have been that egoist. The perfectionism and insecurities in me militate against my willingness to try. I fear to fail. But to be reminded that failure is part of the process is helpful.


If you have any inclination to write, this books is worth the time to read. The advice is helpful without being dogmatic. And Wilson’s gift in writing alone is enough to both challenge and inspire would-be writers to develop their craft. Skip that Hoarders marathon you were planning to watch this weekend and read Wordsmithy.

Published by Eddy Barnes

Eddy Barnes a husband, father, and the youth pastor at Grace Covenant Church.

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