Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Playful, Creative Writer

So, when's the last time you went out and played like a kid?  Not too long I hope.  And I mean really get out there and play.  Involve all the senses and have a heckuva good time.  Life isn't all that serious you know.  Yes, lots of serious things can happen, but people need to play.  Let go of that deep, dark serious demeanor and have some fun.

Play is good for everything about us.  It's good for our heath, good for our brains, it helps unite brain and body and even creates social connections.  Wow, what isn't it good for?  Not a thing I can think of.

A lot of things you can do to play involves some sort of exercise which gets the body moving and cranking, very good for you to begin with.  And, while it's doing that it's a major stress reliever.  Playing gets all those chemicals pumping in your brain and throughout your body, and they're the feel-good ones. So who can be tense and serious when you've got all that happy-go-lucky stuff flooding your body?  And the great thing about it is, exercise is great, get a friend, play basketball, badminton or take a long walk with great conversation, even just get up off your butt and dance when you hear some music you like, but any kind of play is terrific too.  Get friends together and play a dumb game you remember from childhood, huddle around a board game, play with clay or silly putty, even really actually use that WI console you bought.

I'm no expert, but I've read play lights up the right side of your brain like a neon sign and creates a state of hyper-creativity that gives us a whole new slant on the world.  And I believe it.  Creativity and Play go hand in hand.  And in this wonderful state everything seems better, easier, problems that seemed overwhelming before appear suddenly trivial and as a result we're ready to take on the world once again!  In the midst of play you may even come up with the ending of that novel you're working on.

And despite your possible thoughts of  'play is just for kids, think again.  Play not only unites body and mind, it creates social bonds.  And that doesn't change just because we're no longer kids.  Ever notice how two people at odds might find a way to bond at a company picnic and basketball challenge?  This is social behavior that goes back to our earliest days.  People huddled over a game board chatting and laughing.  Socialization.  Fun.  If you have about 30 minutes you might check out this video on creativity and play, Tim Brown  makes excellent points.

I frequently recommend hobbies for writers, but play is just as important.  Come on, when's the last time you had a really rollicking good time?  When's the last time you just got up and danced or made faces at yourself in a mirror?  When was your last trip to the zoo or when you played 'blood sport' badminton with your friends?  When's the last time you went to Disneyland without the kids?  Budget won't stand that?  Then get yourself a blob of silly putty and go from there.  Or just get together with a bunch of friends with paper and pencil and follow Tim's suggestion doing thirty second portraits of each other.

This guy's having a great time, shouldn't you be joining him?  Release, relax and unwind.  Play like a kid and kick your creativity into overdrive.


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