I’m pretty obsessive and a perfectionist about what I write. Each page is read over, several dozens of times, and it changes every time, for the better I hope, by a sort of winnowing process that resembles natural selection—Darwinnowing I suppose we could call it.
Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and writer of The God Delusion and other nonfiction works, has more than once caused controversy with his writings about religion and creationism. Nevertheless, here his statement about how he writes points to a way many of us can improve our writing—by cutting out the weak words and sentences and leaving in the strong ones. The trick, of course, is knowing the difference between the weak and the strong.
This quote comes from a short piece on the office where Dawkins often writes; it was published in T: The New York Times Style Magazine, August 25.