With his 82nd blog entry, a revered journalist, teacher, and essayist says goodbye



With this column I’m saying goodbye to you and to “Zinsser on Friday.” After almost two years of weekly deadlines it’s time to change the rhythm of my life. I want to try a more informal kind of online writing—on my own website, williamzinsserwriter.com. Look for me there in the new year.

I thank you for your friendship and your trust. I was a lifelong child of print journalism who abruptly plunged into the black hole of electronic space. In 2010, when I proposed to The American Scholar that I write a weekly blog, I had never even seen a blog. My editors, Robert Wilson and Allen Freeman, took me on faith and never wavered as I groped toward what I felt was the right length and shape for a personal essay on the Internet. During that process I learned many things about writing that I don’t seem to have known before—mainly how to stick to the intended point of every column and not wander down seductive side trails. Your generous comments kept me company and kept me reassured.

All 82 of the “Zinsser on Friday” columns will continue to be available here at theamericanscholar.org, and I invite you to revisit them, especially the many that deal with the hard and lonely task of writing. They will remind you not to write for the wrong reasons—marketplace reasons that crush your true identity. Give yourself permission to believe in the validity of your own narrative.

A selection of “Zinsser on Friday” columns will be published in 2012 by Paul Dry Books. I hope the book will make what used to be called “bedside reading.” I’m assuming that people still read in bed.

My best to all of you in your various life quests. Don’t forget to keep stretching your capabilities.

Bill Zinsser

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

William Zinsser, who died in 2015, was the author of 18 books, including On Writing Well, and a columnist for the Scholar website.


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