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How to remain an artist once we grow up, part one

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up – Pablo Picasso

This quote by Picasso is touched upon in a delightful Ted Talk given in 2006 by Sir Ken Robinson who says our education system is designed to educate the creativity out of children.

When we’re children we’re curious and play without inhibitions. The world is our secret garden. Once we go to school and become educated, we worry about “making mistakes.” We worry about whether or not we have the “right answers.” This worry about being correct all the time kills our creativity and our spontaneity.

Robinson says, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

As writers and artists, we have to be willing to be wrong. We have to be willing to make mistakes for our creativity. I make mistakes everyday that I write. It’s part of the territory of being an artist. And I do notice that I have to fight against my “need to be right” each time I write. I have to let that part of my programming go or at least set it aside until I’m ready to edit my work.

How do you stay true to your artist-self? In my next post, I’ll discuss some of the ways I nurture the artist within.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sharon Espinosa #

    Fortunately for me, My education occurred in a different era. I believe as you do that creativity is stiffled. The classrooms encourage clones and anyone different is considered different and odd. My concerns is what is going to happent to the arts-the writers, the painters? Instead of encouraging thinking outside the box, teachers encourage for students to think inside the box. Thanks for letting me speak out. 🙂

    June 27, 2013
    • Thanks for sharing, Sharon. I love the example Sir Robinson gives of the little girl who couldn’t sit still in the classroom so they thought she had a learning disability when in reality she was born to be a dancer. The counselor her parents took her to discovered this and encouraged them to put her in a dance school. They did and she went on to become a world-famous dancer and choreographer: Gillian Lynne at

      June 27, 2013

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