I play with my best friend's daughter every day. Hailey, almost two, loves to color. But she doesn't have the dexterity to color inside the lines. Does she care? Well, no. To Hailey it's all about the fun, the discovery of new colors...how they look, how they blend together, even how they taste sometimes that intrigue her and inspire her to keep coloring.
Beginner writers are a bit like Hailey. They are on the path to discovering the writing voice within them and sometimes they don't even know WHERE the lines are, much less how to stay inside them. Yet they still are driven to color.
As Hailey gets older, she will learn the rules of perfect coloring. Her skills will improve, she will listen to others that say "Don't color outside the lines". and she might even forget that coloring however she may want isn't necessarily a bad thing.
New writers are sometimes boxed in by rules of conformity. There is so much great information out there on how to become a strong writer, but if one is not careful, a writer could color themselves into a box of such strict rules that all their creativity is lost.
How about, for today at least, writers are allowed to think outside the box? Let's allow our "inner child" to color however they wish. Let the ideas flow without restrictions and see where they may lead us. Or if we decide, maybe no colors are needed at all.
I went on my weekly school visits yesterday. After reading to the children, I found myself outside one classroom and standing in front of a display board featuring Shel Silverstein's book The Giving Tree. Since this is one of my all time favorite books, of course I was intrigued. The teacher had put up two copies of the book...one in black and white while the other's pages were colored. She asked her second grade class to write an essay explaining if the book was better in color. One child simply wrote that the book didn't need color to be a good book. Smart kid.
Writers should listen to those words of wisdom and apply it to their own writing. We don't have to stay within the lines all the time. Allow your mind to have the freedom to soar, get messy with your writing colors, and just imagine the wonders you can create!