See also Writing proofs.
Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014).
An excellent practical guide to writing from a scientific perspective, justifying its recommendations with appeals to how people actually understand language.
Bryan Garner, Garner’s Modern English Usage (2016).
The practical reference for anything usage-related.
Daniel Chandler (1992). “The phenomenology of writing by hand”, Intelligent Tutoring Media 3, 65–74. 10.1080/14626269209408310
Proposes a continuum between “planners” and “discoverers”. Planners see writing as a way of expressing thoughts they already have fully formed; Discoverers use writing to figure out what they want to say. Planners don’t need many revisions and aren’t as picky about the medium, preferring whatever lets them get the thoughts out most efficiently, but discoverers often express personal preferences for particular methods—like handwriting—which bring them in closer contact with their writing and make it easier to look back through it all, pick out the message, and revise. Chandler spends a bunch of time talking about handwriting, word processors (of 1992 vintage), and the feelings inspired by each.
I think this continuum fits well with a point in Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death (see my review). He argued that the written word is invaluable because it enables analysis: with the pages in front of us, we can skip back and forth, dissecting a line of argument and examining it in our own time. Television, by contrast, flashes everything past in instants, making it cumbersome to go back and trace out the line of an argument.
A Discoverer, then, finds writing helpful precisely because it lays the thoughts out on paper, making them easy to understand and rearrange to produce the final product. A Planner, for whatever reason, doesn’t need this aid, and can build up and perfect a long line of argument mentally without ever putting a word down.
Most people fall somewhere in between, of course, but it is interesting to think of the style of writing as reflecting the use of tools to aid thinking, and the different thinking styles that implies in the writers.