In Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling rule #12 is, “Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th -get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself!”
This rule made me think about how writing and other creative endeavors is largely about decision making. Writers, marketers, artists, actors, architects, engineers, leaders, coaches, etc. are constantly in positions to make decisions. Great arts education (writing included) is one way to help students learn to work through and make decisions. Great arts education helps students to explore possibility.
As educators, we have to be careful that we don’t always take the decision making away from our students. Yes, it can be helpful for us to give our students a solution when they are stuck, but it also has to be clear to them (and to ourselves) that our solution is simply an option.
Every successful artist, every successful creator, is constantly exploring possibility and making decisions about multiple paths forward. Let’s make sure our students are aware that multiple paths exist. Let’s give them practice choosing. Seeing possibilities, exploring possibility, and making decisions are some of the greatest skills we can help our students engage with. Let’s decide to give them opportunities to decide.