The course of this article by Joe Bunting makes a point about breaking rules being a part of pursuing art. In that spirit I took a good hard look at some of the words and phrases he lists here, and have to admit he has some good points.

There are things about the way I write that lend a certain rhythm and feel at times that I know aren’t technically shining textbook examples of written perfection. I do them anyway, because I like the end result. I write by instinct more than anything else. If it was good enough for Asimov…that’s all I need to know about it.

Going off the writing rules rails like that intentionally doesn’t mean I’m not open to considering ways to make my writing better. When I read an article like this, several points will stick with me

The “To be” one is something I’ve been making a conscious effort to get better about for a long time. To me this is the kind of thing that takes extra thought right in the middle of writing. It’s a pain and it drags me out of my flow, but it’s worth that if I can train myself into stronger phrasing.

The case made for avoiding “very” is a good one. Put the most simply, being exhausted is a much more descriptive way to say someone is very tired. As a person who struggles with exhaustion that digs much deeper than even very tiredness, this one hit home and I won’t easily forget it.

I’ve always been a bit too fond of “ly” words. While I do think they can lend something useful to prose, this article’s example of how much better an alternative can be makes me hyper aware of the difference now. I’m sure I’ll still blithely use them, but I’m also sure that I’ll cautiously consider potential better ways to express my intentions.

I think there are way too many people all over the internet, and the world in general, trying to insist that they have the secret to writing bliss and success (often charging a fortune to impart it). That might be more feasible if writing was a one way street, with rigid rules that keep nasty accidents from happening. In my opinion writing is more a beautiful beach, where there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy it. One person may only want to bake themself into a lobster wanna be, the next is ensconced under a huge umbrella with a book, while another spends the whole day in the water. None of those are the right way or wrong way. They are each one of many ways that end in wonderful memories of a perfect day at the beach. My way of writing may not work for anyone else, but theirs won’t work for everyone either. As long as each way works for the person doing the writing, each person is doing it “right”.

This article is presented with a sense of camaraderie that leaves us with ways to help our own way. And that’s why I’m able to learn from it.