New and Experienced Writers, Rules and Finding Your Voice ~ Make Up Your Own Mind...

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When we are new to writing we are told to learn the rules and stick with them. 

For someone who has been writing for years before learning the rules it can seem like cruel punishment to suddenly restrict your writing with rules and regulations. Sometimes we lose heart while trying to stick with the darn mechanics. The rules tend to mess up our natural flow for a while so it’s best not to submit any of the “learning” works until you get your flow back. The most critical part of our writing that seems to become affected by learning the rules is voice. It often becomes stilted and unnatural and this can be very frustrating for the new writer.

Writing is a tricky thing anytime and especially for someone who is lucky enough to have a natural talent (imagination) for writing but it becomes tougher when you try to beat your writing into “RULES submission”. It gets tough alright, and then tougher and tougher until finally you feel so beaten about the brain that you almost hate writing. (I know how could a writer ever really say that?). It’s about then that things turn around and you somehow learn to fit the rules into your natural flow again. Personally, I don't feel I'm there yet but with more experience I'm sure this battle will be won in the end.
My wonderful mentor (who is no longer here on this incredible Earth) once told me you have to “learn the rules before you can break them”. When I started writing I was always breaking the rules and shunning my nose at them. Then, after being beaten about the head by my mentor I went the other way and applied the rules so strictly that my writing seemed as interesting as a flat piece of cardboard left out in the rain. Nowadays I'm aware of the rules (most of them) and tend to break them quite deliberately. It’s all part of the learning process. Yet I still feel I have a long road to travel in my writing career.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to PunctuationI’d like you to read this article from copyblogger and this one about grammar and punctuation then form your own opinion. 

Forming your own opinion is a crucial part of becoming a great writer. You need to think, and evaluate then think in the opposite direction and back again, big breath, and then work out which style suits you. This is when things get really interesting. This is when you find your voice.

Always remember the stories you write are YOUR stories - not anyone else’s. 

Even editors and readers of your work can be wrong. “Oh-my-heaven forbid!” Humans can be wrong? They are not Gods? Humans make mistakes all the time. See every war or battle humans have ever been involved in and you'll find mistakes, and it’s up to you to figure out when the human is making a mistake and when they are damned-well-right! Oh, and just to make it a bit harder it’s also subjective but that's a whole-nuther topic...
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