It was my first time, and I was so nervous.
Why? Because children can be brutally honest. Unlike adults, they haven't had time to develop a filter to which they feed their opinions before spewing them out (though these days, a lot of adults have forgotten their filters, but I digress). I was worried the children would be bored or rude or want to be anywhere but in a library--on a Saturday afternoon no less.
But I was wrong.
As I approached a long conference table, I was met with a full house of children with wide eyes, stacks of paper, and pencils and pens at the ready.
After I introduced myself, I went around the table and had the children introduce themselves. Many talked about why they loved writing. Some of them even wanted to be writers.
We talked about their favorite stories, favorite characters. We talked about setting, plot, conflict, and other storytelling elements, and I found them eager to learn the components.
Toward the end of the presentation, I had the children write their own stories. I gave them a character, a setting, and a conflict, and off they went, scribbling furiously upon the paper.
I couldn’t help but to smile as they wrote. I watched as some looked toward the ceiling, thinking hard. Some had their foreheads nearly touching the paper they wrote upon. Others showed their writing to neighbors and giggled.
There was a joy there. It was as if they were using their entire beings to create the stories they wrote.
In spending that afternoon with these young, budding writers, I learned several things, but two have stuck very close to me as a writer:
- Use all of your IMAGINATION—there are no limits.
- Even if writing is “work,” integrate PLAY into the process.
Images by Sicha Pongjivanich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Often as writers, we can become complacent, find ourselves in a rut and not know how to pull ourselves out. We might be afraid to try something different, like a new genre, or a new form. These children jumped into writing as a form of play, and in doing so, it activated all of their senses. Did some of the stories not make sense? Oh, most definitely. As I had each child read his/her story, we all spent a good deal of time laughing at the unlikelihood of some of the story events even happening. But the absurdity of the story didn’t stop the children from writing. They stayed on the page. They wrote until I called time's up.
Even with deadlines and writer’s block, and agents and editors on our heels asking for new material, we should remember to be playful, to be unencumbered with our words as we spin tales. Let that joy and exuberance and imagination feed the desire to write… and to keep on writing.
Do you add PLAY and IMAGINATION to your writing process? If so, how?
|Creative Passionista Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.|