Writing Rules Often Stifle Creativity

GoWrite_logo_greenRules and First Draft Writing

So many people want to saddle themselves with loads of rules when they write their first draft. I understand new writers fall into this pickle because novice writers who’ve heard more experienced writers speak of writing love to shove “craft of writing” down newbies’ throats. This is unfortunate and unfair. Creativity does not need rules. Yes, there are craft of writing tenets which may help writers accelerate the rewrite and edit process, but they are wholly unnecessary in first draft writing. When a new writer dives into their manuscript, they need to be able to access their creativity, not restrict it.

I have learned many craft of writing techniques over the years, one being the reduction of passive voice verbs. However, when I’m in first draft and cannot come up with the power verbs right away, I’m going to stay in the throes of my writing passion rather than stop and hit the thesaurus. The passive voice verbs then stand as markers for something with more oomph to be tweaked in rewrite and edit.

Rules not only often stifle creativity, they intimidate new writers. When you look at writers who “made it” and famous writers who spoke of the writing process, you note virtually without exception that their first writings got better with each new book. This process has been true for centuries. Why we expect new writers to hit the ground with all the rules of writing before they write dumbfounds me. Let them write with their passion. Don’t mess their heads up with nonsense passed down by scores of know-it-all writers.

In the end, each writer needs to address their writing rhythms and practices within their own framework. On the whole, squelching creativity to attempt to write the perfect book out of the gate is a recipe for frustration at the very least, and abandonment of the project at worst.

I love craft of writing techniques. I love learning those techniques I wish to incorporate into my writing. I also abandon many techniques in first draft so I can capture the material my muse tends to love to chuck at me in great, rapid-fire chunks. Writing is a process, not a one-shot homerun. Free your mind when you write first draft to the level with which you are most comfortable entering the chaos of creativity. Load up with your craft in rewrite and edit.

Categories: Writing A Book | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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