Put usage books to work before you need them

Stop staring at and start cracking the spines of books on grammar.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Stop staring at and start cracking the spines of books on grammar

To be a good writer, you have to crack a few spines. Book spines, that is.

And not just any books, but books of the trade. The ones on grammar, punctuation and usage. The ones that help guide you in crafting messages with clarity, efficiency and precision.

No matter how robust your reference library is, it’s of little use if you don’t put it to use. You need to explore each volume on your shelf to better understand its organization, content and resources. Then, when the time comes, you can find what you’re looking for when you’re looking for it. You’ll know just the book to reach for.

It helps to think of each of your reference books as a tool. That is, you have to help it help you. Tradespeople do this as a matter of course with their equipment. They continually oil, grind, sand and polish their tools, so that when they next need them, they’re ready to go. Spending time upfront avoids delays later on.

If you haven’t already, consider spending time upfront with your reference library. Learn exactly which volumes can help you in which instance and how to make the most of each. It’ll take some time, but I guarantee it’ll be time well spent.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.