From The Victoria Times-Colonist:
If you ask a kindergartner to tell you a story, chances are you’ll hear a nonsensical and fabulous tale. If you put a chocolate chip cookie on a counter and forbid the child from using a chair to reach it, chances are she’ll find a few alternate routes to that cookie
Children are born inherently creative. They act on it unselfconsciously when they are young, willing to dance, draw or create at a moment’s notice. We all begin with enormous creative capacity, but how does our willingness to act on it diminish as we grow older?
I confronted this question when I participated in my first fiction writing workshop last year. The instructor gave us a series of prompts, and each time, I stared at a blank screen with unmitigated fear.
. . . .
I called a friend, who happens to teach creative writing, late one night while struggling with this task.
“I can’t do this,” I told her. “Of course you can,” she said. She reminded me that I wasn’t being graded. The story, no matter how badly written, was not going to affect my professional reputation. So, with the stakes so low, why I was so afraid to exercise a new writing muscle? Because I was scared of doing it wrong. I didn’t want to do it poorly. It was safer to stay in the zones where I felt comfortable and competent.
We unlearn creativity, according to Josh Linkner, author of Disciplined Dreaming, A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity.
“Instead of growing into our creativity, we grow out of it,” he said.
Fear is the main culprit, he says. We are conditioned through years of schooling to strive for the “right” answer.
We are punished for making mistakes. We are rewarded for following rules.
“People learn from an early age to get in line,” he said. So, we judge others and judge ourselves when we make a mistake or – heaven forbid – fail. We talk ourselves out of creativity and hold ourselves back from big ideas.
When is divergent thinking valued? When and where are we allowed to fail?
. . . .
My own children were encouraging during my creative-writing fits.
“Just try again,” they would say.
Link to the rest at The Victoria Times-Colonist