Adults make writing feel like work. We begin in elementary school, where the trauma of learning how to hold a pencil and form letters sends most of us home crying (or wait, maybe that was just me? LOL!). After we learn to write and read, we’re given awesome books. For me, those first stories felt like walking through a door and into a new, exciting universe where puppies could fly and little girls got to travel to other planets. Unfortunately, right after the fun of finishing the book, children are told to extract the “central idea.” Wha-?
I got bad grades in reading comprehension.
The hilarious thing was my comprehension was excellent. I just could not bear to distill an entire universe down into a few lines. The story was the ENTIRE STORY to me, not a theme or a moral to be put into an outline.
Adults are still making reading and writing into work. I’ll admit that writing IS work a lot of the time. It takes years to learn how to take stories out of your mind and put them into words that other people will not only understand, but devour. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to figure out how to draw a reader inside your imagination without throwing them immediately back out again with misspellings and terrible metaphors.
The thing is… none of that work has anything to do with the initial joy of writing, and how much it is basically playing with characters in a universe inside your head. For me, the playful heart of writing is the part where I’m in bed, staring at my ceiling, having a complete conversation with three different people somewhere on the moon or on a spaceship or in a city. Sometimes my imaginary friends argue. Sometimes they fall in love.
Sometimes the heroine kicks butt.
This is play.
It’s also good for you: Play Doesn’t End With Childhood. How cool is that?