RULES - (Laurie Faria Stolarz)

    The topic this month is rules. What is our #1-rule when it comes to writing, publishing, drafting, marketing? What are our “musts?” What rule or rules have we broken? What rule or rules equate(s) to well written work, positive reviews, decent sales? I do have some rules. I am also a firm believer in rule-breaking when it comes to writing and publishing. You can read more about my rules and the breaking of them in an earlier post (framed as advice)

    At this point in my career, a “must” for me is to write with intention. What is the story I want to tell (and why)? What question am I exploring in the work? What perspective am I providing? What is the takeaway? For now, I like to know the answers to these questions up front, because they help give the work a sense of purpose and meaning. 

    Secondly, writing is wonderful and cathartic. Personally, it helps me process the world – and to understand the human experience on a meaningful level. But it can also be hard, and scary, and triggering, and vulnerable. And, with some of those more difficult emotions, writing can also feel somewhat alienating, particularly because writers (and creatives) are faced with rejection and judgment on a fairly regular basis.  I think it’s important to remember that we are not alone, as creatives or just humans, though it can often feel that way. 

    I recently hosted a contest/giveaway, inviting people to share things they would like to let go of this autumn season. I’m pasting the responses below (note the repeat and overlap in some of them). I think you’ll agree, we all share so many of the same fears and wants. I think a “must” is for us to remember that, regardless of our pursuits.

What would you like to release this autumn season? 

§  Junk food

§  Smoking

§  Vaping

§  Drinking

§  Alcohol

§  Negative thoughts

§  Anger I have for losing my brother

§  The constant need to get the approval of others and not myself.

§  Resentment

§  Resentment of my sibling for a lifetime of controlling me

§  Resentment of teachers who stole my dreams away

§  Resentment for a culture that doesnt give three strikes, just one

§  Resentment of my sibling for emotional, mental, and verbal abuse

§  Resentment of being compared to others as if Im a thing

§  Resentment for a culture that forbids me to speak unless what I have to say is perfect, because what I have to say will never be perfect, and it shouldnt be expected to be. Yes, I will say the wrong thing. No, I dont mean harm.

§  Fear and anxiety of the new year 

§  Fear of suffering

§  Fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone

§  Fear of the future 

§  Fear of the unknown 

§  Fear of success

§  Fear of never publishing again

§  Fear of not being able to finish writing my book

§  Fear of failure

§  Fear of failure

§  Fear of failure

§  Fear, fear, fear. It rules me.

§  Fear of disappointing others

§  Fear of being unloved

§  Fear of rejection

§  Fear of being alone

§  Fear of going broke

§  Fear of being vulnerable

§  Fear of traveling

§  Fear of being alone

§  Fear of my boss

§  Fear of going to the doctor (no matter which one)

§  Fear that I'm not good enough to do the things I really want 

§  Fear of illness

§  Fear windchimes

§  Fear my children will one day resent me

§  Fear and anxiety of the heart surgery I will have in the new year

§  Fear of being alone

§  Letting go of expectations I set for myself and others

§  Letting go of shallow relationships

§  Letting go of the need to always be in control

§  Trying to change people

§  The way I let peoples comments affect me 

§  Feelings of self-doubt. I'm trying to find a job after being a stay-at-home, trying to finish a book I started writing almost five years ago, and trying to make friends. 

§  The need to compare myself to others

§  The feelings I have about my diagnosis of autism

§  Unnecessary stress

§  Being too afraid to take a chance and make a change in my life and art

§  I want to release my grudge for my chronic pain.

§  Unfair expectations I have for myself

§  Anxiety that holds me back

§  Past mistakes

§  Stress about things I cannot change

§  Stress-eating

§  Self-doubt 

§  Anger 

§  Not allowing myself to be human

§  Toxic thinking

§  Overthinking the small decisions in life

§  Anxiety that my children will resent me for my blindness. I cant take them on road trips, or read them a book, or teach them to drive or throw a baseball. 

§  Caring about others opinions of me

§  Past regrets

§  Worrying about the future

§  Letting go of phony people

§  Eating my feelings

§  Gaslighting myself 

§  Procrastinating 

§  Grudges

§  Bottling up my feelings

§  Always expecting the worst 

§  Holding onto problems instead of letting them go 

§  Holding onto other peoples burdens 

§  Obsessing about people and things I cant change

§  Making excuses for everything 

§  Jealousy 

§  Self-sabotage

§  Wishing I had somebody elses life

§  Saying yes to everything, even when I dont want too 

§  Blaming others for how I feel 

§  Toxic people

§  Feeling so afraid

§  Making excuses 

§  Not treating myself kindly

§  Not being able to leave my comfort zone 

§  Taking things for granted 

§  Seeking validation 

§  Sweating the small things

§  Resisting change 

§  Mainstream media 

§  Rejecting my own self-worth 

§  Suppressing my self-expression 

§  Impatience w/ others

§  Fear people will find out Im really, truly boring

§  Weight (at least 20 pounds)

§  Being unkind to myself

§  Anxiety about money and paying the bills

§  Feelings of loneliness

§  Procrastination

§  Negativity 

§  Anger that my parents didnt protect me

§  Self-doubt

§  Crowds

§  Saying the wrong thing

§  Sweating the small stuff

§  Worry

§  Stress over things I cannot control or change

§  Trying to fit in and compromising a bit of myself to do so

§  Trying to control everything

§  Letting other people have so much power over my life

§  Doubting myself

§  Holding grudges

§  Jealousy

§  Trying to be perfect

§  Worrying about the future  that Im not accomplishing enough

§  My inability to set healthy boundaries

§  Extreme people-pleasing 

§  Bitterness

§  Procrastination

§  Indecision 


  1. Ah resentment, the process of letting someone or something live rent free in your head.


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