Never start a sentence with "and" or "because", never write prologues, or epilogues. Never start a novel with your main character waking up. Never say "never" and always avoid "always". You know, stuff like that.

All of these things are the supposed rules of writing, that you must never break otherwise your writing will fail and you'll never become an upstanding member of the writing community.

They were created with good intentions for beginners, to prevent an endless barrage of unoriginal and cliched manuscripts, but some writers are taking these rules far too literally. The fear of being original or doing something new is what’s holding them back from finding their real writing voices.

But really? It's time for a change in these beliefs and these outdated ideas.

There are no rules in writing.

At best they are but feeble suggestions, weak guidelines, which certainly haven’t held back some of the most successful authors of our time. There have been writers who made up entirely new words and still managed to create works of art (think Shakespeare), and others who completely disregarded the standards of traditional writing and still managed to gain raving fan bases. (Think E.L. James.)

There are no rules in writing.

No list of rules will ever be able to secure the success of your novel, or save you from critical comments. No formula will determine how people will feel about your story, or how well your characters will be received by the world. No one can teach you how to write. You have to teach yourself, through courageous expression and experimentation.

There are no rules in writing.

No one will ever be able to bring the same perspective or insight to the blank page as you. Not now, not in the future, not EVER, unless they were actively copying. Do you realise who incredible that is?

There are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, and you have the power to sculpt them, rearrange them, and touch people's souls with them in a way that is as unique as your fingerprint! Seriously, why stifle that with regulations?

There are no rules in writing.

There are no limitations.

Write your novel even if you're worried it might not be in fashion at the moment. It might have never been in fashion before. It might be so experimental you don't even have a name for it yet. It doesn't matter, just write.

You don't know what the next big novel will be, no one does, so there’s nothing to say it won’t be yours.

There are no rules in writing.

Stop colouring within the lines, stop worrying about what other people will think of you. You already have everything you need to create the work you want to bring into this world.

Don’t allow the “rules” to hold you back, because there are none.

Stephanie Lennox is an award-winning author, keynote speaker, holistic writing coach and wellness advocate. She’s also the founder of The Authorship Program®, a 12-week immersive experience that helps writers conquer fear in their creative lives. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Please share this post: