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Tuesday Tip #67: Know the Rules...

Know the rules before you break the rules...

This may seem counterintuitive to typical editing advice, but there is merit to breaking rules! We aren't recommending you ignore basic grammar, punctuation, or spelling. We are, however, recommending you consider context.

For example, formal content and structure is appropriate when putting together a proposal on a new project idea or for a new client. These are situations when it is important ideas are clear, logical, and distinct. This content should be engaging, but it may not feel natural (unlike, say, when you're presenting a project pitch).

Forums where breaking the rules could be beneficial are blogs, company newsletters, social media posts, or marketing campaigns. These are informal tools for relaying content, which could use shortened text blurbs or colloquial expressions. Take it further! Add unexpected elements and be creative!

Unsure where to start? Consider the advice of these best-sellers:

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” -- Robert A. Heinlein

“Somebody said that writers are like otters… Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they’ll do a better trick or a different trick because they’d already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We’ve done it, so let’s do something different.” -- Neil Gaiman

“I love rules and I love following them, unless that rule is stupid.” -- Anna Kendrick



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