Simplicity by William Zinsser

Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
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William Zinsser in his essay, “Simplicity,” describes the tendency people have to inflate their own words. A majority of us think that something is missing if a word or sentence is too simple causing us to add unnecessary information only to confuse our readers. Zinsser shows us examples of this in everyday life such as a simple letter, or a brochure by an insurance company, where the corporation uses a statement that overuses vocabulary to express something so simple.

Zinsser observes that, “Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without another”,(Zinsser 175) His opinion on the key towards becoming an excellent writer is to take every sentence and to shorten it so that each word has its set function. As a writer, he believes the more clearheaded one is while constructing a piece of work, the better result they will receive. Writing is not as easy as it may seem. It can take several trials of perfecting one’s work and more importantly revisions of one’s thoughts like Zinsser’s writing.

The more conscious you become to your writing allows the writer to easily express their words and in society, good writing seems to be what lacks the most. Zinsser believes that a clear mind can positively impact your writing like a clear mind can affect your performance in everyday life. Sometimes, the more homework I have and the more hours I work, seem to build to my stress and negatively affect me in school. My weekly schedule is one that at times is pretty hectic. With school, work and friends, sometimes the juggling of the three seem to reach a boiling point.

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I currently work at a waitressing job in which the night shifts are usually the ones that benefit me the most. I attend school at Hunter College 4 days a week. Mondays and Thursdays from 8 am to 4 pm, while Tuesdays and Fridays are from 11 am to 1 pm. My work schedule is for the most part from Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (mid day to late nights). Going to school four days a week and working 5 days a week is such a hassle in my life. I try to fit my social life in as well yet, sometimes it seems impossible. That’s when I realize by not going out I might be jeopardizing my friendships.

Working almost five days a week doesn’t give me enough time for myself or the ability to focus more on school. I come home so late that I usually stay up studying till 2 or 3 in the morning but have to wake up by 6 am. I run on 3 or 4 hours of sleep which doesn’t give me enough energy to function at my highest capability. About two weeks ago I reached a point in my life in which I was beginning to feel like a robot. On a Friday night, I came home from a long day at school, immediately headed to work knowing that I had two tests to study for Monday.

Now I was scheduled to work the whole weekend on night shifts that I was struggling to figure out how I could possibly fit in time to study. I tried my hardest to study in between work breaks, but the environment around me was pretty hectic, that I accomplished nothing. On Saturday and Sunday, I woke up a little earlier to study, but time was passing by so fast that on both days I only accomplished an hour or two to memorize some material. I would rush each day to start getting ready for work and to call my cab to get there on time. That Sunday from work I got home at 2 am and studied an hour for history, until I fell asleep on my books.

I instantly woke up, almost late for school, just in time to make it to my English class. I was so tired that I was straining to make my eyes remain open. I had a few school breaks in between my classes, but I knew that I couldn’t memorize all these material for two different subjects the day of the test. Taking both of those tests, made me realize that not only did I fail, but I needed to make some changes in my life. My first priority is attending and excelling at school and juggling too many days at work with school is almost impossible to do.

I knew I had to change my work schedule so that I have enough days to study and nights to rest in the future. In the end I knew it would work out even if I cut back on days to earn money, because my body and mind need to properly rest. We don’t seem to realize but sometimes there are many unnecessary things we do that can easily be adjusted. Either working too much or spending time doing other activities can take up a lot of our energy. As Zinsser illustrates simplifying one’s life or one’s writing is possible and necessary at times, and if we all learned to do so life would be much easier.

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Simplicity by William Zinsser. (2017, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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