There are just so many of them.
I don’t just mean rules in the writing world. I’m talking about rules at home, college, work and even industry rules. It literally feels like everywhere we turn there’s someone waiting to say no.
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?
Sometimes, the desired effect just can’t be reached by sticking to those guidelines.
So, I’m going against the grain.
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 from the writing world.
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. While there are rules, people still use them subjectively.
Some people use commas as an indication of a pause in the sentence. If you’re in doubt about comma placement, remember to read the sentence 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. If you’ve taken the time to come up with an idea worth sharing with the world, your opinion will be valuable.
You shouldn’t be forceful, but you can’t always sit on the fence, either. Share your thoughts. Doing so may help someone!
4. Tell jokes
Don’t you love it when you stumble across an informative and witty article?
Having a sense of humor is unlikely to completely alter someone’s perception of you as a writer. Having a great sense of humor can also make you more memorable. In fact, if I read an article that can provide me with serious knowledge and make me laugh, consider me a subscriber.
5. Use cliches
I’ve always wondered why cliches are considered a bad thing. Consider them a set of universal truths.
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. Adverbs exist for a reason and should be used when they’re the best option.
If you want to encourage diversity and creativity in your writing, you occasionally just have to go against the grain.
7. Say “yes” to incomplete sentences
This is a style choice. And if you like it…
You may not want to make it a regular habit, but it doesn’t hurt to try something new once in a while. Incomplete sentences 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. You have 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; writing in first-person can make your story relatable. Your personal experiences make you a unique writer. Remember to call upon those experiences when they can help you tell the story.
9. Choose clarity over cleverness
Writing is all about communication. Using unnecessarily complicated language can 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 or not.
The key thing is to make sure that your message is clear — and maybe that’s the one rule you should never break!
What writing rules do you think are worth breaking?