The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw
“People who lead a satisfying life, who are in tune with their past and with their future — in short, people whom we would call ‘happy’ — are generally individuals who have lived their lives according to rules they themselves created.” Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, psychologist and writer
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.” Somerset Maugham
Writing rules abound. We’re advised to avoid adverbs, never start a story with the weather, and always start a story in the middle of the action. The list goes on and on. It can make your head spin, especially since many so-called “rules” clash and, even more important, because many writers have gleefully ignored them and gone on to write wonderful books.
So, if all progress depends on the “unreasonable man” and the happiest people are those who live “according to rules they themselves created” — then let’s each make up our own set of rules to write by. Here are a few we might consider:
I will see writing as way of seeking wonder in the world.
I will gratefully mine my mistakes for feedback and fuel.
I will develop a “passion for completion” in my work.
I will seek out kindred spirits who support my writing.
I will make “Don’t quit, can’t fail” a writing mantra.
I will remember that “a relaxed mind is a creative mind.”
Are there any personal writing “rules” you’ve adopted that have helped you improve your craft and stay strong? If so, I’d love to have you share them as we all write on!
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