My daughter loves tea parties. She throws one at most play dates and even has her own tea set. I’ve learned from experience, however, that it’s best to serve tea either outside on a quilt or, if inside, within the confines of a large steep-sided tray. Why, you wonder? Well, when my darling daughter and her dear little friends pour their tea, it inevitably overflows, cascading over cups, filling saucers, soaking napkins, spoons, even cookies and fruit.
I don’t like messes, but I squelch my urge to intervene because I know they love these tea parties just as much as I loved them when I was a girl. Okay, I confess, I substitute water for tea because it’s not sticky and it won’t stain, but I let them pour to their little hearts’ content.
Like tea, poems and stories sometimes pour out of me as well. This outpouring usually occurs at the most inconvenient times -when I’m cooking, or in the middle of the night. But when it does, I grab the nearest paper and pen so I can catch every word and phrase. I don’t worry about getting words down perfectly or using complete sentences. I just write down the idea that’s pouring out as fast as I can. I erase nothing!
It hasn’t always been this way, however. When I first started writing for children, my critical inner voice often interfered. Indeed, it has taken years of conscious self-training not to let my inner editor hijack early-stage writing projects. Letting go of the inner editor during these bursts of creativity is well worth it because it’s much easier to revise and flip and develop a story when you start with a full cup – or tray- of tea.
What about you? Are you sometimes a teapot of creativity, or do ideas come to you in other ways? And what do you do to squelch that inner editor?