I see it come up often about this approach or that being stifling to a writer's creativity. Most often it comes in response to the question of how much outlining or planning a novel should have. There's a part of me that's sympathetic in theory--it certainly fits with what preconceived notions I had before really trying to write. Now, though, I've written everything from completely on the fly to following a very detailed plan, and I think the claim is silly.
I'm not saying an outline is always the answer. I stand completely behind most of the stories that I've written without planning (just as I do behind those with). But there's nothing inherently stifling about that kind of planning. There are at least two reasons why. First, creativity can enter the planning stage just as well as it can while writing. Characters and events can surprise you at any stage of the process. And second, the outline (at least when I've used one) is never a rigid one. If something comes up as you write, nothing prevents you from changing the way the story goes because of that.
Now in some of the most recent conversations I've been in on, the argument gets couched in slightly different words--I would find it stifling, they say. It's hard to argue that. After all, there's a strong chance they would. But at the same time, the way it's worded I get the impression that they dismiss the idea out of hand without giving it any consideration at all. I'm a strong believer in trying new things, new ways, new approaches to writing and seeing what happens. Those stifled ones might find their work coming alive like never before if they planned. Or maybe they wouldn't...but they'd still learn something from the experience. Also, the wording seems to cast a judgment of disdain on the whole process of planning, as if those writers who do outline their work can't possibly meet, for one example, the character-centric kind of stories they prefer. A character can come alive and be just as dynamic regardless of how the writer approached the story. A poorly written character will remain poorly written whether the writer planned everything or let everything develop as it went.
So don't mind me while I detail the exact character arcs of my next story...or while I discover them as I write...or whatever other approach I decide to try next to continue to challenge myself.