PLAY IS NOT JUST FOR KIDS. WE ALL NEED IT. TAKING THE TIME TO PLAY REFRESHES CREATIVITY, REPLENISHES ENERGY, AND CAN GIVE A BIG BOOST FOR YOUR WRITING CAREER.
Time for Recess: Supercharge Your Writing Career by Taking Time by PlayBy: Kel Amstutz
Monday, May 18, 2020
Ok... so... Let's begin with a little quiz...
Do you know who wrote this?
C'mon. This is for fun, after all...
Well... in 1922, a pioneer of surfing wrote this about the FUN and EXHILARATION of learning to surf. Or ride the waves as the surfers say!
I know you are probably wondering how in the world this is relevant... right? Well... the plot thickens.... This surfer was a pioneer of writing, too... becoming the BEST-SELLING novelist and playwright.... whose very books and characters are still loved today.
This writer also had a love for swimming, roller skating and dancing.
I will tell you exactly who this person is and HOW famous they are shortly. But, what is important now is this: This person was a prolific writer in part because... they knew how to PLAY.
How Does Taking Time to Play Help You As a Writer?
I know you are asking yourself this very question. You see, play has so many benefits for writers. For all, really. It's unfortunate that we tend to forget how important play really is, as we settle into the dreadful adulthood. As you continue reading, you will discover how each benefit of play supercharges your writer's life... with so many positive effects.
Creativity and Your "Triple F Factor"
I am a person who is really big on Creativity. I mean, creativity is VITAL for writers. It's like the BLOOD running through your veins.
Anxiously waiting and hoping creativity will just show up - when and if it feels like it - is NOT an option for you... as a Writer. You need it flowing constantly... ON DEMAND.
When you realize the importance of play and you finally action on it, you can boost THREE (3) Vital Elements that you need as a writer...
- Problem-Solving Skills
So, here is what happens to your writer's brain when you play... you have fun... you relax...
Free your Imagination
When you play, your mind feels free and safe. Your inner critics, your analytical mind, your routine and your logic all take a much needed break.
Your imagination wakes up, stretches and realizes that it has permission to fun wild and freely. It's not at all worried about doing something wrong, because there is no one to censor your thoughts or ideas.
Now, your mind finally has the opportunity to explore the unknown, imagine endless possibilities without any inhibitions and try new things. And it's perfectly safe, because it's okay to fail.
Fuel your Creativity
As your mind explores all of these new and exciting ideas, your creativity no longer hides behind a wall of fear and uncertainty. Guess what happens? Fresh ideas begin to tumble out.
Fix your Problems
The nerve pathways in your brain start to relax and you are able to gather insights and make connections that your analytical brain would never even begin to think of. Creative insights are easier to spot, and you can use them to solve complex problems or find innovative solutions in order to make your ideas work.
The effect of play on your mind is like this...
Think of a route that you drive daily... maybe it's going to work or taking the kids to school. Your focus is on getting to your destination in the quickest, easiest way. You know the route so well, it's as if you are on autopilot. You're practically asleep, charging down the course with blinkers on, and you don't even slow down or take note of what is what along the way.
A play break let's your busy mind slow down and change gears.
Now, instead of driving a pre-determined route, you find yourself in a beautiful forest where several paths meet. You can wander down any of the paths before you and discover what is there. Because these paths are all new, your senses are heightened... you're much more observant of your immediate surroundings, taking them in and making sense of what is around you. You can go down one path... then take a new path and discover even more, completely different surroundings.
This is imagination... it allows you to dream up new possibilities. From there you use your creativity and problem-solving skills to find new paths, new solutions, new methods.
Your success at work doesn't depend on the amount of time you work, but rather the quality of your work.
I know how tempting it is to think that the best way to cope with an ever-increasing work load is to work longer and harder. But, without recreational time, it's more likely that your work will suffer. You will deplete your creativity, become overwhelmed and exhausted, and eventually you will burn out.
Play and recreation help you produce better quality work and they give you a greater satisfaction and enjoyment of your job.
When your next project hits an obstacle, rather than working harder and becoming overwhelmed... or worse... stressed out... take a recess and have some light-hearted fun. You will replenish yourself and actually be able to tackle those problems with greater innovation and creativity.
Mind, Body and Emotions All Feel Better
Play helps you reap health benefits in all areas. You will feel mentally, emotionally and physically better for having spent time having fun.
One of the scary parts of being a freelance writer... or a Solopreneur is thinking about what happens if you get sick. When you are not working... work stops and so does your income.
Working long and hard without a break depletes your health on all fronts. Your perseverance wanes, joy fades, and everything becomes a struggle.
Play helps your health in these three (3) areas:
- Mentally : Play improves your brain function by helping you stay sharp and keep your memory and thinking skills fine-tuned. Play will supercharge your learning, fuel fun and joy and when you try new things, these two (2) ingredients become catalysts to help you absorb knowledge naturally and easily. Play relaxes and refreshes your mind.
- Emotionally: Play nurtures positive emotions as it relieves stress. Play helps to ward off depression and anxiety- especially when you make time for fun with family and friends.
- Physically: Play releases endorphins, or your body's feel-good hormones. Endorphins help you relax and promote a sense of well-being and vitality. Play increases your energy, boosts your immune system, and prevents burnout.
Play Enhances Human Connections
By sharing fun and playing with others it does more than just help you connect with them. It fosters understanding, empathy, and compassion.
These are POWERFUL TOOLS for writers. As a copywriter, you need to master the understanding of your prospect, so that you can get "inside their shoes," empathize with your prospect, and experience life and problems as they do.
When you do this, you write copy that speaks directly to your prospect, makes them feel like you understand them. and engages with them both mentally and emotionally.
Having a playful nature around others also helps you loosen up when put in stressful situations. So, the next time you are dreading that networking event, remember that a playful attitude will actually help you break the ice with strangers, make some new friends, and build new business relationships.
What Defines Play for Adults?Play is an important aspect of our lives, in both adolescents and adulthood. Play is something that we do for our own sake. We do it voluntarily for the pleasure of it and we get a sense of engagement back from playing. Play itself is so much more important than the outcomes we receive.
It boils down to the simple fact that the activity you are engaging in doesn't have to have a point, beyond having fun and enjoying yourself. You need to focus on the experience and not on the goal.
Play is all around us, all the time and comes in so many forms. The attitude you take with you can also determine how enjoyable and recreational the activity you participate in will be. You may be working, but you can choose to have a playful attitude. As you pay through your day, your playfulness will become contagious.
Simple put... Play is finding amusement, joy, and wonder in everyday life.
Words to live by, right!
So, are you ready to get serious about incorporating play into your schedule?
If you have been neglecting this necessary activity in your daily life, these eight (8) tips will get your PLAYING again...
- Change the way you think about play. - It's not careless and frivolous. It has so many positive benefits for not only your career but your daily life that it is essential to your well-being as a Person and a Writer.
- Set a goal to play more. - Goals aren't ONLY for the serious things in our lives. The benefits of play are so significant, it is just as important to set a goal to play more if you've been neglecting it in your life.
- Decide what FUN means to you. - Often, we get so caught up in adulting with all its commitments... and responsibilities that we forget what fun even is. If this is you, take some time and think about what you did as a kid that really excited you or gave you a good laugh. Use these clues to find out how to recreate those activities today. Play is a unique to you as your own personality, so there is not a "right answer" here. What is fun and recreational for me may be something that you absolutely hate. Because of this, the list of play activities is truly endless.
- Put it in your Schedule. - When you were at school, remember when breaks, lunch and recess were scheduled into your day. Remember when you could not wait for the bell to ring so you could race to the playground? Important activities like those meetings, deadlines and goals are put right into your schedule... so it's just as important to schedule time for play too. You can even use it as an incentive. Once you've completed a difficult task, you have the reward of looking forward to something fun just ahead. It will help you curb your procrastination. Plus, you will be ready to take on the next task with revived creativity and energy. That's a huge plus! So, set aside some time daily, weekly and monthly for play. Even short breaks give you great benefits. Longer breaks, like vacations (cause YES this is PLAY after all!), should have at least one (1) or two (2) weeks that are dedicated JUST to fun, playful activities.
- Have a play date with someone special. -I mean when we were kids, finding out our parents had organized a play date with our bestie was so exciting. There is absolutely no reason why you can't do the same thing now.. and share the magic of play with someone else.
- Spend time with a playful person. -Refuel your soul by being with a person with a playful attitude, or having a playful activity makes play even more enjoyable. It rubs off on you in most cases, too. It helps you relax, improves your mood and makes your much more positive.
- Play with kids. -I mean if we could bottle all that playfulness.... right? And energy. Coloring, racing case, building with legos... even building forts with blankets - kids are the masters of play. They will remind you how to have fun, give you a different perspective on the world and show you how to be present in these playful moments.
- Turn off your devices and step away from the screen. -Having a short break to play a game of solitaire or build your Fort Night world is find... but screen time should NOT make up the bulk of your play activities. As a writer, you spend a lot of time working on a device. To gain the real benefits of play and to rejuvenate yourself, it is better to enjoy activities where screens and tech are not involved.
It's truly an investment that you make in yourself and your writing business. Together, the benefits offer a substantial return on the investment.
The Mystery Revealed...So... who is our surfer and novelist who loved to play?
You didn't forget did you?
Known as the "Queen of Mystery," she wrote mystery and romance novels and plays.
She is one of the most famous and best-selling novelists of all time, and her works have sold over four billion copies. They have also been translated into more languages than any other individual writer.
Yes... author envy here.
Dame Agatha Christie. She was one of the first Britons to learn to surf and to do so standing up, which was one remarkable feat for Europeans at that time. And of course, she was one of the earliest surfing correspondents, also.
Your Turn...Now, I want you to take a moment... step away from your computer and GO OUT THERE AND PLAY!!!!
Come back and let me know what you did and how it helped you.
I am going to ride our Four-Wheeler and let the wind rip through my face and hair. (It's a bit cold in Ohio today though... but if nothing else... it will be refreshing!)