Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Important Are "Writing Rules"?

How important is it that writers follow writing rules? I'm not talking about grammar and punctuation rules; I'm talking about the rules we learn by reading writing craft books, industry blogs, as well as in writing workshops/conferences.

I'm sort of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. I've edited my upcoming novel, Purple Moon, far too many times to count--and every time I read it, I have an urge to tweak it some more. This is because our writing can always be improved; I don't think there will come a time when I read one of my novels and am completely satisfied at the writing. As long as I continue writing, reading, and studying the craft, I will continue to grow as a writer. That being said, I will continue to find flaws. But I have learned that my desire to perfect my writing is not nearly as important as my desire to make an impact on someone's life through my story. 

I've heard many authors tell amateur writers that it's best to wait until their craft is perfected before they seek publication. It's even been recommended that writers throw away their first couple manuscripts, since it is not likely that they are good enough for publication. I don't necessarily agree everyone should do this, only because it generally depends on the writer, as well as the story. What if the manuscript you threw away could have impacted someone? What if it could have been a best-seller? I also don't think it's necessary to wait until your you've fully grown in your writing craft before seeking publication, only because our growth should have no limits.

Although I do feel as if I have grown a lot as a writer since I began writing Purple Moon, I do not regret having it published. Not at all. The reason is because I know the potential the story has to impact teenagers. Generally speaking, your writing isn't what's going to grip a reader's heart; it's the emotional and spiritual impact that will touch readers and possibly lead them to Christ. 

Don't get me wrong, developing our craft is very important. An agent/editor will not read your book if it's poorly written. However, as a Christian writer, following the writing rules should not be our main focus. There are a few Christian fiction books I have read that broke many writing rules, yet somehow they had a huge impact on me, as well as many others. I believe that the ability an author has to present an authentic and emotional story with a subtle, yet strong spiritual theme far outweighs whether or not their writing is perfect. 

If you feel that God has laid a story on your heart, then start writing, no matter how good of a writer you think you may be. You never know the amount of people who may be touched by reading your story.
"Look at your writing as a ministry, as something God has uniquely called you to do for His glory. The written word is a powerful tool you can use for the glory of God; and yes, you can even do powerful things through stories."
~Adam Blumer

9 comments:

  1. This was such an encouragement to me. Thank you.

    I am writing my first "novel" (or novelette, perhaps?), and this was just what I needed to hear.

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  2. This post was so inspiring. I just created my own Christian blog, and I pray it can impact others in thier faith like yours has done for me! xo. You should give me a follow at http://foreverconvinced.blogspot.com/ :) xo Jess

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  3. So great! I can't wait to get a hold on your book and read it! :)

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  4. WOW! That is sooo true! So many times people get so focused on how they look when they write that they forget the real purpose of WHY they are writing. Great article!

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  5. This was really helpful and encouraging! When does your book come out?

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  6. This post is just so inspiring!! Thank you for this. :)

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  7. This was a fantastic post! :) Can I have your email?

    Rebecca

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