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Turning up is more important than learning the ‘rules’

What you need to know if you're starting to write

At times it’s easy to imagine there are hidden rules to writing, the creative process and getting published that other people know about and you don’t. Although there’s tacit knowledge to be gained through experience, just like there would be in say, selling shoes or planning weddings, and although there are ‘rules’ that some people swear by, none of them matter when you are a beginner. Here are three reasons why.

  1. The time you spend learning the rules could be spent practising or reading in a genre you love, both of which are more productive for you right now.
  2. By practising, you’ll discover the gaps in your understanding – you’ll know the specific problem you want to solve. If you go looking for the answer to a specific problem, the answer will be more relevant and you’ll ‘learn the rules’ much more authentically.
  3. Rules have a flip side. Maybe not at the swimming pool or when you’re driving or plumbing in a toilet. You’ll probably agree that these rules aren’t ‘made to be broken’. They are there for a reason whether you agree with them or not. But creative rules are different. In creative pursuits, knowing a rule also means knowing how bend or break the rule. It’s very hard to know which rules to follow, bend or break when you’re staring out. Practise first.

So if you’re starting to write, the best thing you can do is to find a time and place to write and commit to turning up. You might want to do some short writing exercises during this time to get some words down – this is all part of the process. Here are some you can download for free. You could also try freewriting – read more about that here.

More tomorrow. Until then, happy writing!

1 Comment

  1. Pam says:

    Love this!

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