Thursday, January 24, 2008

Creativity Exercise: Stop Apologizing

Today's exercise comes to you from poet Douglas Goetsch, who taught the workshops I took at the 2007 Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

  1. Take out a clean sheet of paper.
  2. Write: It's fairly new, but it smacks of genius.
  3. When you're tempted to apologize for anything you've created -- whether it's a new dessert, a photograph or a financial analysis -- read the sentence. Out loud. That's the only excuse you're allowed to make.

Absolute truth: At the workshop, when Doug would stop people from making excuses, and have them say this line instead, they went on to read their poems with more confidence. The rest of us laughed at the line, but we listened for the part that "smacked of genius." And, since we were listening for it, we heard it.

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