A lot of indie authors are pretty rigid with their writing rules. There’s nothing wrong with this when it’s your style, and self-imposed. You’ll have problems though if rigid rules don’t fit well with your character, and you’ve only inflicted them on yourself because a successful and well known writer said that that’s what you should be doing if you ever want to succeed. “Must” is often the word lurking behind procrastination in any field, and when it comes to creative souls, I believe it could shut down production pretty well.
The minute we’re told we must do something, our subconscious goes into overdrive, bombarding us with all the ways we could fail, and settles like a lump in your mind, effectively blocking all those wonderful sentences that had been champing at the bit to leap onto your pages. This fear can be good in small doses. When you have to do one particular finite job, it can goad you into stepping up to the plate and giving it your best shot, purely so that you can put it behind you and move on. But if it’s a rule that you see looming into your entire future career, it could very well be daunting enough for some to throw in the towel rather than risk failure.
If you are told that in order to be any sort of author worth your salt that you MUST write a minimum of X amount of words every single day, and you MUST avoid adverbs, and you must this or that or the other thing – and you believe it – even though your writing regime and style are miles away from that, you’re pretty much going to knobble yourself. If it is your own personal goal to churn out ten books a year, and your personal writing style is naturally succinct, then apply those rules to yourself without fear. On the other hand, if you like to toss in a couple of flowery or acrimonious adverbs now and then (as I do), and if forcing yourself to write thousands of words every day raises your cortisol levels to terrifying heights, then you really shouldn’t, because even if you do manage to get any words down they’re not likely to be the ones that you would have written under your own steam. Fine for businesslike articles, but not so much for creative fiction or non-fiction.
We have more than enough fear already as writers, whether previously published or not. Thoughts pop up that what we publish will be laughed under tables all over the place, or that readers will guess which bits of our fiction aren’t really fiction at all, and think that we’re just plain weirdoes, and so on, and so on. Write your own book at your own pace, and in whatever style is yours without worrying about what anyone will think, until you’ve written the very last word of it. Then you can worry about grammar while you’re doing your dreaded edits. And just because a particular way of writing is believed by many modern authors to be the most well received, that doesn’t mean that it’s true. There is nothing wrong with a couple of well placed adverbs in any story for instance. They can add feeling and depth to a sentence. We use them in our speech after all, so why should they be excluded from the written word?
So yes, read what other authors say about their own success stories. Read all the advice out there, but think it through first as it would apply to you, and follow your own heart and style when you write your own. Many of the most wildly successful books were written in styles and by writers who conformed to nobody but themselves, and broke so many of the rules that they wouldn’t have stood a chance if they had followed the pack.