Have You Played Today? Why You Should Maintain a Sense of Play in Your Writing

When did you last play while writing? It’s good for you …

Like most writers, I too experience the bust after the boom when for a myriad of reasons – often life getting in the way – the writing doesn’t come, the manuscript isn’t working, and you’re not writing, the end result making you feel stunted and not yourself.

This got me thinking about the value of play, which may both be especially important to writers, something we truly can’t write without. As writers and artists, there is something

From acobox.com, Children playing at creek, by Laubenstein, Ronald source FWS license Public Domain

inside us that depends on us maintaining a closer connection to a child-like creativity and imagination, which is how we can create and imagine new worlds, new people, and bring them all to life for others.

If we maintain the idea of being a child at play – or in this case a writer at play – it allows us to more versatile, it lets ideas flow. When you brainstorm, you don’t close yourself to new ideas, even if it’s not something you’ve tried before, or perhaps a direction you hadn’t really wanted to go. But if we allow ourselves to freedom to “play” with the idea and thoughts, play catch with our muse, if you will, there’s no telling where we’ll go.

This has the added benefit of not only letting the writing flow, but also keeping at bay the darkness and depression which can dog us when we worry about too many rejections, not enough success. It can stop us from questioning our skill, perhaps the very decision to choose art as a profession in the first place. Instead, avoid all that. Be the child.

“Because the child at play is not worrying about his or her future, and because the child at play suffers no real-world consequence for failing–that is, because of play’s triviality–the child at play does not fear failing.” — By Peter Gray, From The Value of Play

But of course, writing is also our work, which means sometimes it’s hard, sometimes we get bogged down in the work. Marketing and queries, word counts, time spent at the desk, production quality and quantities. However, it doesn’t mean we can forget play.

“Work is where we spend much of our time. That is why it is especially important for us to play during work. Without some recreation, our work suffers. Success at work doesn’t depend on the amount of time you work. It depends upon the quality of your work. And the quality of your work is highly-dependant on your well-being.” –From HelpGuide.org

So whether you play with a style, a genre, an idea, or something else, play, and watch the fruits of play make your writing stronger, deeper, and you a happier writer.

Some interesting links to remind you to play:

Importance of Play in Child Development

http://www.child-development-guide.com/importance-of-play.html

The Value of Play

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200901/the-value-play-iv-play-is-nature-s-way-teaching-us-new-skills

Play, Creativity and Learning: Why Play Matters for Kids and Adults http://www.helpguide.org/life/creative_play_fun_games.htm

Have you played today in your writing and life? How? Have you noticed a difference in your work and you when you allow yourself to play? Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Author: S.C. Chalmers

Shelly Chalmers writes paranormal romances which run the gamut from Regency paranormal to space opera, always with a touch of humor. Find her at scchalmers.com