The importance of play

I have a confession to make. I’ve never been much of a journaler, my creativity has always been bursty, and I have never in my life had anything resembling a daily writing habit.

But I really need one.

“Need” is the right word, too. I almost wrote “should,” but that isn’t quite correct. It’s 1:30 p.m., and I’ve accomplished next to nothing so far today. I’ve been procrastinating, surfing, organizing, cleaning… but not one thing that actually gets me closer to my goals. I have a whole bunch of things I “should” be doing, revisions and research. That’s not the problem. The problem is more that I’m in a sort of funk, and none of those “should” tasks appeal to me right now. This slump I’m in, I think is because I’ve lost contact with my creative self. I’ve let the inner editor have too much to do, too much to say lately. Yes, I’ve needed it for the revisions I’ve been working on, but it got too much practice, while my creative side withered.

I haven’t written anything brand new, aside from a few blog posts here, for almost six months. Blog posts are good, I guess. I get to create, write, practice–and it serves a useful purpose, too (I hope!). A nice win-win.

But, writing something for public consumption is not the same as freewriting, practice, PLAY. I’ve been reading HOW TO BE A WRITER by Barbara Baig  and the first thing she addresses is this need to free ourselves from expectation and play with writing, without fear of anyone else seeing the results. I’ve been seeing this advice show up in various snippets here and there from various wise people for the past few weeks. The universe is sending me signals, but I’ve been trying hard to overlook them to focus instead on the “should”s, the concrete to-do list, the goal-oriented approach to achieving my dreams.

I’m a logical person. I write nonfiction. I make lists. I set goals, and break them down, and work towards them. This is all good and useful… to a point.

But sometimes, the well runs dry. I need to rest. I need to read. I NEED to create. That, after all, is the end goal. So, it’s time to listen to the universe.

You, dear revisions, will just have to wait. I’m currently busy with much less important things.

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