Are Rules Necessary In Writing?

By on January 24, 2019
Are Rules Necessary In Writing? - Writer's

There are so many rules that writers are given to follow to make their writing good. However, are they really necessary? Are there any that can be broken? And what happened to creative freedom?!

Let’s take a look at some of the rules of writing and examine whether or not they are really necessary.

Keep sentences short and language plain

Short sentences and simple language certainly have their place. But this rule can’t apply to every piece of writing, fiction or otherwise. The better thing for writers to do is always keep their reader in mind. Get to know your intended audience. If you do, you’ll know what they can handle and if you want to use more academic or complicated language then as long as you feel confident in your reader, it’s no problem.

Don’t overwrite

Writing too elaborately can be off-putting. However, some pieces of writing are exquisitely written precisely because of the beautifully descriptive, ornate and arresting imagery that the author uses. Descriptive writing has its place - just like any other kind of writing, if it is done well then it works!

Write every day

Writers are often told that to improve they should write every day. However, this just isn’t possible for some writers, and they shouldn’t feel any less of one because they don’t. You have to write the way that works for you, and as long as you are happy with the pace of your progress, then that’s all that really matters.

Set and stick to your goals

Writers do need to set goals. Without them, it is too easy to get distracted and never get anything done. How and what those goals are is entirely up to the individual though.

Show don’t tell

Show don’t tell has been a writing rule that appears time and time again. However if taken too literally it can leave some writers painstakingly trying to remove every instance where they tell the reader something - to the detriment of their work. Sometimes telling is necessary, more economical and it just works. Writers should be aware of that while also remembering that if they ONLY tell their readers the story, it may be difficult for them to become fully immersed in the world and characters they are trying to make come alive on the page.

Read as much as possible

This is a no brainer. Reading is the elixir of life for writers and is the best way to learn and improve. So read as much as you can!

Write what you know

Another common rule for writers is to only write what they know. However, taken too literally and this can stifle a writers creativity, leading them to believe that unless they have had specific experiences or encounters, they shouldn’t write about them. The beauty of being a writer is that you can use your imagination, and besides, you can research almost anything these days. So don’t write about what you know, write about what you love instead!

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to enjoy your writing; otherwise, you are kind of missing the point. So if you feel the writing rules are stopping you from writing the way that makes you happiest, then perhaps those rules should be broken after all.

What do you think? Do you believe these rules are still necessary? Are there any other writing rules that you think should be broken? Let us know.

bethany cadman

Bethany Cadman -

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