“That is the advantage of making up rules. If they are working, they should lead you to better writing. If they don’t, you’ve made up the wrong rules” (43)

I can’t help but make up rules as I make things–be it songwriting, lyric writing, poetry writing, art, or whatever–and I think that quote sums up why. Imposing restrictions on oneself is a perfect way to channel creativity into something structured and beautiful. And if the rules start to hinder the final result, throw them out! That’s usually the hardest part, at least if the rules have worked in the past. It’s the whole “kill all your darlings” thing. If something works, use it, but once it stops working, throw it away. Sometimes its hard to admit when something no longer works.

In any case, it seems to be a pretty common piece of advice from poets–make up rules, or games, or whatever you want to call them. They are what keep you interested and what give you a direction, formally.

But never be afraid to revise them, to break them, to throw them out, or to do whatever has to be done for the sake of the piece.

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