When learning how to write, it basically comes down to an extensive series of writing rules. Don't do this. But don't forget to do that, and so on. As I continued my education in creative writing, I finally recognized the faulty "rules" my English teachers taught me. But now that I teach writing, it's time to get rid of some of these "rules" once and for all.
1. Flipping to the end of a chapter to see how long it is makes you a bad reader.
This rule was given to me by my seventh grade English teacher. I had always considered myself a reader, but I always flipped to the end of the chapter, just to see how long it was---to see if I had time to finish it. I was heartbroken to learn that I was a bad reader. Mr. Holliday was so adamant about that particular "rule." By the way, I still flip to the end of a chapter while I read. And you know what? I'm still a good reader.
2. Using contractions in writing means you're unintelligent.
This "rule" was from the same teacher as with #1, Mr. Holliday. His reference for this "rule" was a fiction book he had been reading. Apparently there was a ransom note without contractions. The investigator or detective knew the kidnapper was intelligent because of his lack of contractions. Can I just say that this is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. In fact, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends using contractions. It can give writing a more personal, sincere feeling. A lack of contractions can make a piece feel stuffy, stiff, cold, distant.
3. In a research paper, the end of every sentence needs to have a reference or citation.
This one was from my ninth and tenth grade English teachers. Whenever we were assigned a research paper, they required us to cite every sentence. That didn't leave any room for our own writing, only direct quotes or paraphrasing from the sources we referenced. I later learned that that is not a research paper; it is merely a listing of facts. There is no voice nor a writer. There is no original thought.
As you continue your writing projects, remember that not all the "rules" you've been taught are correct. It is important to differentiate them for yourself. However, sometimes you can't break the writing rules until you know them and you understand why they're rules in the first place.
I'm an adjunct creative writing professor and freelance writer, but I dream of being a published novelist. This is my journey.