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Written in 1988, his friendly advice and key points continue to be relevant:

  1. Be talented
  2. Be neat
  3. Be self-critical
  4. Remove every extraneous word
  5. Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft
  6. Know the markets
  7. Write to entertain
  8. Ask yourself frequently, “Am I having fun?”
  9. How to evaluate criticism
  10. Observe all rules for proper submission
  11. An agent? Forget it. For now
  12. If it’s bad, kill it

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I don't follow all his suggestions exactly, but directionally I do.

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Socrates said, "The misuse of language induces evil in the soul." He wasn't talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth.

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.

Ursula Le Guin

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