LawProse Lesson #419: Jack Prelutsky on writing well

LawProse Lesson #419: Jack Prelutsky on writing well

What does The New Kid on the Block or any other poetry book by Jack Prelutsky have to do with lawyers’ writing? (If you don’t know his books, they’re perfect for reading aloud to kids.)

In some ways, a great deal. A few years ago, Prelutsky was asked what he does when his writing isn’t going well. He answered that he’s gotten better and better at recognizing when his work isn’t effective: “I’m getting better . . . probably just through practice. I learned by doing, by writing and polishing what talent I might have had to start with.”

His biggest help? Reading: “I read a lot, and I’ve never met any good writer who doesn’t.” And listening to criticism: “I also listen to my wife and to my editor, because sometimes I’m so close to the work I don’t have a clear picture of what I’m doing.”

It happens to the best of us—regardless of genre. That’s worth knowing and remembering.

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