Summer brings a “break” from our ordinary routine and can provide a sense of refreshment and renewal. Many of us juggle multiple responsibilities, squeezing writing into the free corners of our lives. This means that when other people are taking time to relax, we are doing the wonderful but challenging work of crafting our next essay, blogpost, chapter, or scene.
All of us need time to play and relax. Especially as writers, we need to nurture a playful attitude, because it’s often in playfulness that we let down our defenses, come up with our best ideas, re-discover what is most important to us and why it is most important to us.
I recently saw the film Rise of the Guardians. I could say a lot of great things about such a wholesome family film (even though the film presents only superficial meanings for Christmas and Easter, clues are offered for Easter–which could lead to great discussions about why Easter is about new life). Despite its limitations, Rise of the Guardians is not only an entertaining family movie, it was the perfect film for me to see as I start my summer. (Spoiler ahead.)
The “Boogey Man” is about to take over the world with nightmares and fear. As the Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Tooth Fairy struggle to confront him, the real antidote to fear comes from an unexpected source: Jack Frost. What does Jack bring that can withstand fear?
A spirit of fun and playfulness.
When we are playful, we do not have room for fear, anger, doubt, or sadness. A spirit of playfulness is akin to creativity: it allows us to see possibilities, to let go of the constraints that usually shape our thoughts and attitudes, to dabble, to do something “just for fun.”
A spirit of playfulness is a childlike attitude. In the Scriptures, I think not only of Jesus blessing the children (who were probably running around playing as He preached), but I also think of David dancing before the Lord. Innocence, joy, playfulness—these go hand-in-hand with an attitude of trust in the goodness of God and the goodness of God’s creation.
Writing is often exciting, fulfilling, and meaningful, but it’s not always relaxing. This summer, I hope all of us can pick something small we can do to foster the gift of writing. For me, nurturing a playful attitude is a gift I plan to give to my writing life.