The rules of writing

Rules of writingSometimes I can’t finish a thought. I stare at half a page of writing on a topic I care about, but I can’t seem to figure out where to go next. So, I start something new. I reach a few hundred words and then once again, I go blank. Or worse yet, I continue to write but everything that manages to come out is . . . blech.

The more I care about a topic, the more neurotic I am about my word choice. I don’t particularly care about my word choice right now because I’m just rambling about all of the other things I can’t seem to finish writing. But this weekend I started three separate pieces – one about what causes my panic attacks, one about gender identity, and one about passing judgment on strangers – and I can’t comfortably finish any of them.

For now, all three are sitting idly in the “Working on” folder on my desktop. They’ll remain there for a week or two . . . or until I actually manage to finish them. If I don’t, they’ll be moved to the “In progress” sub-folder in my “Blogging” folder. That’s the folder I use for the pieces I’m still hopeful about finishing some day. Or, they’ll be moved into the “On hold” sub-sub-folder in my “In progress” folder. That’s the folder for the pieces I’m pretty sure I’ll never touch again. I just need to hold on to them, ya know, just in case.

I read a list of writing tips somewhere (I can’t remember where) and one of them said that you should always finish one piece of writing before you move on to another one. It had to do with discipline and blah blah blah. I’m sure there were a bunch of other rules listed as well, but I don’t like rules. (Which, I understand, could seem contradictory for a person who has sub-folders for her sub-folders.)

If I really, really wanted to, I could finish any of those pieces. I could sit in front of the computer and close all of my tabs and turn off the TV or radio and just make myself write and finish. And it would be okay. I would get the job done, but I wouldn’t love it. And why should I ever settle for something I don’t love when I’m writing for myself?

My writing is my passion. It’s not just a pastime or a hobby or a thing to do just because I can. It’s a part of me. It’s my art and I think art should be messy and disorganized and wonderfully chaotic. It should leave remnants of paint in the most unusual of places . . . like behind your ears and on your eyelids . . . literally or figuratively.

And for that reason, I will never rush something I can’t feel. I will never force. I will never settle. I will never follow the rules.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Great post! One of your posts that you’re working on is one I have been thinking of posting about. LOL The one about judging strangers….that’s what me and my husband were talking about the other day! How funny how minds can think alike, huh?

    Reply

  2. For some reason, my email account was sending all your posts to spam! So, I didn’t know that you had been posting everyday since the New Year. You’ve wrote some really great posts. I’ve enjoyed catching up! And I am glad that you never follow the rules!

    Reply

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