Monday, November 16, 2009

The Best Rule in Writing

"The best maxim in writing, perhaps, is really to love your reader for his own sake."  Charles S. Peirce, "Private Thoughts: Chiefly On The Conduct Of Life," lxxv, March 17, 1888.

I've been editing the Religious Writings of Charles Peirce for a few years now -- hopefully will publish them within the next few years -- and this is one of the passages I love coming back to.  I'm not always sure how to put it into practice, but the idea of writing out of love for my reader reminds me that there is precious little that we do or say or make that does not affect the lives of others.  Even this "private thought" from Peirce's journal, written a century ago, has shaped my thinking.

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