So I did exactly that, and eventually, after several tries, received the email that made my entire year - an acceptance with the coveted Publishing Contract.
Then I waited for my edits, joined groups and loops talked with other writers on the internet, and came to realise that there were a great many rules which were supposed to be followed by a writer which I didn't even know existed. By luck rather than judgement or even talent, I seemed to have instinctively complied with a lot of them but as I went through the suggestions I received from my editor I learnt all about the importance of 'deep point of view', 'showing not telling' avoidance of 'head hopping' and adverbs, and the 'pluperfect tense',
This last one was brought to my attention lately, when a dear friend of mine submitted her second novel and received it back with a request for a rewrite, for there to be more P.O.Vs from other characters, and with instructions to use the 'pluperfect' tense. This phased her rather a lot since she'd been trying hard to stay in her two main characters' 'deep POV' and nearly every piece of advice to authors includes stern warnings to avoid the 'pluperfect' as much as possible. Rules it seems, mean different things to different people.
Of course this is not such a problem if you're an 'Indie' author. I don't mean I think you should immediately throw the 'rulebook' out of the window, and I do believe that in order to break the rules, or judge their worth, you first have to know them. However, being an 'Indie' gives you a lot more control over your book and if you think it works fine without adhering to a certain rule, then no-one is going to try to stop you.
For my own part, I write the first draft without worrying too much about rules or structure, or even punctuation, this is when I'm being the 'creator'. I then go through and revise, and while doing so try to check that I have applied those of the 'rules' I think will make it a better book. If I don't think a rule works in a particular area though, I'll ignore it and write the passage the way I think it should be. I usually have to make several revisions and rewrites before I'm happy that the MS is fit to send to my editor - and I would always use an editor. While I do rely a lot on my crit partners and Beta readers, I don't expect them to catch everything and I know I'm far too close to my own work to spot the potential problems. Heck, to my embarrassment, I've written more the occasional blog post which had a glaring typo or badly constructed sentence, which I only spotted when it was too late to change it, so I've no chance of turning out a perfect MS!
I do feel there is a danger of losing ones 'voice' by following rules too slavishly though, and thereby squeezing the very life out of ones work, leaving it flat and colourless. What do you think? Do you feel that rules make everyone's work too 'formulaic' and are meant to be broken, or do you think they're a necessary evil and should be adhered to as much as possible?