Wednesday, January 28, 2015


image found HERE

Growth is a natural part of life. Madeleine L'Engle, through one of her beloved characters in "A Wind in the Door" paraphrased a great scientific truth when she had Charles Wallace intone, "An organism that refuses to adapt or change will die."

This is true in writing of any kind.

We are given rigid "rules" of the craft. Yes, some of them are there for a reason. End a sentence with a period. An exclamation gets a mark that bears it's name. Don't abuse semicolons; understand a ellipses before you use it...

How do we grow as writers? Is there fertilizer for the writer's craft?


It's called practice and letting go.

We learn by doing, it's a well known fact. The more you do something, the more proficient you become at it. When we write everyday, even if it's just a note, we become better at expressing ourselves. Many times we shun this simple fact because we don't see any improvement. We see the same old, tired themes and plots.

That's where the second principle comes in.

When everything we do sounds and smells and tastes like everything before it's time to throw out the cookbook and start going free-form.

GASP! You mean DON'T follow the writer's guidelines mapped out in "Best Selling Author's Book"?


Of course we must follow grammar and punctuation (most of the time) and of course our writing must make sense (I think there are ways around this too). The point is we must let go of the rigid rules we've set for ourselves. We put up borders. "I can't write THAT" we say. We turn up our noses at unknown genres and plot twists. We shake our heads violently when an idea pops up that challenges deep-held beliefs.

Sometimes we get an idea that would completely revolutionize our own writing. An idea that would allow us to relax into ourselves, a self that we somehow lost along the way.

Don't do that. Don't turn down an opportunity to let your soul run wild. Some may not understand but you'll be authentic in your writing. The more authentic you are, the more REAL your writing will be. The more real your writing, the more readers will find you and say, "YES!!! This person UNDERSTANDS!!" You will connect with people on a far deeper level than you can with rehashed plots and well used characters.

Go ahead. Let fly that crazy idea you have. Start writing in that "forbidden" genre you've somehow got yourself believing you "just can't do". Give your blog a fresh face. Teach us something NEW!! We all need ideas. Be a fountain of information. Become an expert in something that you can share with the rest of us, something we can turn to in our own writing with a, "Well I never thought of THAT before?!"

We write to discover ourselves and the world around us.

Be a catalyst of discovery.


  1. Some rules should be followed, but some should be broken. ;)

    1. I agree! And many times once you know a rule you can break it...with style!

  2. I'm about as real as I can be.
    I think I broke a writing rule in my upcoming book... At least one!

    1. Indeed you are! And good for you! The publishing world needs more gutsy writers who are willing to take risks :)

  3. I must admit that I use too many semicolons, especially when I'm writing my dissertation. It's always been hard for me to break the rules, because I've always been "by the book," but like you said, sometimes it's okay to break away from those rules and try something different.

    1. I love semi colons!! I'm too worried about making everyone happy, sometimes. I've come to realize that I have to write about what makes me happy and what interests me or I won't write at all! Or if I do it will be flat. Good luck with your dissertation!


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Cheers! ~J