I have previously written about how I’m a rules based person. I like boxes and things to put in them. I’m also a creative person. I like to let my mind wander following the paths of “what if” as far as I can. These two things may seem at odds but they are not. Rules guide our actions, not our imagination.
Sometimes I think that if I lived in a world that had fewer rules then my mind wouldn’t be so inspired to break away into imagination. I need both.
I haven’t always embraced the two parts of my nature. As a youth and young adult I didn’t see the value of my creative side. It was frivolous. Equally, there were times in my life that I wished to be a more spontaneous person; more willing to be free of rules and expectations.
As I age I see more value in my creative side; the products it produces, and the joy of expression. I also see the value of understanding and following social and societal rules; they lead to safety and success. (Who doesn’t want to succeed?)
Balance is my new personal goal. I decided that I’m not going to wish away part of myself any more. I won’t wish away my desire to follow the rules, nor my need to create. Change is good, but wishing myself otherwise has a history of bringing guilt rather than change. So I will aim for balance between my two extremes, allowing both sides of my personality to shine through and save my wishing energy for something else. (I hear world peace needs work.)
Tell the story of a broken rule. The rule can be something you broke as a child, a teen or a mature adult. From stealing cookies to missing curfew, to speeding we have all broken rules. Why did you break the rule? Were you aware of the consequences? Were there consequences?
As you write, if inspiration strikes, feel free to let your character deviate from the facts. Allow a story to unfold.
If you’re feeling challenged by this exercise, consider writing the story of this broken rule from a different perspective; that of another character witnessing the breach (a child, a neighbour or even a pet).
NB. For those of you who are rule based, aim to write for twenty minutes.