“What are you doing?” I asked. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m counting,” she answered.
“I have to count to 180.”
“Because I have to keep the conditioner in my hair for exactly 3 minutes.”
“Because that’s what the bottle says. That’s the rule.” Splash, splash. “And I have to keep the rules. Now I’m over the 3 minutes.”
My daughter is my first born. She loves rules. Thrives under them. Desires them. Makes them up to enforce with her brothers.
I’m the youngest of four. I buck against rules. Dislike them. Wither under them.
Don’t get me wrong. I follow the rules. The ones that matter, at least. I drive the speed limit (usually). Wait my turn. Use the correct amount of detergent in my washing.
But I certainly do not leave the conditioner on my hair for the correct amount of time. Or steep my tea for only 5 minutes. Or play music to the exact key signature (metronomes are SO rule followers).
I like to do things my own way every once in awhile. And sometimes that means I break a rule here or there.
I’m working on my third novel. And I adore this story. I have my protagonist and antagonist. Supporting characters. Plot. Conflict. I found the hope in the story (which, to me, is essential in all my writing).
Now I have to decide. Keep all the novel writing rules. Or break a couple.
Keeping the rules is safe. Kind of. Breaking the rules is risky. Sometimes.
So. With this work. Should I play it safe or take a risk or two?
That’s the question. What do you think?
Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Are you a rule keeper? Or do you tend to go against them?