To Break the Rules, You Must Know Them


This is the fifth in a series of posts on creativity and art.

Another common misconception about creativity and art is the idea that rules are choking.

That’s like saying it would be easier to make great cuisine but for the overwhelming suffocation of having to follow recipes.

Of course we’ve all heard that you can’t stand out or get ahead if you not ready to break the rules. And I totally agree. After all, rules were made for men, and not men for rules. It’s just that, to be able to break the rules with any usefulness, you must first of all know them.

And that’s the difference between the professional creative and the amateur wanna-be:

The pro…
…knows the rules thoroughly
…bends them sparingly, breaks them even less often
…bends or breaks them to achieve clearly defined results.
The pro knows exactly what he’s doing.

The amateur…
…breaks the rules without restraint
…doesn’t even know that there are rules (so you could actually say he’s not breaking anything)
…can hardly define what he’s intends to achieve amid the chaos
The amateur is clueless. (Or maybe just lazy.)

No doubt, rules can be quite hampering, but that’s really often because there’s no clear understanding of why they exist in the first place. Whatever context you’re creating in – whether studio, stadium, kitchen or office (even in a surgical theatre) – there are rules governing your art, and you have a responsibility to know them well, and know why they came about.

And then you’ll be ready to use – and when necessary, break – them.

* * * * * * * * * *

Did you enjoy this post? If you missed my previous posts on creativity and art, check them out at the links below:

Redefining Art

The Not-So-Secret Key to Creativity

The Question of Your Life!

To “Think Outside the Box”, You Need a Box

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