The Oscars are airing soon so I was inspired to try a little fashion and writing overlap.
First, I have two things to confess. I’m definitely a jeans and tee shirt kind of girl. Fashion is not my area of expertise. Second, fashion posts following an awards show are a bit of a guilty pleasure. I love seeing the stars dressed up and I love seeing the critiques of their style. I don’t pretend to understand how some things I see as utterly impractical and bizarre are lauded but I still enjoy the show.
Those fashion shows and many blogs note fashion rule violations…and there are many writing rules too. How can those two things be alike? Well, I wasn’t sure they were until I started researching.
Let’s take a look at the results!
|Fashion Rules||Writing Rules|
|Wear what you love – only buy pieces that you want to wear seven days a week.||Write something you want to read.|
|Let it sit.||Take a break between writing and editing.|
|If there’s something even very small that bothers you about it, don’t buy it.||Remove/ add that comma as many times as you need to for it to work.|
|Be willing to mend or repair when necessary.||Kill your darlings. EDIT!|
|No high heels if you can’t wear them properly – dress for your body type and personality.||Write what you know – write what you like.|
|Embrace thrift, vintage, and hand-me-downs.||Embrace tropes – they are successful for a reason.|
|Donate and recycle.||Give copies of your books to libraries – join a charity anthology.|
|Less is more when it comes to your makeup and hairstyle.||Less is more when it comes to flowing narrative descriptions – skip the parts readers skip.|
|Confidence in yourself and your style is key.||Confidence in yourself and your style is key.|
|Know the rules and decide which ones to break.||Know the rules and decide which ones to break.|
If you’ve read other posts, you probably know I train in martial arts and often apply lessons ‘off the mats’. I have discovered endless aikido lessons that work in discussions, daily life, and my writing. At first it shocked me then it became the norm. Do you know how many driving lessons apply ‘off the road’? Yeah, I’ll probably do a post about that one too, but now it’s the time so let’s get back on track!
We do make life too complicated sometimes (or at least I do). These type of comparisons help me simplify. Sometimes, I can see a ‘lesson/ rule’ clearly in one area but I may miss it entirely in another. However, once you learn the lesson in whatever area it’s in, it is easier to apply it in many others. You may need to adapt, but what is life without change and evolution?
I think fashion is both creative and a business. Similarly, writing is both creative and a business. Rules help us understand our markets/ genres. We can learn what others expect and whether or not we wish to give it to them. Did you notice the last two rules are the same for both? I don’t think it’s possible to over-emphasize the importance of both rules to us as individuals whether we’re in fashion or books.
Fashion is one way to express ourselves…obviously so is writing.
Colors, fabrics, cuts, accessories, and more come together to create an individual style.
Characters, dialogue, descriptions, POV, and more come together to create an individual style.
Expressing yourself is one thing, but getting others to buy into/ support that expression is another. Again, we have the creative side and the business side. There’s no rule that says you must do both – you can dress as you wish and write what you want with no expectation of making money off of it. You can also find a way to express yourself creatively and earn a living from it.
So, let’s discuss that business side a bit…
Writers often struggle with imposter syndrome and try so hard to write something that’s never been written before. Look at it from a fashion perspective though.
Wedding dressings have certainly been done before.
Have you counted how many different companies offer jeans?
Do we really need to talk about shoes? Even living in jeans, I have more than I could ever need.
Fashion is individual and there are many similar options offered by small companies and large ones. Commentators mention classics in the same breath as new takes. The fashion world is a large one that cycles through trends and needs. There is definitely space for individual expression that may or may not follow the rules.
Books are also individual with many offering similar options by traditional publishers and indie authors. Some reader groups talk about the classics in the same breath as new re-tellings. The literary world is a large one that cycles through trends and needs. There is definitely space for individual expression that may or may not follow the rules.
**Let’s also take a moment to note that people will mock and criticize any and all fashion and writing choices. We can learn from some comments, but others will simply hurt (though there’s a lesson there too).**
I really can’t give fashion advice (seriously, jeans and tee shirts here). To be honest, as I’m far from a ‘successful’ author, I can’t give writing advice either.
And yet I’m going to do just that yet again!
Writers, educate yourself on the rules and have the confidence (even if you have to fake it til you make it) to write your story your way. You may break certain writing, editing, or marketing rules that others live by. Others may break rules you hold dear and find success that way. Let it be.
Other writers are not our competition – the world can never have too many books.
We are our competition – educate yourself and keep becoming the best possible version of yourself.
Confidence in yourself and your style is key.
Know the rules and decide which ones to break.
So, that’s my rambling fashion/ writing post – the next Book Chat post will be up soon and if you’re a fan of urban fantasy/ paranormal romance book then here is your invitation to join the chat by starting here!
As for writing and fashion, I’d love to hear your thoughts whether fashion or books is your thing. What rules do you live by? What rules do you break? If you’re a writer too, what lessons have you applied to your writing life?
Until next time, my friends!