Permission to Play Hard in the Writing Process by Dia Calhoun. June Theme

Every writer must give herself permission to play—creatively. Many  of us don’t, because play isn’t necessarily directed toward a specific outcome—producing something. The writing process involves chaos and uncertainty. Those can be uncomfortable emotions to hold. “I’m not getting anywhere,” you might say to yourself. The error in thinking is that you always need to be “getting somewhere.”

Play doesn’t get you anywhere. Play is about trying things—that’s what kids do. Pretend you’re a pirate, an elf, a monster. Let’s play that we’re on a ship, on a desert island, on an alien spacecraft. Play frees you. Approaching writing as play, not only makes it easier to experiment, it also removes anxiety. There’s no risk. So the weight of uncertainty and chaos lifts.

So when you write, tell yourself, I’m going to play with this idea for an hour. I’m going to play with this paragraph. I’m going to play with this idea for a story. And see what happens.


  1. This is great advice, Dia. All writers, young and not-so-young-anymore need time to play with words, stories, and ideas just for the heck of it.


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