My writer friend Sibella sent me this quote from C.S. Lewis:
In 1959, an American schoolgirl appealed to C. S. Lewis for writing advice, and he sent her a list of eight rules for good writing:
1. Turn off the radio [and television]. 2. Read good books and avoid most magazines. 3. Write with the ear, not the eye. Make every sentence sound good. 4. Write only about things that interest you. If you have no interests, you won’t ever be a writer. 5. Be clear. Remember that readers can’t know your mind. Don’t forget to tell them exactly what they need to know to understand you. 6. Save odds and ends of writing attempts, because you may be able to use them later. 7. You need a well-trained sense of word-rhythm, and the noise of a typewriter will interfere. 8. Know the meaning of every word you use.
Source: C. S. Lewis. Collected Letters. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966, 291-292. Quoted in Kathryn Lindskoog, Creative Writing for People WhoCan’t Not Write. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1989, 253.