Ernest Hemingway was a highly regarded journalist and non-fiction writer as well as a novelist. When he became a cadet reporter on the Kansas City Star he was handed a style sheet with four basic rules:

Use short sentences.

Use short first paragraphs.

Use vigorous English.

Be positive, not negative.

Hemingway said in an interview more than 20 years later: “Those were the best rules I ever learned in the business of writing. I’ve never forgotten them. No one with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the things he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides by them.”

Copy these four rules in 36pt or 48pt type.  Pin it up so you’ll keep seeing it until it sticks forever in your head.

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