Once you learn the rules, it’s time to break them

Step 1: Learn to write. When you first learned to write, you likely started with your name. Before that, you drew with chalk and crayons. Your drawing and writing skills were unique to you. Your parents could pick a picture you drew off a wall of 30 pictures. You probably didn’t worry about how ‘good’ it was. You didn’t overthink it. You likely didn’t have any preconceived notions about what you were going to draw before the chalk, crayons, or whatever instrument you used touched the paper or sidewalk. Step 1 takes the time it takes.

Step 2: Learn to write in accordance with the rules. In time we all learned to print properly. We learned to print according to the rules. We learned to print on ruled paper, using the lines as guides and making sure the letter proportions were correct. Learning the rules is important if we want what we write to be legible. Step 2 takes a LONG time.

Interlude: Most of us stop here. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, Step 3 is where the real creative growth happens.

Step 3: Go back to Step 1. Now that you know the rules and why they exist, it’s time to start breaking them. Don’t break them foolishly; break them intentionally and with purpose. Don’t overthink it. Be playful and adventurous, exploring along the way. The knowledge of the rules makes Step 3 exceptionally difficult. Just focus on getting past the Interlude. Step 3 sounds simple… but it’s actually 35,678 steps on its own. The only way to get through it is one step at a time. Step 3 takes a lifetime.

And, because we all need a good laugh once in a while… Here are two rather phallic pictures that my son Timmy drew when he was 4.

Love, Erika

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