Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard? IWSG

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are Eva @ Lillicasplace,Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner!

Prompt question for today - What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

I'm also an editor, therefore the list of rules I wish I'd never heard is long. As a writer having the list in my head while I'm in creative mode can be distracting. I'm trying to overcome the rules screaming in my head by shouting this one new rule over all those others: "Do not edit while you're creating. There are no rules during creation."

The rules distract from your creativity. If you aren't afraid to cut and edit your work later, dive in and write. Fear of doing something wrong will prevent you from opening up and writing the story you meant to create. Fear of cutting and editing will prevent your story from being all it's meant to be. I suggest thinking like an artist. Slap the mound of clay down and find the story within. Mold it, sculpt it, carve it, polish it. The greatest sculptures don't just appear on the pedestal fully formed; nor will the great novel just appear on your page.

My advice is do not be stifled by rules. Know them. Determine which ones work for you. That means ask to what purpose you write. If you are submitting to an agent, find out what he/she is looking to represent. If you're considering a publishing house, is your work what they publish? What's their style? Read their books. Does your work fit in? 

Or do you plan to write the story of your heart and hope someone recognizes the uniqueness of the undertaking? It's a risk, but it's yours to take. Determine your writing purpose before you're disappointed with rejections. even under the best of situations, rejections happen. Expect them.

And be realistic about sales if you're going to independently sell. Being visible is the most important thing to making sales. Either you have many friends willing to provide word of mouth, or money and time to promote, or you hit the lotto with the algorithms. It happens. But just like the NBA, there are plenty of quality basketball players who never get played. and more still who never get drafted. Do you quit playing basketball because you aren't in the NBA? Not if you love the game. You keep playing for your own pleasure. You never know when that scout will see your moves in your driveway basketball court.

Either write for yourself or follow the rules, but don't be surprised with the end results. Decide what your goal is and focus on that until you decide you want to set new goals. The rule is: There are no unbreakable rules. Often success comes to the risk takers and the rules breakers.

Want to take a chance?


  1. I was never good at basketball anyway.
    You're right - if it's a passion, you won't quit.
    I have a hard time turning off the rules and editing while I write. But when I get into a flow, they are the farthest thing from my mind.

  2. It's so great to hear that advice from an editor. I don't worry about the rules I've broken until after the first draft.