Writing Assignment: Write About Breaking The Rules

by Randy Murray on September 27, 2013

Rules. They’re everywhere. Some of them are sensible. They protect us and guide us.

But sometimes, too often, the rules hold us back, block us unnecessarily.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. Block’n out the scenery, breaking my mind. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?

Les Emmerson

I’m not talking about laws. Gravity isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. There are consequences for breaking laws. Rules might have consequences, too, but they’re typically more personal and immediate. It’s the “might” part that’s worth exploring. When you consider something that you’ve thought was a rule and ask, “why?’ you might discover that it’s not important or no longer important or it’s overly broad. And testing the rules is a good way of finding out if you need that rule at all.

For today’s assignment, select a rule from your own life and experience and write about breaking it. Explore the why of the rule. Detail the specifics and boundaries of the rule. Be clear about when the rule is a good idea and when it unnecessarily restricts you. Write about breaking it yourself. Put yourself in direct opposition to the rule and face it down.

The rule you select may be a good one, a necessary one. But there may be instances when the rule can and should be broken. Be sure to explore this and give this rule a better, fuller definition.

Or discard it. Strike it from the rule books. Be sure to give us a good explanation of why you no longer need the rule.  But be cautious. “Don’t eat potato salad that’s been left out in the sun,” is a perfectly good rule, but perhaps not specific enough. What kind of potato salad? American or German? And how long in the sun? Is out in the sun, but at thirty degrees fahrenheit OK? And what happens if I do eat it?

And some rules, like some signs, need a close examination.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

 Woody Guthrie

What’s on the other side of your sign?

The Writing Assignment: Write About Breaking The Rules by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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