Create a Form or Game
One of InterPlay’s greatest strengths is the simplicity of the physical practices. In InterPlay, we call them “forms” because they are guidelines that shape the practice and give it structure. In practice, these forms are similar to what improvisers in the tradition of Second City, TheatreSports, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and other comedy improv groups call “games.” The forms offer a structure that allows freedom within limits. In InterPlay, the forms range from what can be accomplished with one hand or one breath to forms that require groups of people using their full bodies and voices in operatic storytelling. In comedy improv, the games often have rules like each player can only say three words at a time. From simple to complex and sometimes off into the bizarre, these rules provide a structure.
I rebel against structure all the time, but the truth is, I need it. And I never need it more than when many projects are demanding attention. But, it doesn’t have to be rigid or forced. Today, for instance is a writing day. I am only working on writing. I have several projects that require writing, so I may bounce back and forth among them or put in a few hours on each project or devote all day to one project. But, I am not working on website design, room scheduling, arranging insurance, or making phone calls. Yesterday was a day for my creativity coaching projects. Tomorrow I will focus on making Christmas gifts. It’s not a lot of structure, but it works for me. Within the day, I improvise exactly how the day will go, but within the container I have set for the day.
There is a resource that I keep meaning to investigate about form and schedule. Jeffrey Davis over at Tracking Wonder describes his new eHandbook, The Mind Rooms Guide as a method for shaping time. He asked me to review the book as part of its launch, but it arrived on my desk at a very bad time and I have done nothing more than glance at – sorry, Jeffrey. But, I know Jeffrey’s work on helping creatives from his blog and I am looking forward to digging into it eventually. If you have already read it, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments.
Just a quick note to let you know how things will change around here for the next month or so.
Now that we are in November and my brain is preparing for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I want to maintain the Friday posts on more general topics. I also want to write about NaNoWriMo.
And so, I will do both: regular Friday posts and more random NaNoWriMo reflections.
I will be leading my kids through participation in the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program for the first time this year, so I expect to have a new perspective on the endeavour.