It is so easy for writers (or any creative people, for that matter) to get all bogged down with how we are “supposed” to approach our craft. What does great writing look like? And what if we break some cardinal rule without even knowing?!
No question about it, skill-building and knowledge are imperative. But just when hard and fast rules are set down in the creative realm, there are a million exceptions. How convenient, since lots of us creative-types love little more than getting by with breaking a rule! So, I couldn’t resist sharing with you William Safire’s “Great Rules of Writing” below.
Writers, take heart. He brilliantly expresses what our hearts need to know as we are spilling thoughts with ink. (There is freedom!)
Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, “Great Rules of Writing”