Unlearn what you know

The other day I saw someone on Twitter asking about the rules to write poetry. While there must be great pointers to get started, I think it’s valid to go with your own instinct. Being unaware of any ‘rules’ allows you to figure out your own techniques.

If you did learn how to do something, unlearning is a good idea to fuel your creativity. I’m thinking of Austin Kleon and his blind contour drawings, where he’s drawing a self portrait without looking at the page. He’s drawn his own cartoons for years, but this time, he’s trying something completely different. To me, he’s unlearning to rediscover his craft.

I remember my days on the basketball team when I was in high school. Sometimes, our coach changed our routine to learn new moves. That’s when we played volleyball or soccer to gain other physical or mental abilities to apply on the basketball court. It was also refreshing to switch to a different sport from time to time.

Sometimes, it’s healthy to forget about ‘the way things should be’ to leave room for exploration and playfulness.

If you had to unlearn your craft again, how would you do it?

 

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