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Play Before You Work

I heard Dr. Gordon Neufeld talk about the importance of play in childhood development. He said the difference between work and play is simple:

Work is about enjoying the end result.
Play is about enjoying the activity itself.

When an artist plays with an idea, he looks at it from every angle, not to get it done, but from sheer enjoyment. He explores all of its possibilities like a child playing in a sandbox. And through play, the artist develops her idea into something masterful.

When an artist merely works on an idea, she stifles the creative process in a rush to the finish line.

The artists responsibility is to take play very seriously.

I have played with an idea in my mind for the last 5 years. It is a short film –sweet, touching, funny– awkward boy meets beautiful girl… I have watched this movie in my mind’s eye about a hundred times. And now I feel ready to work!

You have to eat a mango when it’s ripe. A day too early and the meat is tough. A day too late and its all mushy. It’s like that with ideas too. If you try to make it happen too fast, it doesn’t have a chance to ripen. If you play with an idea for too long, it goes rotten.

Do you have an idea kicking around in your head? My advice to you is play, play play… and then work, work work!

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