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The brain can keep developing long after we leave adolescence and play promotes that growth. We are designed to be lifelong players, built to benefit from play at any age. The human animal is shaped by evolution to be the most flexible of all animals: as we play, we continue to change and adapt into old age.       -Stuart Brown, M.D. with Christopher Vaughan in “play, How it shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul”

We wake up earlier to do early morning writing. We journal. We write haiku, sonnets, haibun. We blog and participate in blog challenges. We work on our drafts. We work hard to improve our writing. The time comes when it’s time to stop taking writing so seriously…

Now it’s time to play!

Crazy wisdom means abandoning preconceived notions, seeing through surfaces, and moving beyond ordinary reason. It is wisdom built of multiple perspectives,  irreverence, paradox, and a love of the absurd.   -Jill Jepson in “Writing as a Sacred Path” 


Jill Jepson says analogies are a fundamental aspect of being a human. She encourages writers to think out of the box by crafting analogies from dissimilar things, so that we can experience seeing unusual and unexpected connections. How to do this?  Pick words by allowing the pages of a book to open randomly. Choose a couple of nouns or verbs from different pages, then pair off the words. After that, write statements comparing the two words.

My take: critic, stomach.
A critic is like the stomach.
They both growl when they don’t like something.
They both complain often.
They can both be very irritable.

Another fun exercise from Jepson: Try your hand at synaesthesia.

Synaesthesia refers to mixing or confusing different senses. Some people do it naturally – they automatically see different colors when they hear musical tones or envision days of the week as being certain shapes. But even if you aren’t someone who perceives the key of D as blue and Thursday as a square, you can employ synaesthesia. .. By pushing ourselves a bit further and using more unusual forms of synaestheia, we can begin to fashion our own unique perspectives and help ourselves break out of preconceived notions.    -Jill Jepson


Let’s do some synaesthesia exercises (examples are from Jill Jepson’s book):

Try to describe visual objects as sounds: a raucous wall, a lilting cup of coffee, the sun setting in the key of B flat, a chair with an Italian accent.

Paint smells and tastes with color: The purple aroma of boiled turnips; The scarlet taste of red onion

Give form and texture to sounds: Her hard and square voice; His squishy piece on the untuned piano.


Writing discovers your own life. Don’t box it. Don’t expect it or force it to be this or that. The way most of us approach writing, we’re stuck in the detention room….But when we give ourselves permission to play with our writing, the subconscious is liberated and it makes patterns outside of the analyzing mind, outside of the Self-Other mind.      -Andy Couturier in “Writing Open the Mind”


Write out of the box…Make a list of words: ordinary words; strange names from different languages; sounds you hear; make up your own words. Read the words, feel the sound in your mouth as you pronounce them one by one. Now use words as though they were different colored – and shaped beads and string them randomly.

Here’s what I wrote in 2006 (rereading this made me smile): The lovascious prayer warrior went to onkatu to beebeebooboo. One jacuzzi will allow scledoodedoo bikini and jerouski. The make-up looked noble but jibalatu wasn’t so bibilibinokoku. In the lobby the loquascious ignominous jubana katabalaku was amiable and at the same time jarring but jerouski ate bibingka with the notary during the eve of Jalistu.


Your turn!


  1. Writing is a serious business for me. I forget to play; and, that is what I experienced when I began writing years ago. Your advise about play reminds me of what I need to do. Thank you for writing this post.


  2. Reblogged this on WORDWISE and commented:
    We came across this wonderful advice and approach to creative writing about being playful from ‘Writing on the Pages of Life’ blog…


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