While taking a break from editing my latest chapter, I ran across two powerful quotes said by William Somerset Maugham, an English short story writer, novelist, and playwright.
I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about him before I stumbled upon his quotes, but you can be sure I’ll be taking a look at the old bloke’s work.
Anyway, without further ado, the perfect advice for an aspiring __________.
“Habits in writing as in life are only useful if they are broken as soon as they cease to be advantageous.” –W. Somerset Maugham
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.” –W. Somerset Maugham
Yes, these quotes talk about writing–sue me, I’m a writer!–but they can easily be applied to anything else: writing/performing music, drawing, marketing, etc.
I’m sure everyone can interpret the quotes above differently; “advantageous” is one of those subjective words: advantageous to whom? The performer? The audience? If some of your audience is turned off by parts of your performance, is it because of a bad habit that should be changed?
Or does “advantageous” relate to how much your work makes sense to you as the creator, how much you enjoy your work?
I interpreted “advantageous” in terms of myself, a writer, and how much my own work makes sense to me.
The truth in Maugham’s words are apparent not just when I sit down and write but also when I pick up any book that I love or am falling in love with. If there do exist some solid rules for writing, I’ve yet to meet any writer who hasn’t broken them in some form.
And many of them have written spectacular, best selling works.
It also rings true when I comment on the art, videos, and writing of my fellow WordPressing bloggers.None of you write or draw the same as any other blogger, and I admire all of you for it.
We each have writing or drawing habits that we tend to stick to, but it’s important to not treat them as dogma for the sake of appearing consistent and professional.
I know I’ve been harping on about the whole “don’t follow writing rules blindly” schtick, but my passion for that idea is heightened every time I pick up a book or read a blog these days.
Ok, going back to editing.