Break The Rules to Improve Your Writing and Make It Fun
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Break The Rules to Improve Your Writing and Make It Fun

After looking at the headline did you decide to read this article because you want to improve your writing, or do you just like the idea of breaking rules? I have to admit that I live by some rules but break others.

Such as my personal health and fitness rule:

My body is my temple. Except on weekends. And my weekend begins at 5:00 pm on Fridays. Noon at the earliest.

But let’s talk about writing rules. You probably remember them from school. I before E, except after C. Never start a sentence with and or because. Always use he or she when referring to one person, never they.

No wonder people are intimidated to write their own blog. Not only do they have to think of what to write, but they also have to worry about sounding smart.

But I’m here to let you know that writing is easy and fun. You might even feel like a rebel once you start breaking these rules.

Sentence Fragments

Do you like to listen to someone speak in long sentences, never taking a breath or a pause, just rambling on about how they woke up with a sore back because they have an old mattress and how that reminds them of the time they had to move houses, and the doorway was too small to get the mattress through, but the house ended up flooding in the basement so they had to sell it in the end anyway?

Boring, right?

Using sentence fragments makes it more interesting for your reader. But, why? Because it sounds like an interesting conversation, not a lecture. Give it a try. It works. Really.

Use Bullet Points

Ok, using bullet points may not seem like breaking rules, but I’m thinking that you probably associate writing with book reports, essays and describing the scientific method for your Grade 10 science experiment. And you weren’t allowed to use bullet points then were you?

But using bullet points isn’t a lazy way to get your thoughts on paper. The whole point of writing is to communicate. If people don’t understand what you’re trying to say or are too bored to continue reading then you are not communicating.

  • Bullet points attract the eye because of the extra white space it provides.
  • It also usually forces us to write only what is essential – the way we should be writing all of the time.
  • It keeps the reader interested and engaged.

Writing in the First Person

Writing essays in the first person is a big no no, but how many of us write essays? Most of the writing we do is for our website, blog, social media posts or email. We do most of this to connect with our customers, describe our unique services or offer our professional advice. And we want this to sound like it’s coming from a smart and friendly human being with an actual personality.

I know I would rather do business with a company where I feel like I’ve gotten to know the people behind it. I’m not interested in contacting a company whose website is stuffed with dull, third person corporate speak. It doesn’t build trust.

I trust that breaking these three rules will help make you a better writer. What rules do you like to break?

About Lisa Aspinall

Lisa Pierson is Writer-in-Chief at Port Coquitlam based Fine Words.  Get her free three-part mini writing course, and learn how to make your fine words sparkle. You can find her on Twitter: @piersonlisaj (https://twitter.com/piersonlisaj) and Linkedin: Lisa Pierson (https://ca.linkedin.com/in/piersonlisa).

1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed your article Lisa. I too sometimes push the rules in my writing, although I try to do it with purpose and foresight, not as an excuse for laziness. There is still a place for proper grammar and the sloth demonstrated all over the internet often borders on illiteracy. Keep up the creative approach encouraging the written word to be interesting.

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