Thinking You’re the Exception to the Rule

70 Solution to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: This is where things start to get sticky. Too many beginning writers want to be artists before they learn the craft of writing. They think they can do whatever they want because, after all, it’s “just writing.” They go to the bookstore and see books published in which, for example, the author uses no punctuation. So, they believe, there are no rules.

Actually, there are rules. There are rules as far as grammar and punctuation. There are also rules to craft. There are rules to the business. And writers, especially those trying to break in, best not believe they are the exception to the rules (even though, as you will see shortly, there are indeed exceptions to every rule).

There is a tendency for people to think most artists are overnight successes. While there are some, they are the exception to the rule. But you aren’t. Not yet.

The solution: Learn the rules. Accept that, initially, you’re not going to be in a position to do much rule breaking. Accept that there are reasons there are rules. Accept that those people who do strange and bizarre things to draw attention to themselves, draw attention to themselves that they really don’t want to have.

Also accept that you don’t know the full story behind the successes of those people who broke the rules. There is an inside story to everything, and when you get further into the business of writing, sometimes you learn that the rule-breakers were successful for reasons other than the apparent ones.

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