These rules guide and regulate litigation from before the initiation of the case through to completion. Specifically, these rules deal with everything from how to write the documents, what documents are permitted, and more.
A main concern for a self-represented individual is in how the law works generally. Take for example Rule 8. The notes and comments on the Rule are about as long as the Rule itself. For other rules, there is significant case law outlining how the Rule is to be interpreted.
This can lead to a difficulty in knowing what Rule to use, how to use the Rule, and what the Rule actually means.
As ignorance of the law is no excuse, the Rule’s do have a way to enforce them. Specifically: Rule 11. Rule 11 prohibits the filing of frivolous documents - filings which are done for an improper purposes or for other reasons. If a filing is frivolous, the filing party may be sanctioned with attorneys fees, penalties to the court, limitations on filings, or other remedies designed to limit such frivolous filings.
In short, the Rules of Civil Procedure govern how litigation proceeds and can be used as a tool for the parties to handle the proceeding. If you elect to represent yourself, you will need to know these Rules as Judges can require you to follow them even if you are not an attorney.