In the past, I was all about learning the “rules” of writing. The ever-changing “rules” of writing! I took classes, read multiple books, went to conferences, attended webinars and soaked up all the information available in an effort to “do it right.” My mind became so jumbled with rules I lost my writing voice. Editors told me what not to do. I was told only the big authors could get away with writing what I wanted to write. I was a tiny seedling in a huge forest.
I learned to always be in editing mode when I read anything. So I lost enjoyment in reading, too.
I spent so much time writing in editing mode, my characters became cardboard. My writing became stilted. And I wasn’t enjoying writing at all.
Something had to give. I stopped worrying about all the rules. Everyone had a different interpretation of them anyway. And I began to write what I wanted to write using the “rules” I wanted to follow. The ones that made sense. The ones that turned me into an author. Writing became fun again. My characters became real in my imagination and my heart was invested in them.
My suggestion to any new writer is to read. Read what you enjoy the most. Fall in love with the words. Fall in love with writing. Start a journal of your thoughts. Pour them out on the page. Write short stories. Just write. Learn about plotting, about character development, about setting, about using the five senses. Incorporate good writing style into your prose. Don’t worry if you happen to write “She rolled her eyes.” Only writers stuck in the world of rules will picture eyeballs rolling across the floor. You’ll begin to write that phrase in a better way, but while writing the first draft, just write. Enjoy writing what you like and once it’s finished, you can put on your editor’s hat and fix the things that pull you out of the story. Just have fun.