The Fourth Rule of Engagement
We’ve all been there.
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an essay for school, a “Dear John” letter to your soon-to-be ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/roommate from Hell, a letter of resignation, a last will and testament, or a manuscript that will someday outsell Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey, and the Bible combined.
At some point in the writing process, you find yourself a little bit stuck and unsure of what to write next. You find that you need a bit of a break – just a short one – to give your brain a chance to catch its breath from all the mental calisthenics it’s been performing. And so you click open your web browser, intent on just a quick peek at what’s been happening on the Web while you were busy spinning words into gold.
Rule of Engagement 3.2
I love numbers.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not some sort of mathematician. I’m not even all that adept at numerical manipulation: in restaurants, like many, I struggle to calculate my portion of a group bill, and to also figure out an appropriate gratuity, and somewhat typical of my generation, I generally can’t perform long division in my head unlike the many people of my parents’ generation who can.
Still, though, numbers hold a place in my heart, or at least, the idea of numbers does, as does what they represent. For in numbers, I see a concrete means of comparing two or more different states of being: how something is to how it could or should be; how something is to how it was previously; where something started and where it ends.
In short, numbers can be used to monitor change and – more importantly – progress.
And what writer isn’t interested in that?
Rule of Engagement 3.1
Back in 2002, I decided to take a much more serious approach to my writing and the pursuit of publication than I had to date. I then began searching for a way to convey this change of status to others in a manner that was both concise and wouldn’t misrepresent the true extent of my skills and achievements.
In short, I wanted to know if it was okay to start calling myself a “writer”.
The Second Rule of Engagement
My mind works like a computer. I bet yours does too.
You didn’t think The Rules of Engagement was just a name I gave this blog to make it sound kickass, did you?
Anyone who knows me (which, admittedly, not many do yet by way of this blog, but perhaps, in time, that will change) knows that I love rules. Seriously. Someone actually accused me once of taking the proverbial “rule book” to bed with me at night. It’s hardly something I can deny; I did already out myself on my “About” tab as being fairly left-brained, rational, and rigid, and to quote (or misquote) Popeye, “I am what I am”. But my love of rules is not because I lack sufficient imagination or ability to think for myself, but rather, I find that when the structure and consistency that rules promote is in place, creativity and imagination are able to flourish.