I love rules of writing. Advice like, “Any time you start out by saying _____, stop” is the best. I could (and have) spend(t) hours reading long lists of well-meaning nuggets of wisdom.¬†Unfortunately, I can’t tell if I ever remember any of them. Does anyone keep rules like these accessible when writing? Are they actually useful? I once wrote a paper about how Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” was a crock because it couldn’t explain why good political language works; only why bad language is bad, and how to avoid it. I’m going to be as arrogant as I’ll probably ever let myself get here for a minute, or at least until I feel like I’ve earned it: I already know how not to write badly. I don’t always practice that ability, but I always know when it’s not working. Unfortunately, it’s not something I can exercise much control over. I can usually write decently, but great is rare. (Probably like it should be.) I don’t want to know how not to be a crappy writer. That part’s taken care of. I want to know how I can write amazingly on demand. I’ve yet to find rules to help with that.

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