Writer: Why We Sometimes Need To Unlearn What We Have Learned #AmWriting #Writers


A big thanks to Yoda from Star Wars for helping me see what I have been going through recently in my creative life.

The quote ‘you have to unlearn what you have learned’ is from The Empire Strikes Back film. It is featured in the scene where Luke Skywalker is training in the ways of The Force. His fighter spacecraft (or X-Wing) is sinking in the swamp. Luke thinks it’s impossible to get his ship out but Yoda tells him to think differently.

After watching this Star Wars movie yesterday I realised that last year was all about unlearning what I had learned.

During the second half of last year I fell apart creatively. I lurched from painful bouts of writer’s block to intense episodes of sweaty binge writing. I didn’t want to go back over anything and I hated any form of planning. ‘Words come first’, I told myself on many occasion, ‘I will think about the rest later.’ I never did think about the rest. Once I was done I would simply move onto writing something else. It felt transactional and soulless.

Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’ saved me after I hit rock bottom. I would like to point out that rock bottom part didn’t follow a rejection or a load of negative feedback. I was actually on a Circle Line tube train. In between Westminster and Embankment I came to the conclusion I was tired of being the writer I had become. Words were being churned out but there was no depth or structure. I had become a word addict. Gasp!

Once I got off the tube train I found some free wi-fi and bought the Artist’s Way on my Kindle.

Through this book I started to ‘unlearn’ my craft.

I threw out all my old methods and processes of writing. I started writing long hand using Morning Pages and soon this evolved into note taking. I made so many notes. I read writing craft books about plotting and I kept telling myself, ‘thinking comes first, words come later.’

Well, I feel like a different writer and I am glad I went through this period of unlearning. My current W.I.P has benefited a lot from my new processes and methods. I am actually plotting and planning – squeal! Parts are being re-engineered and thought out. My pace has slowed and words are coming last.

I have no idea where this new approach will get me but I am glad things got messy last year.

It has made me see that sometimes we have to unlearn what we knew before we can move into unchartered waters.

Take care out there, writers.

I have added the famous Yoda clip here.

Photo by Georgie Cobbs on Unsplash

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Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

16 thoughts on “Writer: Why We Sometimes Need To Unlearn What We Have Learned #AmWriting #Writers

  1. Yay for Yoda!! Great post, Lucy. Finding your groove as a writer takes time and A LOT of research ha ha, I’m so glad you’re feeling better about your work as you are hugely talented and the world needs your stories x

  2. Absolutely true. Had I known what I know now, I am not sure I would have started in the first place, which is weird when you think about it because the one thing I know now that I didn’t know back then is that I know absolutely nothing. 🙂

  3. Such a wise saying. I know this well. I have had to unlearn many things in my life, and learn new, more beneficial things. I think there is wisdom in always remembering that there is something to learn.

  4. Love this. Think this is exactly what I need to do too. Although we should think of selling our books as a business, if we think of writing them as a business, it sucks the creativity right out of them. It has to be fun in order for me to be creative. So many do’s and don’t’s and rules also do the same thing. I try not to think too much about that as I write which does the same thing.

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