Bending the Rules of Writing

Like every author I know, either in my personal life or online, I want to improve as a writer in 2014. I won't go so far as to make it a resolution—I know how that goes—but I will at least try to be a bit more confident and disciplined. This has nothing to do with how many words I write every day, or how many projects I complete, though, it has to do with something more internal...

I want to work on getting to know my "voice" a little better so that I may use it with more confidence. My voice has never really been a mystery to me, but I do have a number of them, which I use for different writing forms as well as different subjects and stories. I'd like to employ these without second-guessing myself.

My next goal is to stop listening to all the rules. Well, not the rules themselves, but my inner critic, the voice in my head that I call The Inquisitioner. Part of the art of writing is to know the rules, then apply them as they convey what we wish to communicate. What I want to develop is the confidence to omit or add punctuation according to the overall flow of the line, not in adherence to a rule. I also want to quit torturing myself over words I invent. It's perfectly fine to do so; many great writers have done so. Language is an evolving entity, not a static one, and there's a big difference between breaking rules out of ignorance and bending them because we know them and wish to exercise more personal creativity. I learned this as a composer and it holds true in all of the arts. I've never been one to uphold the letter of the law in anything in life, besides; in recent years I've learned to color outside the lines with great joy.

"As long as what you’re writing speaks to your
readers and feels natural, it doesn’t matter
if you break a rule here or there." Jeff Goins