9 Writing Rules Worth Breaking

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Rules.

There are just so many of them.

I don’t just mean rules in the writing world. I’m talking about house rules, school rules, work rules, industry rules… It literally feels like everywhere we turn there’s someone waiting to say…

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Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that boundaries are necessary (especially in the realm of writing). But, what if people just bent the rules occasionally? Wouldn’t we have more diversity in style, tone, and content? When you’re searching for your own ‘voice’, you can’t always follow a set of guidelines. Sometimes, the desired effect can’t be reached by sticking to them.

So, I’m going against the grain. I say, why not break a few rules? Here are some to start with:

1. Start a SentEnce With ‘And’.

Some people really can’t stand this but, as far as I’m aware, there aren’t any style or grammar guidelines that dictate: NEVER start a sentence with a conjunction. You won’t be banished into another realm. So, don’t worry about starting sentences with ‘and’, ‘but’, or any other conjunction.

2. Miss a Comma

I think that commas are one of the most overused punctuation marks out there. Whilst there are rules, people still use it subjectively. Some people use commas as an indication of a pause in the sentence.

If you are in doubt then remember to read it back to yourself. If it doesn’t sound right, then take the time to consider whether you’ve overused some punctuation marks.

3. Be Biased

You’re a person with an opinion. Chances are if you’ve taken the time to come up with an idea worth sharing with the world, your opinion will be valuable. While I don’t think that you should be forceful, you can’t always sit on the fence. Share your thoughts. They may help someone!

4. Tell Jokes (You Can Still be Taken Seriously)

Don’t you love it when you stumble across an informative & witty article? I’m pretty certain that most people enjoy laughing! Having a sense of humor is unlikely to completely alter someone’s perception of you as a writer. In fact, if I read an article that can provide me with serious knowledge and make me laugh… I’m subscribing.

5. Use Cliches

I’ve always wondered why cliches are considered a bad thing. Consider them as a set of universal truths and don’t be afraid to use them, if they’re relevant to your writing. After all, good ideas are often recycled.

6. Throw in a Dreaded Adverb

You can’t paint everyone (or in this case, every word) with the same brush. An entire group of words shouldn’t be avoided. They exist for a reason and should be used. If you want to encourage diversity & creativity in writing, occasionally you just have to go against the grain.

7. Say ‘YES’ to Incomplete Sentences

This is a style choice. And if you like it…

Do it.

Yoy may not want to make it a regular habit, but it doesn’t hurt to try something new  once in a while. It can add a bit of drama to your writing and allow you to emphasise a particular point.

8. make it more personal

When I say this, I mean don’t be afraid to include yourself in the story. Telling stories enables us to build stronger relationships with one another. This will provide you with an opportunity to connect with the audience and become a person that they can relate to. Using ‘you’ really can turn content from an article into a conversation. Your personal experiences make you a unique writer, remember to call upon that.

9. Choose Clarity Over Cleverness

Writing is all about communication. Using unnecessarily complicated language can really create distance between you and the reader. You could completely alienate them or, worse, fail to get your point across. Remember, once you hit the ‘publish’ button there’s no way to check whether they’ve understood. The key thing is to make sure that your message is digested – never forget that.

I hope that this has been helpful! If there are any rules that you think are worth breaking, please mention them in the comments section below.

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