A few weeks ago a huge ice-storm derailed my weekly writing goals. I’m sure many writers without school-aged children were thrilled to be home, strapped to their laptops and writing happily while icicles formed on the eaves.
I, on the other hand, spent some time playing Legos with my kids. And in the process I also learned some things about writing.
1. You have to create. My son makes the coolest vehicles and buildings with Legos. When asked how he comes up with his ideas, he said, “Oh, you know. I just think about what I want to make and then find the first pieces!” Sounds a lot like writing to me.
2. The building process can be tedious. Have you ever listened to kids playing with Legos? There are a lot of shuffling noises, occasional grunts of frustration, and even outbursts of anger when pieces don’t go together right. Sometimes the pieces get stuck together and it can really hurt the fingertips to get them unstuck.
In writing there are thousands (millions!) of word combinations in one chapter, just like there are many tiny Lego pieces in one Lego army vehicle complete with weapon gear. Sometimes the right words won’t go together and the wrong ones stay stuck. But we keep at it, because what good is an unfinished army vehicle?
3. There may be a “lightbulb” moment. Have you seen “Despicable Me?” Whenever the main character gets an idea he says “lightbulb!” in a characteristic way, which I won’t try to imitate here. Anyway, my kids love that movie. When we were playing Lego’s the other day, quiet mostly except for the clinking sound of the pieces, my son smiled and said (you guessed it) – “Lightbulb!” because he had a moment of inspiration for his Lego creation. Then he started digging in the Lego box for that perfect piece.
And isn’t that just like writing?