“This makes for time spent not trying so much.”

– Scott Frank, screenwriter/novelist

A big smile spread through my body as I read those words this morning. “Exactly,” I thought. This is why I write, too!

Scott Frank was asked to offer a writing prompt for a 10-day New Year journaling project. He chose Play as his prompt topic. To him, writing is both his profession (he wrote the screenplay for The Queen’s Gambit, among others) and a form of play, “a process of happy digging and discovery without any purpose.”

Time spent not trying so much really struck me, for three reasons.

First, I completely related to his message. This is why I write every day. 

Second, he had distilled the message into a clear, relatable statement. That’s how I like to play with words, too. Say a lot with as few words as possible. (Guess how long I’ve played with this piece.)

Last, we can all use time spent not trying so muchThese days we can exhaust our energies navigating the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual roller coaster.  I know you can relate, right?

Here’s what he says about play (that I so related to);

“For me, writing is a form of play. A game I continue to try and fail to master. I refer to working out ideas as “playing in the sandbox.” A process of happy digging and discovery without any purpose. This makes for time spent not trying so much, which allows that little kid inside who comes up with all the good stuff to show up and show off. I’ve learned that the more pressure I put on that kid, the lousier the writer.” 


These days, how do you play? Where do you go, what do you do, when you want to stop trying? Go there. Do that.


Here’s his full writing prompt;

Imagine yourself in your childhood backyard, playground, schoolyard—wherever you would play. Write about that place. What toys or tools are you playing with? Are you alone? Is anyone there with you? If so, can you make them talk, but without thinking about it? Does something happen, say, inside the house, or across the yard, or up in the sky? Stop writing the minute it feels like work!” 

The photo above; my childhood playground. Lucky me.