52 books in 52 weeks: Writing Without Rules

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 42.

Thanks to NetGalley and to F&W Media for an advance copy of Writing Without Rules by Jeff Somers. I wasn’t approved to review the book at my first try, but when I asked again on a “wish for it” button, my “wish” was granted – and I’m very glad it was.

I don’t know if it’s just the proof copy or whether it’s the electronic copy anyway, but the layout for this one was all over the place. Images were merged into the writing, with rogue page numbers appearing in the middle of sentences, notes popped up quite randomly, there were line-breaks mid-sentence too, and sometimes the notes and the “unconventional tips” merged together too. This all made it quite difficult to read.

However, once over all of that, I did find this book to be amusing and interesting.

Basically, it advises readers to remember all of those “rules” we’ve been told are essential to our writing … and then totally disregard them, especially if they’re hindering the creative process.

The one big thing I learnt from this book was to *finish everything*. Even if (I think) it’s rubbish or unpublishable or a waste of time, finish it. Then, if ever I find myself without any ideas in the future, I can always go back to this rubbish unpublishable waste of time and start to make it better.

The book seems to be made up of a series of individual articles that have then been put together into an anthology, but I actually believe the book was a separate but entire project in its own right. The writing is clever and witty, with the author, Somers, sharing many of his own goofs and anecdotes.

There aren’t really any exercises here, but it’s a good book to read, digest, maybe put into practise. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who likes to read this kind of motivational material.

Writing Without Rules is available on Kindle for £13.29 ($17.01) and in paperback for £13.99 ($17.99).