I know you’ve seen them. We all have. Everybody and their uncle (momma, cousin, auntie, sister-in-law twice removed) has a list of rules they uphold to be true of any writer.
I’ve come to give you my professional opinion: It’s a load of crap.
Now, just wait a minute and hear me out. Like most things in the writing business, those writing rules are completely subjective. To clarify, I’m not talking about craft rules specific to genres. You need those. Even if you plan on writing the next best thing and want to shake things up a bit, you should probably know the rules you wish to break.
Those lists of writing rules are great if you take them with a grain of salt and acknowledge not everything works for everybody. On the other hand, they do become problematic when you take them as law and they make you feel like less of a writer.
I encourage you to create your own list of rules and tweak them as you discover what does and doesn’t work for you. After all, writing is a process. Treat it as one.
I’m including my personal list of writing rules that work for me. Feel free to share your own.
My Writing Rules (for me!)
- Don’t write every day. Give the ideas and words time to simmer in my mind.
- Remember Rule #1 and don’t beat myself up if I don’t write for a spell. (Life happens! Just keep thinking.)
- Only revise as I write if I leave TrackChanges on.
- Save different versions of manuscripts by date.
- Stop acting like I don’t need an outline. I always eventually do, even if it’s a reverse outline.
- If writing seems like a chore, see if there’s something in the manuscript that’s keeping me from wanting to dive back in.
- At least read a writing blog or article if I’m wasting time on social media.
- Grammarly. Use it.