Many otherwise competent adults are wobbly writers, whether they're college students or already thriving in a job. They probably exhibit a "go get 'em" attitude for most of their lives, but find themselves stumped by a blank computer screen or a piece of paper. What, they wonder, do I do now? What's my next word, next sentence? But their problems aren't solved by somebody telling them what to do, only by someone helping them figure things out themselves. As the adage says: give a person a fish and s/he eats that day; teach a person to fish and s/he eats for life. They need a little help from Bill the Goat.
Bill is the mascot of the U.S. Naval Academy, where Bruce Fleming has taught literature and writing for over twenty years. Bill is the fellow, or at least the old goat, who's reading what you've written. The secret to answering your question, "What do I do now?" is seeing writing not from your own perspective, but from Bill's. Learning to write is difficult, like learning to act. What you feel doesn't matter, only what it looks like to the audience. Your audience is Bill. Bill the Goat's Adult Refresher Guide to Writing
isn't a reference book, to be kept tucked into your office bookshelf for crisis management. Even its grammar section is different from usual grammar brush-ups. It's a book to be read and internalized, a book to re-align the way you conceive. It's a book for the beach, the porch, the subway, or an armchair. It's fun to read. You're the Bill for this book, after all. It's for students and executives, leaders and followers, everybody who has to communicate effectively in writing. You don't even have to hide this book behind another when you read it. There's no shame in a refresher course from Bill. He's your buddy, and he's here to remind you that when you make mistakes, he pays the price. This is grammar without guilt, syntax without a sense of sin. It's pure pragmatics. If you want Bill to get your point, you have to keep him in mind.