The spaces I write in these days are somewhat known for having a formula.
Romance novels, after all, have their happy endings, and some people even feel that heroes and conflicts should be introduced as specific page and chapter points. Screenplays are also often considered to have very particular structure rules (at least, if you look at any How to Write a Screenplay book ever).
While following the formula can be really important, so can breaking it. And while you have to know the rules to be able to do that effectively and in a compelling way, that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about understanding that if you do break those rules there are consequences. You might need to market a little harder. Your project might take a little longer to find its audience. People might give you advice on how to do the thing you didn’t want to do. Or assume that you have disdain for the convention of your genre instead of just an impulse or strategy to push their boundaries.
And some days, the consequences of doing your own thing might make you really frustrated. Or sad. And that’s when Do the Thing! kicks in. Because you either got to stand by and keep making your choices or you need to go back to the formula, but either way, you’ve got to keep moving.
So break the rules. But don’t stop there. Because if you’re about shaking up the formula doing the thing involves not defending your choices, but highlighting them, explaining them, and showcasing how they aren’t a bug but a feature.
Sound hard? Sure. But going after your creative and career dreams was already hard. Once you know the rules enough to break them, doing it the way you want to do it may be challenging, but it’s definitely easier than not following your own vision.