Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Downside to Rules


Writing at a kitchen table is like going for a walk on the Eisenhower Expressway. I suppose it can be done, but it takes a person of unusual capabilities. I’m fortunate to have an office in my house, but even that is like Interstate 20. There again, I’m fortunate in having periodic access to an apartment where the only traffic is the coming and going of the birds in the sky and the tides in the marshes.

I’ve read of people who can write while in their car or babysitting or in a cafĂ©. If you’re a writer who needs only a chair and a laptop, go for it. I think I’m getting to a point, which I’ve been thinking about this morning.

I'm Getting to the Point...

Writers get plenty of advice about how to go about writing (like needing your own space). Just google “advice on writing” and you can spend days studying what you should or shouldn’t do. This advice derives from methods based on average experiences. And it helps me to remember that the law of averages doesn’t necessarily apply to me. 

Even the short descriptions following the title bar of these websites make me shudder. Words such as commandments, rules, and must convince me that some advice is meant for unimaginative minds. How can a person constrained by rules write creatively?

However, there’s much to be said for reading advice. It contains the voice of experience. At the same time, I like this quote from W. Somerset Maugham: "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."

No comments: