Today, I'm going to start with a quote: "It's not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them."
~T. S. Eliot
I think that any writer who spends any amount of time trying to improve themselves as a writer has heard/read some rules. You have, right?
You've been in classes, attended conferences, bought books on character and craft, maybe even read a few thousand industry blogs. The "rules" for good writing and good storytelling could fill the ocean.
For me, it's knowing when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em.
I like this quote by T.S. Eliot because it reminds me that I do need to know the rules before I go about breaking them. Do I observe proper grammar? Hold--most of the time. Do I avoid all flashbacks? Fold--heck to the no.
As an author, we need to have adequate practice time. I have entire novels that were purely for practice. A regimen to learn the rules, so to speak. Now, when I write (and it's not for practice, because I still do that), I have to decide when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. I have to rely on my previous experience, and I have to know what kind of writer I am.
When I do that, then I know which writing rules I should keep and which ones I should release.
What about you? Are you still holding tightly to all the rules? Or have you been folding a few hands recently?