Remaining creative by preparing to be wrong

If you’ve never heard of TED before, I highly recommend checking it out. Their tagline is “Ideas Worth Spreading” and I’ve been both entertained and enlightened by many of the TED speakers over the years.  Recently I came across Ken Robinson’s talk on how schools kill creativity.  As a creative person, this is a topic I’m fairly interested in.  As someone who is self-taught (mainly because I couldn’t put up with the structure of mainstream education), I thought it would be interesting to see what ideas he had…and there were many.

Ken made a lot of interesting observations…most notably how children start out inherently creative, but our educational system is designed to make “good workers,” rather than “creative thinkers.”  He also stressed how children aren’t nearly as afraid as adults to “be wrong.”

There was one point he made that struck Robin so much that she made me back up so she could write it down. Ken said, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

This is particularly important for me at this stage in writing Rhune. I find that there are two moments of crisis in every book – one at about the 1/3 way mark and the second at the 2/3 mark.  Until the work is finished I don’t want to show it to anyone, not even Robin, as I have only one chance for that “initial reading.”  So I’m flying blind, not sure if I’m braving new ground…or if I’ve veered so far from my core competency is that I’m just messing everything up.

Rhune is very different from my other books.  It’s more complex…more “epic”…and the world it is based on isn’t a familiar one – not for me, or my readers.  Will this be a good thing?  I don’t know.  But I do feel as though I’m daring myself to be wrong and going outside my comfort zone.  What this means is one day I’m exceedingly excited about the book…and on another I’m afraid I’ve just wasted a bunch of time and the whole thing will need to be scrapped.  The verdict is still out, but if nothing else I’m trying something new and fail or succeed I’m still glad that I’m prepared to be wrong.

5 thoughts on “Remaining creative by preparing to be wrong

  1. This post hit very close to home. It’s both gratifying and discouraging to find someone having this same problem. I think it must be human nature to have these sort of doubts, but overcoming them is like slogging through quicksand. The good news is, there’s something really gratifying about looking backward after you’re wrong and knowing you came through it better- so at least there’s a silver lining!

    I highly recommend another TED video, the one about ‘Creative Confidence.’ There’s a lot of fascinating stuff in that one too. Then you can get back to writing, because your fans are getting quite curious to see what all of your concerns are about. ;D

  2. @Christina – thanks for the tip – I’ll definitely look up that TED Talk.

    @Noelle – my current schedule is:

    – Rhune – finish by end of September
    – Dhurg – finish by Thanksgiving
    – Fhrey – finish by April 2014

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