I don't hate all rules... just the ones I don't like. I like to live outside the box. Make my own rules and break them. Live life in the fast lane. OK, I'm not that extreme but when it comes to writing, rules and I never really got along.
In high school I used to zone out when my teachers tried to teach us about writing elements. I would think to myself when will this ever matter or no way do writers actually think about this stuff while writing. Obviously I didn't come to enjoy writing till later.
In first drafts, my thoughts in high school pretty much apply. I just get the story on paper. It's amazing though how much those elements of writing appear. They may need copious amounts of TLC to get them up to par but they are there. That is when I realize that those little lesson throughout school stuck and that they are helpful.
As I go through the rewriting and editing process I begin to realize just how important and helpful those elements really are. They make life so much easier and lets face it life can get pretty difficult all on it's own, it doesn't need my help. These literary elements, symbolism, characterization, foreshadowing, irony, point of view, etc, are like guide posts to writing a great piece of literature. Of course there's more but don't be like my high school self and ignore them, they will only serve to help.
What are some other elements you like to include? Do you find it difficult or easy to include them?