I’m Not An #Expert on Anything – I’m a #Writer – No Rules Required

quote-advice-to-a-new-writer-there-are-no-rules-in-this-profession-do-what-is-good-for-you-anne-rice-122-70-88

And that’s good enough for me.

I tell stories. I have a few awards so I suppose that means I don’t suck at writing. However, even with six novels and a novella to my credit, as well as hundreds of blog posts, I do not nor would I ever call myself an expert in anything. Nor would I dare to offer advice on the best way to do this or that, simply based on my own experience. I worked hard and I wrote from my heart, soul and gut. I was published. I went from being a writer to an author in the span of less than a year. How did I do it?

I wrote. I focused on my goals and did it my own way. That’s exactly how you should do it too; regardless of what your own way is. Just please, the only rule I stand by 100% is EDITING. If you are transitioning from writer to author and actually publishing a novel, pay someone to edit for you. Please, for all our sake’s.

Every situation is different. I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from each and every one; some bigger lessons than others. Regardless of what writing technique you use or formula you choose to follow, if you don’t approach that formula with a positive attitude and maintain the ground rules firmly at the heart of it with honesty and humility, you can really end up unhappy with the results of your work. Try it your own way first! Experiment! You may be creating a formula that only works for you and that’s perfect!

Every time I begin a new project that will hopefully evolve into a novel, my knees knock, my mouth waters, my heart races and hands tremble. That my friends is fear – fear I’ll write fifty thousand words and suddenly decide I’m unhappy with the story. Fear that my loyal readers will not like the behavior of my characters and even my main character. Fear that a beloved character may die a horrible death and my readers will wish the same for me…figuratively of course.

NEWS FLASH: Readers will love your story and readers will hate your story and it really has nothing to do with you. How they feel is about their own taste and that’s fine. 🙂 That’s how it should be! 

  • Do you outline your book?
  • What kind outline? Detailed or more like a guideline? 
  • Do you just let your characters lead the way and pray they aren’t taking you down the rabbit hole?

I would never presume to tell anyone what is right and what is wrong with how they approach a project. Doing what you are comfortable with and what you see as a plan and system you can live with and work well with is to me, far more important than following some text book guideline laid down by someone or someones who think they are the expert.

I’m not an expert on anything – I’m a writer. I ONLY want to be a writer when I write. I don’t want to offer you advice, let you cry on my shoulder and most importantly, I won’t tell you how you should do anything. My experience is mine. Go get yours. Don’t be be afraid to spread your wings and fly!

“On giving writers advice, offering “rules.” I’m asked a lot about this, and people bring great lists of rules for writers to the page all the time. What do I think? I can’t say it loud enough. There are NO RULES for all writers! And never let anyone tell you that there are. Writers are individuals; we each do it in our own way. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not a “real” writer because you don’t follow their rules! I can’t tell you how much harm was done to me early in life by others judging me in that way. I was told in college I wasn’t a “real” writer because I composed on a typewriter; I was condemned later on in damn near apocalyptic terms for “not writing every day.” “Real writers” are those who become “real writers.” That’s all there is to it. And again, we each do it in our own way. For me, stubbornness has been as important as any talent I might possess. I ultimately ignored the people who condemned me, ridiculed me and sought to discourage me. I laughed or cried over it in secret; and went right on writing what I wanted to write, the way I wanted to write it. I knew of no other way to become the writer of my dreams. If you want to be a writer, go for it. Critics are a dime a dozen, and people who would love to see you fail are everywhere. Just keep on going; keep doing what works for you. Keep believing in yourself.” ANNE RICE

I’d listen to this woman before I’d listen to anyone else. She’s 100% right.

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12 thoughts on “I’m Not An #Expert on Anything – I’m a #Writer – No Rules Required

  1. Well, thank you for this. It’s about how I feel and not just on writing. We need to do things in our own manner, not become carbon copies of someone else. We are all individuals and that is the beauty of it. Although there is nothing wrong from learning different ways in doing something from other people, we must each follow what works best for us.

    • Thank you Sarina. As writers and authors, we are bombarded with rules, techniques, guidelines and the like. Who makes these people experts on how we should tell a story? We are our own experts. As you said, we must each follow what works for us. I remember the day Anne posted this on her Facebook page and I was almost in tears. I kept asking myself if I was doing things wrong and when I saw this, it was as if the sun came out on a rainy day! My writing began to flow and I no longer cared or obeyed any rules about anything to do with writing except those very basic principles at the heart of a good story. The main guideline being perspective. I head hopped. I have since learned how confusing that can be and have added the ability to not do that to my toolbox. Do what makes it work for you. Tying the writers hands with rules stifles the natural flow of creativity…in my book. 😉

  2. I agree there are too many rules. I am not a rule book fan. There are some very bad writers out there though, you can’t disagree with that.

    I’m never going to disagree with your comment about editing, but recently, I’m getting more requests for professional ie paid-for, beta-reading. I suppose it’s a totally objective view, and people know what they are getting that will be delivered. A cheap MS appraisal? Maybe. Not an edit, but guidance what to look at.

    People are looking for one or two skilled beta readers, invariably editors, who will deliver a report within a timescale.

    I’m digessing, sorry, but your post made me wonder if I see a new different trend.

    Still agree, there are no experts.

  3. It’s so good to hear someone being so passionate about being true to herself. I attend a brilliant writing course & have great respect for our tutor, however I don’t always agree with her ‘rules’ & believe that’s the way it should be. There is no ‘one way’ in any aspect of life. I agree with Anne Rice about doing what feels right. If you need to write, purely for the money, by all means follow what is expected, however if you write from the heart then you have to do what feels right. I have yet to be published but would prefer to remain that way & enjoy my writing, rather than conform to someone elses rules!

  4. Pingback: I’m Not An #Expert on Anything – I’m a #Writer – No Rules Required | Shana Chartier-Author of things, like this blog!

  5. Great post. I received a comment on my writing yesterday where someone asked me where I learned to write so well in third person. This freaked me out, because I just write. I hadn’t thought about it until then.

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