We’re All Just Making It Up As We Go

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I started writing Taylor Swift fanfic. I haven’t written another word of it since, but that’s fine.

Because this one little exercise—inspired by this prompt—made me think a lot about writing and life in general.

As a journalism major and someone who has written professionally for more than 15 years, I am accustomed to writing in a very structured way. There’s a “right” way to write, and I stick to it. Working in social media, I knew how to write to best game the algorithm.

I love structure, and I hate structure. (Hi, yes, I am an Aquarius.) Structure is safe.

I sat down to play with this writing prompt, and I decided to write about the Taylor Swift song Last Great American Dynasty. I kept checking the lyrics to see if I was writing “accurately.” But I wasn’t writing a review, I was writing fiction! I could write whatever the fuck I want!

And lately, that sentiment has been permeating throughout the rest of my life and thinking about the “rules” I’ve imposed on myself, the rules society has imposed on us. A silly example: telling myself I can’t read for pleasure or write for pleasure because I am in grad school. The time I’ve been intentionally carving out to do something pleasurable has made a really big difference for me lately.

There’s no rulebook for life, except to be kind to others—we’re all just making it up as we go.

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