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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Should Writers Follow Rules?

As I'm plotting my third book I have come to the conclusion that I will follow my own rules, and I will only take advice if it's applicable to me.

When a writer first starts writing, it's a common procedure to follow the advice of everyone as the writer only wants to do their best. That's understandable but it's important to follow your own instincts too. As a writer gains confidence in their ability to write, the realisation will come not everything works for each individual. Writers will find that certain rules contradict everything they've heard from another author, so it's important to keep some perspective. As long as you apply common sense you will be fine.

I only follow two rules. First, I make sure I only write for me - my number one goal is to entertain myself first before I even attempt to entertain anyone else. And secondly I make sure I write every day. I treat my writing as a full time job, and in full time jobs you work every day. Sometimes if my writing is going really well I will write over the weekend. Writing is one of the most important things I do with my life so it seems obvious I treat it as a career.
The most important thing you can do is find out which rules work best for you. Then there will be no stopping you.


  1. The only thing I would add here is that no two books are the same. Every book I've written--and I include my collection of short stories as a book because they were all written in a clump--every experience was different. It's a pain because it means you only learn so much with each go. Kids have the right idea when it comes to rules--I'm thinking about kids playing games with each other--they make them up as they go along and modify them on a whim. Be flexible.

  2. Hi Jim,

    That's a very good point. Life is unexpected so you need to go with the flow and the way to do that is to be flexible. Successful people aren't set in stone - people need to adapt and change accordingly.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. I'm not good with rules - they bring out the adolescent in me, the 'why should I?' reaction. But that doesn't mean my life doesn't have a pattern, one that includes writing every day. And if they day comes when I stop loving it - then I'll do something out, without feeling that I'm breaking any sort of rule.

  4. Hi Jo,

    Thanks for commenting. I agree that it's important not to put too much pressure on ourselves as that will only make us stressed. Every writer is different and I'm glad you're happy with the way you're doing things.

  5. Hi Laura. Just posted a note to you on Linkedin, I aggree with what you and the others have said...Flexability is the key, to when, where and how you write as long as you write everyday, but it must not be seen as a chore. I have a real passion for the written word so writing everyday is something I really enjoy.So although flexibility is important, so is continuity in how you actually write. Don't find what works and do that forever, find if it can be improved upon or polished to make it even better.

  6. Hi Rick,

    Thank you very much for commenting and sharing your experiences with us. I totally agree with your last sentence - I'm always trying to find new ways to improve my writing. I am never satisfied with just producing average work - it always has to be the best of the best.

  7. Has it worked, Laura? Do you sell enough books by following your own personal rules? I hope so. Jury's still out on my end.

  8. I always think I could sell more books but I believe this attitude is what drives me forward. Put it this way, I always receive a monthly wage from Amazon now and Smashwords pay me every quarter but still I strive to have more books out there.