I love Lego. As a child I was on top of my Lego game. I regarded myself as a Lego freestyler which means I would rock up at a box of random Lego bricks and build whatever came to mind. My Lego houses excited and thrilled the little plastic people who inhabited them.
Even now, as an adult, I still dream of being presented with a box of bricks, a cup of tea, a quiet room and the promise of being left alone, so I can spend a good hour getting creative with Lego.
There’s something magical about an assortment of colourful little Lego bricks and the endless creative possibilities that they offer.
Earlier this week, whilst avoiding my writing (sipping coffee and staring out of a window), I came up with the idea of noting down all the similarities between writing and getting creative with Lego.
Here are the similarities:
- Lego and writing both involve you creating something amazing from very little; a box of bricks or a head full of story ideas.
- With Lego you start with chaos; a box of random bricks tipped out onto the carpet, no clear idea of what you are going to build, your OCD kicking in at the sight of the mess and some unrealistic expectations about what you can actually physically build. With writing you also start with chaos; strange voices in your head, a few plot snippets, no clear idea of what you are going to write about and some unrealistic expectations about a first draft.
- With Lego you will find yourself comparing your construction to the attempts of others. Certain situations might result in you giving out a cold stare across the bricks, to the poor soul who has built something, which you deem to be more impressive than your own Lego creation. The cold stare will be followed by a harsh critique of their lego skills, some muttering and in a few rare cases the firing of a missile lego brick. With writing you will compare your literary projects to the attempts of others. Certain situations might result in you glaring at a successful author’s polished novel on your Kindle. This will be followed by some muttering, a lengthy email to a writer friend and a period of uncontrollable weeping.
- Whatever you build with Lego can be changed and improved. Whatever you write can be changed and improved.
- Your Lego house never quite looks like the image in your head. No matter many how times you turn it around, hold it up to the light or stare at it from different angles, it never resembles the luxury beach house picture you had in your mind. The same goes for writing, no matter how many times you read your draft novel it never sounds like the bestseller in your head.
- You can get emotionally attached to your Lego house, which took you all afternoon to painstakingly build. This can cause upset when someone makes a careless comment about your lego building skills or even worse….starts to dismantle it, without your permission, whilst you are making a cup of tea. You can get emotionally attached to your 1000 word flash fiction story, which took you all afternoon to write. This can cause upset when someone makes a careless comment about the opening sentence or even worse mistakes it for rubbish and chucks it in the bin.
- Writing can be painful and so can Lego – a la standing on an errant Lego brick! (Thx to Icy Sedgwick and Ritu Bhathal for the idea)
- Rewriting part or all of your draft novel is like rebuilding your Lego house because it didn’t look right or was missing a window on one side (you had failed to ignore the irritating little voice in your head which kept whispering “the house needs another window…don’t let the plastic folk live in darkness..they’ve been kind to you.”)
Happy writing and Lego building people!