“Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.”
“All the things I really like to do are either illegal, immoral, or fattening.”
Here’s one of the many things I love about writing: It’s fun! Not always, not every day, but most of the time. I like to think of it as a form of play: The page is my sandbox, my pen is a shiny red shovel, and I dig around inside my head and gather piles of sand which eventually turn into a castle or a mountain or the Great Wall of China. Or whatever. You get the idea.
I know, I know. Today, you may be having it rough. Yesterday, words were your little darlin’s, today they’re little devils. What to do? What to do? When you’re having a tough time corralling your thoughts and lassoing your runaway verbs and nouns, often the best ploy isn’t panic, it’s play.
When I feel the yen to amuse my muse with a little lighthearted entertainment, here are a few tricks I’ve found that work well for me:
Using different type fonts: My miraculous Mac has loads of fonts to choose from. As a way of playing around when writing this blog, I run through all the font choices from A to Z. Right now, I’m writing this in “Futura Condensed.” It’s fun to see what happens to a post when the subject and the typeface I’m using seem at odds with each other — like two mismatched socks.
Using different colored inks: I love color! The more the merrier! A drawer just behind me has a small stack of turquoise ink cartridges. Just seeing bright, teal-blue ink flowing from my favorite fountain pen makes me smile. It’s easy to play around on the page when the words on them sparkle and pop.
Using colored index cards or paper: Right now, I’m staring at a ream of rainbow-colored paper: It has chunks of pink, yellow, blue, and purple pages. Sometimes when I’m in revision mode, I’ll print out my text on pink or purple or yellow paper. If I was more organized I suppose I’d match Revision 1 to Pink, Revision 2 to Yellow, and so on — but hey, I’m not that systematic. Still, printing out my text on colored paper makes marking it up more fun and it reminds me that writing is a seriously playful affair.
I could go on and tell you about all the toys I have in my tiny office: my Slinky, my top, my kaleidoscope, my Barbie Doll dressed in an Egyptian outfit, but I’ll stop here. Hopefully, I’ve made you smile. Any more playful ideas to toss in the sandbox? I’d love to hear them! Now, let’s all have fun and write on!