Conventional Writing Wisdom You Can Ignore, Effective Immediately

Conventional Writing Wisdom You Can Ignore, Effective Immediately

Reader Comments (12)

  1. In a year that has librarians moving 1984 from the fiction shelf to the nonfiction, Orwell clearly still has much to say.

    My absolute favorite of his (in)famous Six Rules?

    “(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”

    But note that it is the last of the rules. Best to know and understand the rules before becoming the iconoclast. There are usually hidden treats to help your writing even as you discard them moving forward.

    Very bummed I missed the Tweet-In.

    Reference for Orwell’s quote:

  2. Many places value collaborative writing – or writing by committee – today to foster “teamwork” . Which makes me think of this: What is a camel? A horse developed by a committee.

    Great writing is an individual pursuit for me, at least when drafting.

  3. Hey Sonia,

    People are really striking to the wrong advice. Rae has mentioned something really important.

    The post frequency has always been a debating point. People are still trying to figure it out.

    But the thing is the content should conclude with the quality that’s what people need.

    I liked the way people have brought up new ideas.

  4. Hey Sonia,
    Thanks for a brilliant article! I agree with every word. Moreover, i find that there can be no rules in writing, as it is something way too intangible for boundaries. The best writers out there are those who are not afraid to break rules and create their own writing regulations.

    Write more articles like this!

  5. My favortite: “Write in the same tone you speak.” NO! NO! NO!

    How many people speak in a bright and tight fashion? How many people don’t use hanging clauses, non-parallel construction or verbal tags when speaking?

    No one. So don’t write as you speak. Follow rules for good writing, and your voice will emerge as uniquely as a fingerprint. But unless you’re trying to become the next James Joyce or Hunter S. Thompson, that voice will not be an unfiltered, unstructured, undisciplined stream of consciousness from your mind straight to your keyboard.

  6. It’s not so much edit as I write as it is tighten as I write. If I’m working on a particular subject it’s easier to correct myself while I’m thinking of it. Thanks

  7. Hi Sonia,
    I love this article because it is filled with so many thoughts from others …. or maybe because I came to it from your Holiday feast confession about cheese and dessert with a jello chaser. I think everyone should follow your plate compilation.

    The biggest lie I laboured under? Write drunk, edit sober. Doing that just took so much time to edit and many of my tipsy ideas actually just tipped over into the trash. Now I just separate those two. It’s lots more fun, and more productive, to just keep the beer together with baseball and leave the writing to a clearer head.

  8. The (bad) advice that grammar doesn’t matter is frightening. As a writer, I feel responsible for grammar’s continued relevance. If even writers think grammar and punctuation don’t matter, we’re all screwed! Oh, and great article by the way. I’m re-posting on

    • Agree 100% Sara! If what one tries to say becomes an incoherent rant, who will read or understand it?

  9. There is a school of thought which seems to hold that you can just write any darned thing and let an editor fix it. Um, no. I’ve been an author much longer than I’ve been an editor, and no matter which function I’m performing at any given moment, I know it’s vital for the author to make the writing the best it can possibly be before passing it on to an editor for the collaboration to begin. Please note the word “collaboration.” Thank you.

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