Be Childish!


This is what I know. When we think too much about something it becomes overbaked. Mushy. Charred. Over thinking contaminates the dress-up box that is our right brain. Over thinking can apply the brakes to our creativity with an ear piercing screech.

Writing can be taught but it doesn’t sing until it is FELT.

Thinking too much dislocates us from the creative surge and veers us away from running through the sprinklers on the page.

Have you ever watched a child lost in the zone of imaginative play? The kind of play where tables have names and ears and claws, and pillows are robots and princesses and trolls? The kind of play where a butterfly has tea with a tiny plastic puppy, before joining forces to climb a mountain of marshmallows and sliced peaches, so together they can conquer the cloud rats?

The kind of play we are conditioned to avoid as adults for fear of looking silly, or weird, or childish – a word that we have sadly hijacked and turned into an insult.

“Don’t be so childish…”

I herby declare that being described as childish should be re-imagined as a compliment of the highest order.

Children are straight talkers. Straight feelers. Wild players. Children are excellent role models for occupying the moment. Dancing in the moment. Expanding the moment. Eating up an ordinary moment because it suddenly appears delicious.

In my writing workshops I give grown-ups the permission to play. I offer opportunities and I sit back and marvel at the energy shift in the room. Laughter erupts. Inner critics are squashed like rubber whoopee cushions flattened by the collective butts of creative freedom.

Voices, previously hushed and cautious, are discovered and released. Translucent word bubbles float from pen to pen, heart to heart, wand to wand. Truths told. Hurts heard and healed.

When we stop thinking about writing and start feeling, we allow our words to channel the essence of the child within. Unfiltered. Messy. Pure.

So “Be childish!” Press pause on your think button. Run through the sprinklers in the park and on the page! Climb the marshmallow mountain!

I’ll be at the top, eating peaches, ready to welcome you….


Be childish now. Write without thinking. Make up a crazy poem or character or a stream of irresistible nonsense. Turn down your adult.


Write about running through sprinklers – experiment with different points of view – first person and third person. Be playful with your adjectives. Bring us into the moment with you…


One Response to “Be Childish!”

  1. Kim O'Hara
    May 4, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    The splendid transparency of the sheer stocking.
    Nibbles of oodles of globs.
    Fortune cookies that open in animated reverse baking and stick out their prophecies with paper charred tongues.
    Sprinkles from cupcakes throw themselves wildly onto naked donuts.
    Trees that sway in the breeze unroot and march down the streets forcing cars to drive on sidewalks or simply stop and marvel.
    The world opens its mouth, a big maw and eats us all and chews us up and when it spits us out we are the plants and the flowers and the birds we once saw with callous disregard.
    Our children are in charge.
    “You do what I say now,” they bellow and force us on our knees to play puppy or doggy or cheetah till we are more exhausted and stripped down and elated than we ever knew, even in our own childhoods.
    The clouds have parted and the sun is breaking through and its time to grab lemons off the tree and sell them in the form of lemonade slaved over to be put in Dixie cups and sold for a quarter. Thank God something can still be bought for a quarter.
    The brevity of that single moment, the snapping of the lemon off the tree is gone so fast, just like yesterday our children were a little younger… and so were we.

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