RULES:

  • There are no firm or important rules for good writing.
  • However, know them first before you break them.
  • Follow writing guidelines; they free you to do what works best for you.

Rules are structures that set limits; true artists transcend to heights unlimited; great art has no borders.  But here’s the catch: in order to soar, one needs a solid structure as the launching pad.

Remember those language arts teachers who insisted we bring our journals to class everyday.  And then usually before an English composition lesson, we would spend five minutes writing anything that popped into our heads.  Forget spelling, grammar, sentence structure, just write, write, write.  We were encouraged to free write, to brainstorm all those creative ideas that later would become our coveted “A” English composition papers.  No one would ever see these first draft scribblings of ours, but we knew we could never hand-in anything we wrote in our notebooks until we “fixed” it up and made it better for a passing grade.

So too, true artists have learned, practiced and mastered the rules first which then sets them free to soar into their unique creative worlds.  Imagine this: what if your novel, story or poem resembled the free writing of your school day journal.  How distracting would that be to readers?  If the reader doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, if your lack of writing efficiently interferes with the story line, how long will you hold that reader’s attention?  Know the rules first before you break them.

That said; let’s explore some useful writing guidelines that have proven successful in a writer’s creative journey.

Materials you may need for your journey:

1.  Notebooks:

You’ll need several handy notebooks, whatever fits into your pocket, purse, briefcase, and glove compartment – use whatever works best for you.  Once you start writing your novel, you will be amazed at how many new ideas begin popping into mind any time of the day and night.  You’ll want to jot down that good idea, or clever quip before it is lost once again.  Good places to keep notebooks are:

ü      bedside table

ü      bathroom

ü      kitchen

ü      den or TV room

ü      car

ü      pocket or purse

ü      outside garden or patio

2.  Tape recorder:

Some of you may prefer to use small tape recorders instead of notebooks.  Recorders work best in cars, especially if you’re driving and that tinge of recollection arises, you’ll want to grab that recorder, click the on-button, and talk your heart out.

Recorders also work well on bedside tables.  In no time, you will train yourself to hit the on-button in the dark and talk softly into the recorder without even waking your partner.

3.  Several more important items to have close at hand:

ü      a comprehensive dictionary

ü      an authoritative thesaurus

ü      an English grammar handbook

ü      plenty of pens or well-sharpened pencils

ü      computer or word processor

Where do you go from here?

Writing is a craft. Writers write. Writers write every day; that’s their job.  By cultivating the habit of writing regularly, it will make the process easier and more enjoyable. Study the craft; exercise the craft by doing it everyday.

Check out Amazon.com for: Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success; and Come Sit a Spell, Recalling and Writing Memoirs.