Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist“, said Pablo Picasso. When we first start our writing reject, we break rules because we don’t know about them and their importance. Once we learn the rules, though, we start focusing on them obsessively. We are afraid that if we break them, we won’t be liked by readers and publishers. However, the rule you should live by is: “Break your self-imposed limitations, not the writing principles”.

  1. Writing principles are: political correctness, language correctness, genre requirements, keeping the promise given to the reader etc. In order to be published and respected by your readers, you must agree to these principles. Breaking them is not a good idea, unless you want people to think that you are a literary anarchist.
  2. Self-imposed limitations are: “I won’t write sad endings”, “I won’t write social issues”, “I won’t write foreign characters”, “I won’t write gay characters”, “I won’t write anything controversial”, “I won’t write anything that the Church wouldn’t like”, “I won’t write anything that my parents wouldn’t like” etc. These are the rules you should break in order to evolve as a writer!

A lot of people stopped writing beause they were too shy to break out of their comfort zones. Their writing never matured with them and when they try to write, they are prisoners of their childhood / teen writer selves. They don’t let their writer self grow up. They don’t give their writer self the chance to write about things that matter to them!

If you don’t break your self-imposed limitations, you will be the same writer you were years ago. Why did J. K. Rowling write a book with no magic in it and Stephenie Meyer drifted away from her vampire series? They wanted to expand as artists. And you should, too. Now that you know how to break the rules, go and break them!

The self imposed rule I’m going to break today is …………………………………………… .