Joseph Chilton Pearce on Being Wrong
When our child trips and skins their knees on the playground, we comfort them and kiss them and put on a bandaid. When they are old enough, we might teach them to clean their cuts and bandage themselves. However, we do not teach them to never explore the playground again.
When our child pronounces a word wrong while reading aloud for the first or second or hundredth time, we smile and correct them and teach them the correct sounds. We might remind them that even adults get words wrong sometimes, because there are countless words out there arranged in countless iterations, and we all make mistakes. Creative writing is the same.
Whether it is the first draft or the third draft, chances are that a piece of writing contains mistakes. It could be anything from a simple spelling error to a glaring plot hole. A look at The New York Times’ Corrections section reveals that even the most esteemed organizations have things fall through the cracks sometimes. Nevertheless, the fear of making a mistake or being wrong should never stand in the way of our creative pursuits. And what’s more, we—adults or children, seasoned journalists or budding writers—need never be afraid of admitting our mistakes, because that is how we can learn from and move past them.
Joseph Chilton Pearce—an American author with several books on human development and child development—is best known for works such as The Crack in the Cosmic Egg and Magical Child. He believed that active, imaginative play is the most important of all childhood activities, as it cultivates mastery of one's environment. At ECP, we have often maintained that writing could be as fun as it is educational. This way, writing becomes one of the many tools in a child or young adult’s arsenal to engage with their environments actively and creatively. And no matter if it is a fantasy built entirely from their imagination, or a story grounded in their daily lives, our young writers should be encouraged to write without the fear of being wrong, especially as we are here to catch them if they do. That is how they might live creatively as well.