Stifle, Stifle, Stifle! For some reason, I hear Deputy Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith show saying these words. I'm not sure if he ever did. I know he said zip it and hooty-hoo, but not positive about stifle!
As I was editing one project the other day and cutting out words - she brightly smiled (guess which word got cut - ha!) - I wondered if many writers sometimes stifle themselves with all the rules we're allegedly supposed to follow - don't end a sentence with a preposition, don't use adverbs, don't do this, don't do that, blah, blah, blah.
I've read some blog posts where writers are very careful in their very first draft. They follow all the rules, fix the problems as they occur, etc.
I think that's all fine and dandy . . . for other writers.
As for me, the rough draft is all about getting the words to paper, the story out, and the revision process is for fixing everything.
Now, what does all this have to do with Deputy Fife saying stifle, stifle, stifle?
Well, my question: do we stifle the creative process by adhering to too many rules during the initial writing phase?
For me, the answer is YES! Now, I try to pay attention to not using too many words that end in -ly! I try not to have the characters smile brightly or laugh loudly or softly for that matter, but every now and then one of those pesky words will end up in the project. It's life. It's part of the creative process.
I don't think rules were meant to dictate the creation of art - written word, music, painting, whatever. The whole point of creativity, at least to me, is to follow your heart and ignore the rules. Yes, there comes a time and place, especially in writing, where we have to pay attention to the rules.
But . . .
Do we pay attention to those rules so much that we stifle our creative process?
Do we want to stifle our creative process or do we want to encourage that process to its fullest extent?
As for me, I'm all about the fullest extent . . . at least in the rough draft stage.
How about you? Do you ever feel you're stifling your creativity by adhering to all the rules in the rough draft stage? If so, how do you handle the stifling of your creativity? Is it a price to pay for one day being published?