A Writing Journey

There are No Rules

Pinterest. A great site if you are looking to waste a little (or a lot of) time. Not as great if you are a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a board of writing inspiration (mostly nature pictures and fantasy pictures) as well as a board just about writing. But there is a dark side to being a writer on Pinterest. The Rules.

I can no longer go on the site without seeing things like “5 things to never do when writing” and “Ways you should never begin your novel” and “5 Mistakes in writing that will make you look like an amateur.”

UGH. I’ve mentioned before my detestation for the so-called “rules” of writing. Yes, there are grammatical guidelines and general structures for a story, but no one should EVER tell you to write in a way that is not true to yourself. If you have a prologue, own it. If you want to start with an alarm going off to wake your character, make it a freaking massive alarm. Write  what YOU want to write, not what someone behind a screen is telling you to do. Especially if it is your first draft (more on that in a moment).

Most of these “rules” come from amateurs themselves or (worse) from established authors who have a system that works for them but doesn’t have to be everyone’s system!

Honestly, there are only two things to remember when writing. And they aren’t rules.

1) Keep your hand moving. This comes from Natalie Goldberg. Look how honest that is. Not “write 380 words a day,” not “you must sell your belongings and live in motels.” No. Just keep your hand moving. Use those ten minutes at the bus stop and write something. She doesn’t tell you how or what to write, just to write.

2) Let first drafts happen. They are going to be rough, imperfect, sometimes even bad. That’s fantastic. It means you have something to work with, something to improve on. Don’t paralyze yourself on the third page thinking “this is crap, I can’t use any of this.” Just go back to number one and use it until the draft is done.

Believe in yourself, folks. Don’t let the writing police scare you away. Write what you want to write.

-Emily

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Comments on: "There are No Rules" (2)

  1. jenniferkmarsh said:

    Well said 🙂 I too find writing ‘rules’ truly infuriating. There should be no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with regards to creativity and imagination.

  2. The first one (or a variant of it) has become my new rule: The only way to fail is to write nothing. Every little bit counts.

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