Recently, our family made the long trek to Southern California to go to the beach and Disneyland. It is a long drive from Idaho, and has to be broken up in two days. With my youngest only being two, it is especially hard for her to have two longs days of traveling and only minimal stops. She does not like to watch movies, which is usually a good thing, but when one is stuck in the car for hours at a time, movies can be a life saver.
I knew the trip was going to be the hardest on her, so I tried to plan ahead. I brought different snacks, unusual snacks, and favorite snacks. I brought new toys, old toys, and favorite toys. I brought games, coloring, and crafts. But even with all this planning ahead, the car ride got hard. She was soon sick of the snacks, the toys, and the games. She was tired of sitting in the car. She was tired of her car seat. She was tired of the entire trip. What happened next, was no surprise.
She threw tantrum after tantrum.
I tried to be consoling. I tried to distract her. I tried to reason with her. Nothing worked. In fact, it was turning out to be a disaster of a trip. She was miserable, and the rest of us were miserable, too. (Who wants to listen to a screaming toddler for hours out of the day while stuck in a minivan?)
It was at that point that I had to get creative. I dug out her Rapunzel and Anna Barbie dolls, and started playing with them. This brought her screaming down a notch. Encouraged, I started playing some more. Her cries slowly turned to sniffles. I kept playing. On an on I played, until she was no longer upset.
Soon, she was in love with me playing with her dolls, and she wanted to join in. For the next hour or so, my daughter and I made up the silliest stories with her dolls. We laughed and had a lot of fun, and there were no more tears. In fact, for the rest of our trip, anytime she got frustrated or tired with the car, I brought out her dolls and started playing. It made our trip a huge success.
So why am I telling you all of this? It is because I learned something as a writer while playing dolls with my two-year old. I learned that being silly and having fun brings out my creative side. And the sillier I am, the more creative I am.
I think as adults, we often sensor ourselves, because we are well … adults. We think that silliness is for kids. But that is not true. We need to allow ourselves the freedom to be as silly and as goofy as we want. We need to allow ourselves to be creative and carefree. The best way to really be creative is to not restrict ourselves. We need to not worry about what others think when we are writing. We need to not be embarrassed by what we write. Not everything we write will be publishable. Not everything we write will be something we love. But the more we write, and the more we allow ourselves the freedom to be silly, then the better and more creative our writing will become.
So stop restricting yourself. Allow yourself to be silly. Get out those Barbie’s, and let the creativity flow.