What Writing Rule Do You Wish You’d Never Heard?

heart-480367_1280There are quite a few writing ‘rules’ to wade through, so it took me a while to come up with one writing rule in particular that I wish I had never heard. Author Anne R Allen has written a blog post about writing rules that can (and should) be broken, and has even added to the list in a further post. So I guess rules are meant to be broken. 😉

The one rule that stood out the most to me was the rule of ‘write what you know’. That is one rule which I’ve always been conflicted about. Writing what you know is a good starting point for beginners, but writing what you know can, let’s face it, get a little bit boring. I’m sure there are many events in my life that would make people want to claw the walls if they ever read about it, yet there have also been moments that can be used to write about.

So I was glad to see some years ago one writer stating that instead of writing what you know, writers should write what you want to know about. It makes sense, after all, there are professions and periods in history for example that we may not have experienced, but would like to write about. We need to grow as writers and research for our stories becomes a part of that learning process. Perhaps when it comes to the ‘write what you know’ rule, it really applies to our emotions. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a whole gamut of emotions throughout our lives, which would help build our characters and strike an emotional response with our readers.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but 2016 felt like it was never going to end and yeah, there were times when it really did suck. I’ve got some high hopes for 2017 (positivity is key, people) and I hope you do too. Here’s hoping the best is yet to come!

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard? Being a writer, are you happy to ignore some of the rules and experiment? Did you accomplish any of your writing goals in 2016? What do you have planned for the New Year?

Side Note: I’ll be away from my computer for a few days in early February, due to a short stint in hospital, so I won’t be posting for a while. All going well, I will return to posting in March.

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8 thoughts on “What Writing Rule Do You Wish You’d Never Heard?

  1. Happy New Year, Debbie.
    I so agree with you. Telling someone to write what they know is like saying you don’t need to do any research for your book.
    Wishing you an awesome 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/01/2017 — 7:29 am

      Thanks Patricia. Happy New Year to you too! This is the one writing rule that sticks in my head the most and I’ve always found it to be very frustrating. Some of these ‘rules’ need to be taken with a grain of salt. Wishing you all the best for 2017!

  2. I’ve heard that phrase before, too – write what you want to know about. Love it!

    I hope all goes well with your hospital stay. Wishing you a happy – and healthy! – 2017!

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/01/2017 — 7:34 am

      Hi Madeline. I think that phrase is a much better ‘rule’ and a lot less off-putting to writers; especially new ones. Thanks for the well wishes and I wish you a happy and healthy 2017 too!

  3. That’s been a popular choice today. Someone else said write what you want to know and I think that’s a much better rule. Or rather guideline. (They should all be guidelines, right?)

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/01/2017 — 7:37 am

      Hi Alex. I agree – the term guidelines sounds so much better and would be a whole lot less stressful for new writers. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017!

  4. Julie Flanders 05/01/2017 — 2:35 pm

    Oh, yes, I hate that rule. I think it’s so silly and honestly don’t see why it was ever established.

    I hope your stay in the hospital will not be too serious. Take care!

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/01/2017 — 7:40 am

      Hi Julie. True – ‘write what you want to know about’ sounds much better and makes a lot more sense. Thanks for the well wishes and I wish you a happy and healthy 2017!

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