Challenge,  On Writing

Creative Voice Having Fun

Watching Two-Year-Old-Kids

Kris and I always talk about the creative voice being a very, very smart two-year-old kid that knows a ton more about writing than your front critical voice will ever learn. Problem is the front voice doesn’t allow the creative voice to play, set it loose. Lots of reasons for that.

So tonight, while I was over at Resorts World Casino, walking, I got to witness twice the creative voice at play in real-world dramatic fashion.

(And yes, my 5-mile-per-day streak is still going and at 8 days now. Some running. But tonight, because of the heat, I just went to the mega resort of Resorts World and walked.)

There is a massive mall at Resorts World with a ton of high-end stores and a bunch of restaurants of all kinds. It was a Monday evening and the place was mostly empty. There was a ton of open mall area, since this mall is about fifty paces across.

So just after I got there, I heard this fun scream and headed past me was this two-year-old girl, just laughing and screaming and running, waving her hands in the air and just having a blast.

I laughed with the laughing mom who was attempting to stay close. But mom was clearly not worried, because there was nothing the kid could get hurt on. So the kid was playing and running and burning a ton of energy.

Just to be clear here…

Kid, the creative voice. Mom the critical voice, at that moment just letting the kid run.

I’ll tell you, watching them just made me smile for the next half mile.

Then, as I was about to get finished, coming in from the side of the big mall was another two-year-old, this one a little boy. He was laughing and very intent on making it to a decorative elephant sitting to one side of the mall. Again nothing to hurt him, and he went by me in a flash.

The mom on this kid was walking slower, not really worrying at all.

I said to her, “Wow, is he having fun.”

She said, “This open spaces is wonderful to tire him out.”

I said, “I bet you get your steps in on most days.”

She laughed. “Gave up on my Fitbit because I didn’t want to know how many miles I was doing.”

At that moment, the kid petted the big elephant on its trunk. It was made of stone, but the kid petted it like it was a puppy, then at full run he headed for the next elephant in the display. Mom just shook her head and went after him.

Kid, the creative voice. Mom the critical voice, at that moment just letting the kid run.

So next time you sit down at your writing computer, just let the creative voice run and play and pet the stone elephants. You might be surprised at how much fun you have writing and how good what you write turns out to be (if you leave it alone.)



  • Linda Maye Adams

    This had me smiling. I went to the Virginia Safari this summer. It’s a drive-through zoo where you can feed the animals and a regular walking zoo. More feeding of animals. The first time a llama stuck its head inside my car to get at the food, I was laughing. It was so much fun! My creative voice was so happy.

  • Harvey Stanbrouigh

    A pair of great analogies, Dean, and incredible that you would post this today. It goes very well with my own post over at the Journal today ( And I stole the final paragraph of your post as one of my Quotes of the Day too.

    I also like the quote of the second mom: “Gave up on my Fitbit because I didn’t want to know how many miles I was doing.” I understand what she meant, but it almost sounds like she’d rather just enjoy the walk than keep track of it and fret over it (critical voice).

  • Kate Pavelle

    Huh. So the Critical Voice doesn’t always have to be an overbearing jackass? (That’s not how it worked when I was a kid – but just realizing that is already opening windows.) Thanks, Dean! That was a really good story.

  • Linda Niehoff

    I. love. this. It’s taken me a while to realize it but doing a story a week has helped me see a new kind of critical voice: don’t go too far or you won’t get a story done! You’ll write *too much* and won’t finish and then lose your streak! (Which I still have going after finishing the challenge). I find myself almost stopping (or at least stopping certain ideas if they get going and feel too long to finish in a week) – which is sad! So this really spoke to me. Just run and play and pet the stone elephants. The open space is wonderful. I love it.

  • Philip

    Reminds me, I’ve gotten more story ideas from playing with my kids than anything else. When you play Army Men on the carpet, you’re forced to develop a character in a setting with a problem–it’s not an option to tell your 8-year-old, “I’ll play with you next week, I need to outline all the beats first!” LOL. “Did you have fun playing, son? Great, let’s see what our 6 beta players think!”

    • topaz

      Mine always come up with something they want in the story. It’s unpredictable.
      And they want me to tell a story now. Not next week or next year.
      Add to this their ideas about how the story should turn this or that way while I tell it. I’ve just given up on planning, just telling a story and taking turns when the children add their ideas
      Those are great fun.