The concept of the ‘creative’ in creative writing has a vexed history. This article explores the myths surrounding creativity and how they have influenced the way teachers have approached playwriting pedagogy. It reports on research into the teaching and learning experiences of students and teachers in secondary schools, focusing on the participants’ understanding of creativity and the impact this had on the pedagogical process. The research found that a counterproductive idealist view of creativity persists in classrooms: the teachers and students were operating on a conception of creativity and creative practice that reflected a belief in a mystical and unknowable creative process. This article explores the experiences of creativity through systems theory and argues that this approach can inform teaching and learning for creative processes and products. The article concludes that the teaching and learning practices were unnecessarily tentative and that knowledge of creativity theory would improve the students’ development of both playwriting proficiency as well as creativity-relevant skills. It suggests that demystifying the creative process should result in greater student proficiency and improved teaching and learning experiences for teachers and students.