Wednesday, April 20, 2011

R is for Rules (Breaking them)

It's funny. I hear a lot about rules in writing. It ranges from using twitter as a writer. Tweet five times a day, retweet a certain number of articles, find other writers and reply to their tweets. Then there's the rules for a blog. Keep a regular schedule, reply to comments and don't forget to comment on other blogs. Finally there's rules for your writing. Show don't tell, use adverbs sparingly and write for yourself first then edit for your audience. Through it all you are reminded about the rules of being a professional. Don't waste time tweeting about personal matters, don't rant about a bad review, look at criticism as nothing more than a way to improve.

Rules, it's all about rules. Do this or do that. Don't forget this important rule. It's all thrown in your face and you're expected to follow the rules to a T. But then they throw a curve ball and tell you this.

It's okay to break the rules.

This is the point where your forehead meets the desk with a loud crack. Jeez, what do you want of me? Follow the rules or break them? The reply is this: Only break the rules sometimes and if you know what rule you're breaking. Now I'm scared of unknown rules I might be breaking. My piece of mind is slowly shrinking into oblivion.

Honestly, I'm starting not to care. Rules-shmules. I'm tired of being bombarded with conflicting ideas about rules. It was the exact same way with advice. Everyone yelling and what I'm hearing is completely contradictory. Maybe I'll approach rules the same way. Listen then decide what ones I want to listen to. I don't want to just tweet about writing. There are other things in my life. And on my blog? There will be rants, oh yes. Not bad rants, just a little bemoaning now and then when I feel upset and need a pick-me-up from my readers. As for my writing... I'm clueless about what rules to keep or break. I think I'll just write and let the chips fall. I'm not a perfect person and I wouldn't mind letting my readers in on that fact.


  1. I'd like to echo this sentiment. I am throwing the rule book out the window at this very moment. Sure, I might go and pick it up back up again tomorrow but for now? I'm living rule free.

  2. I have been forced to break the Twitter and blogging rule due to time constraints and a 2nd day job...It worries me, but what worries me more is how I seem to have less time to write and when I do sit down, nothing happens.

  3. I get where you're coming from. I have often rebelled against rules and still do. But I've also come to understand more about them. They become more acceptable when I see them as guidelines, suggestions, and things that work based on the experiences and mistakes of others. They're sometimes intended to save time and trouble.

    I will agree that the writer needs to experiment. We need to find our own voices and see what works for us. Some rules are definitely good, but some we need to test for ourselves.

    Tossing It Out

  4. LOL, I hate the rules, too. I guess it depends on the situation how important it is...if getting my book published hinges on mending some broken rules, then I might mend them. But then again, maybe not.

  5. It's fun to break rules in life.

    My writing style still changes based on my mood, so sometimes I follow the writing rules... and sometimes I break them. As long as I like what's written down at the end of the day, then I really don't care if a rule was broken...

    And I really don't follow any rules for social networking... I like to try out different things to expand my platform and see what works and what doesn't... sometimes I'll be really into twitter and sometimes I'll hardly touch it for a week or two... right now I'm obsessed with dig and spending my social networking time on that site cause I'm burnt out reading blogs.

  6. MJ, yeah we can always pick it up later.

    Glad to know I'm not the only rule breaker out here. Sometimes you just need a break from them! ;)

  7. That's a good attitude to have!

    I like the comment on Pirates of the Caribbean concerning "the code" about thinking they were more like guidelines.

  8. Great post. If this is how you rant and rave, then go ahead and do it whenever you want, because you've made some good points.

    I used to follow rules to the T but am now a rebel with a cause and that cause is me. I do what I want. SOmetimes that follows the rules and other times it doesn't. But I do whatever works or is best for me. Some things in life are just more important.

    And I am a day behind with my posts and don't care. The "blog police" won't track me down for it but my family WILL if I don'T keep up with family obligations.