Writing Wednesday: The rule is, there are no rules.

Yes, there are grammar rules. We need to use those because they make our reading something others can understand. That’s part of communication.

I always see posts that position things to writers as absolute gospel. The “do this or you’re not a writer” type of posts. Or worse, the ones looking down on those who don’t do what they’re saying.

The fact is, they’re wrong.

You do NOT have to write every single day to be a successful author.

You do NOT have to have an English/Lit/MFA or other degree to be able to master the art of story telling.

You do NOT have a set time that you need to let a piece sit before you go back and edit it.

I mean, the list goes on, right? There are reasons people say these things are needed, and while the reasons are valid, the demand isn’t.

Writing daily means you get practice and develop a habit. It’s a sure way to improve your skill. That’s the case with everything you do. If you cook every day, you’ll eventually become better at it. (Okay, some people probably are better off with meal delivery, I agree, but you get the point, right?)

Studying writing in an academic setting will give you insights into storytelling and structuring that will blow your mind. Now, if only it weren’t so expensive to do, right?

Did you finish a chapter and you want to go edit it that same day? Knock yourself out! You’re not going to have only one round of edits anyway. May as well start while the spirit and flesh are willing! My experience has taught me to do those edits when the brain is on board to do them. There will be time between rounds. (Oh yes, rounds, not one editing pass, there will be several.) I don’t need to set things aside with a timer and try not to look at it until the timer is done. It happens as a natural part of the writing process.

When you see those “you must” or “you must not” posts, do yourself a favor. Ignore them. You might want to ignore the books written about writing by other authors. Fact is, you can memorize Stephen King’s book “On Writing” and you’re still not going to take his place in the market. Besides, he doesn’t even take his own advice. If the road to hell is indeed paved with adverbs, he should probably look at his own writing. *lifts an eyebrow at the entire Gunslinger series* Truth of the matter is, most of these authors who wrote books filled with “rules about writing” don’t follow their own rules.

Just ignore the “you must.” The only thing you must do is write your story.

The feedback, pro editing, and beta reading stages come along much much later. Those stages do have rules, at least, if you want anything that won’t tank the instant it hits the market. Product marketing isn’t writing, though, and so you still don’t need rules to write.

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