Just because I know the rules of writing (at least a good amount of them) and choose to follow them, it doesn't hurt my creativity at all. Writing well, which can be aided by rule following, doesn't have to come at a cost to creativity. I think my work is quite creative and unique. Just because my story uses only said throughout and someone else never used said once. It doesn't make there work more creative or more unique. I studied writing. I have an MFA in fiction. This might surprise some of you, but we like never talked about rules. There was a lot of critiquing and very little if any discussion of the rules. I'm not saying everyone followed the rules to a T. I was in school with a very talented and creative group. There are much better ways to be unique and creative than just breaking the rules. And if I was just starting out, I would want to know the rules so they could help me. They have and continue to help me. Sure, I break them sometimes. I really have given the rules more thought on this forum than I ever did in all my years of writing.