When I was a young writer in my teens, I just wrote. I wasn’t held back by the writing rules and was free to create my world and take my characters anywhere I wanted. Looking back at the stories, they are muddled with words like “cool” and “stuff.” I had many different words for “said.” I even made a list of “exclaimed, admonished, discerned, and so on. I also described everyone’s feelings and went into depth on their hair and eye color. I made all the rookie mistakes. But there was something there in my primitive writings: a real story. Flawed and in need of a complete rewrite, but it still became the foundation for many years of work.
Today, having education (both formal and self-taught), years of writing practice, mentors, and writing groups, I am a better writer. I know the rules. Well, most of the rules — grammar and word usage still slip me up now and again.
In some ways the writing rules themselves slow my creativity. I second-guess myself now, and obsess about plot, having too much backstory, the general flow, is there too much description, and the list goes on and on.
The rules have there place in creating a well-written fiction, but don’t let them rule over the free flow of creativity.
Are you held back by rules in your writing?