Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rules for Writers

When I was in college and began to really discover my love for writing, I came across these six rules for writers from George Orwell's essay, "Politics and the English Language." In addition to the wordy wisdom handed down to me by my writer/editor father, I consider these rules to be the best writing advice I've ever gotten. Each one is simple and straightforward, yet also wide-reaching and timelessly useful. 

I liked these rules so much when I discovered them that I typed them into one of the virtual "sticky notes" that Macs come with (don't you love those?). That way, they would always be nearby whenever I was writing a paper or an article--or now, a blog post. In following these rules, I've found that the kind of writing Orwell encourages is pure, clear, and sensible, never trite or tired or florid--yet his guidelines are not so restrictive that they don't leave room for poetry and artistry. That's why these rules speak to me. They provide just the right amount, and the right kind, of guidance.

Have you come across these rules before? If not, will you use them in your own writing?


  1. I'm glad! Not that you need writing help, but perhaps you will display these rules near your computer as you work on your second novel :)

  2. These are perfect! I have just started a new job which will allow me to write professionally on occasion and I love all the tips I can get :)

  3. Congrats on the new job! So glad you like these tips :)


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