Hacking them out of my prose today, I am seeing a direct correlation between a writer’s use of exclamation points and how much she/he trusts the reader. Trust the reader to get what you mean. There’s no need to shout about it, assuming the rest of the sentence and the work is doing its job, I tell myself.
The writer Lee K. Abbott gave a talk at Antioch Los Angeles when I was in school there. I recall him saying that every writer is allowed ONE exclamation point per career. “And it better be a fire,” he said. Though I hope I am allowed more than one, I often recall that idea, and try to use them sparingly.