Creativity is a muscle.
Like any other muscle, our creativity can (and should) be developed. Yet, most people struggle to define creativity, much less describe how it works. We know creativity is a key skill for work and play, but because we don’t have solid ways to talk and think about it, we leave this essential skill up to chance.
Writerly Play: Your Creativity Training Plan
If we want to develop our creativity, we need a plan. And yet creativity is a headstrong, expansive, often elusive kind of thing. Creativity feeds on images, on metaphor, on story. That’s where Writerly Play comes in. Writerly Play is a story-based doorway into creative development. Like any story, it has structure AND room for exploration.
You’re Unique. You Need A Plan That Fits Your Style.
Creativity is as unique as a fingerprint. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the many creative challenges we each face. That’s why Writerly Play functions more like a map rather than a cookie-cutter plan. First, you’ll locate yourself on the map. Then, with a clear understanding of where you are, you can make informed choices about your next best steps.
Where Should You Start?
If you haven’t taken it already, I’d suggest that you start with the Creativity Style Quiz.
You may also enjoy these resources:
The Nuts and Bolts of Writerly Play
One on One Coaching for Creatives
Resources for Educators
A Little About Me
As an author, creativity strategist and coach, I’ve had the privilege of working with creative people of all ages. Here’s what I’ve learned: You’re never too old to play. That goes for me, too. You’d think I’d easily remember this truth, but I’m like nearly every artist I’ve met. Sometimes I let the work tsunami wash me out to sea. Adrift and overwhelmed, I lose my playful mindset. Whenever that happens, I remember my graduate advisor’s pointed question, “If you think play is so important to the creative process, why don’t YOU play?”
And so, I return to the basics, to the strategies and tools I’ve been practicing my entire life as an actress, a writer, a director. I start by saying yes, add and, and play my way from there. Every time I do, I ground myself in joy and possibility, and my work begins to crackle and spark.
Writerly Play is my personal quest to tap into the momentum and growth that I know is right there, within reach. It’s easy to forget how thin the line is between the mundane and magical. We can accomplish our creative work by clenching our fists and fighting our way through, or we can let go and leap.
In order to leap effectively, we need a flying contraption to take us from where we’re standing to what’s next. Or, put another way, we need tools and strategies to bridge between play and the page, to make play practical. That’s what the Writerly Play framework does. In classrooms, Writerly Play provides games, improvisational strategies and tools to teach thinking and writing skills. Outside of classrooms, Writerly Play supports people of all ages in their creative development.
I’ve used Writerly Play in my own creative process, writing books such as the From Sadie’s Sketchbook series for middle grade readers to activity books such as the award-winning Spilled Ink, a Writer’s Commonplace Book. I’ve also used the framework to navigate the exciting (and often, challenging) journey to found and lead Society of Young Inklings, an organization that helps youth writers get the big ideas in their heads and hearts out onto the page.
Honestly, I think I find the most fun in living out Writerly Play in the day-to-day: in running, playing guitar, sketching, exploring the outdoors, visiting museums, and learning, learning, learning.
As a life-long learner, I can’t help but take the opportunity to give a shout out to a few of my mentors. They include my theatre, writing and psychology professors at Seattle Pacific University, where I earned my BFA in Theatre Arts. From there, I honed my acting, storytelling, and improvisational skills through the American Conservatory Theatre’s summer program, and a priceless internship at Piven Theatre Workshop. Next, I worked with the talented faculty at Hamline University’s MFAC program, where I earned my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. All along the way, countless creatives, youth and adults, have shared their perspective and insight with me–they are truly the foundation on which Writerly Play, and my creative life, has been built.
Which brings me back to you, my new creative friend. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to get to know you. Let’s see what we can learn from one another, how we might challenge and urge one another onward, because life is a grand adventure … as long as we choose for it to be one.
I’m in. Are you?
Ready to Explore Further?
As you poke around, you’ll quickly discover that this is my creativity lab, my artistic playground, my cabinet of curiosities. Feel free to open intriguing doors and rummage through any drawer that catches your fancy. If you have any difficulty finding your way to what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll be back with you as soon as I can.