Rules Are Made To Be Broken

There is no right or wrong way to write.

Yet the classroom, at all levels of education, would have you think otherwise.

Form, rules… they are all there in each textbook. A haiku has rules. A sonnet has rules. A villanelle has rules. I do not agree with them.

Sure, write in iambic pentameter if you want to and don’t get me wrong – writing to the established rules is indeed an admirable skill that can certainly yield some amazing work. But it can reduce your open and far-flung freedom of spontaneous expression.

When you’re riddled with an emotion so strong that you wish to record it onto paper, do you find yourself having to pause and go “now hang on, what rhymes with orange?” in some dull attempt to meet the constrictions of an A B rhyme scheme? Sometimes, you need to blow up the dam and let it pour out hot and sweet onto the page. To hell with uniformity!

You are your own best critic.

Let it out, let it flow and above all – do not beat yourself up over it.

When submitting your work for consideration for publication, you can sometimes run into the aesthetics police. One example I had with one of my longer poems, pointed out that the poem would have been much better if I hadn’t capitalised the beginning word of each line. It was childish in their view.

I disagree.

I say it was necessary and purposeful – each character on the page was placed with the same consideration and skill of a master composer, lovingly daubing each note onto sheet music. Form, style, grammar and punctuation are the paint on your poetry palette and the words are the images you create on the canvas. They are laid onto the open white canvass with artistic skill and you paint with them to help assist your expression. So who are others to wonder up to admire your word-painting and sneer at your craft as it isn’t, in their view, akin to a masterpiece? You’ve not painted a Rembrandt, but instead, you have done something much, much greater – you have painted you.

No one can reproduce you and no one can assimilate you. Your written style and vision is as unique to you as your finger prints and DNA. To hell with the conformists.

To hell with others idea of what constitutes good or bad writing. As long as you have flung open the flood gates of your soul, channelling it all via your heart, then who is anyone to criticise? As long you tried, as long as you cared – there should be no-one else worth pleasing.

But all the above, hell, that’s just me. Disagree if you will, but I am all for creative liberation and a throwing off of established conventions.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Neeks says:

    I guess I agree, to a point. I think I can write whatever I want, in whatever form I want, etc. I have no problem with that. But, for example, if I want to write an Haiku I believe the rules should be followed. It’s part of what makes it difficult and beautiful to write and (for me) to read that particular form of poetry. Just my two cents.

    I completely agree that no one can reproduce or assimilate us, each voice is unique and important no matter how it’s expressed. I did enjoy this post, it really made me think!

    1. Cat says:

      Thank you very much for having a read of my blog and liking it!

      I do enjoy reading and occasionally dabbling with established form myself – there is something so charming and admirable about it all that one can be proud of when reproducing to it. It is nice to use to to form ones own expression.

      I think my post is more to express for all and sundry what I personally am all about and to encourage those who feel a kinship, to feel more empowered to express how they feel liberally and without form or device to constrain.

      I am so so so pleased you dropped by and I really appreciate you for sharing your opinion with me. The world would be very mundane if we were all the same!


  2. Neeks says:

    So very true Cat, and I agree with you. I enjoyed this and will definitely be back for more 🙂

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