5 ways that writing is like playing with LEGO

Friday Five – Why Writing is like playing with LEGO

Friday Five – Why Writing is like playing with LEGO

This week, I welcome Debra Tidball to Friday Five to share some writing tips.

5 ways that writing is like playing with LEGO

(or everything I know about writing I learned from LEGO)

I like to think of writing as play – playing with words and ideas to create something that excites readers to think differently.  As writers, we often have the idea that writing is work, and we feel angst when it isn’t going how we would like. If we think of writing as play it removes it from the realm of chore into pleasure. It’s an analogy I use when talking with kids in schools – and in these days of writing on computers, it’s an easy concept for kids to visualise words, sentences and paragraphs as blocks to delete, cut and paste etc, – just like re-arranging LEGO bricks. Both forms of play are imaginative, whether you build buildings or stories – you have an idea in your head that you want to represent in a concrete form, and you manipulate elements (bricks or words) to do it. It’s fun – bringing form to the formless – in one case from a puddle of blocks on the floor, and in the other from fragments of ideas floating around inside your head. So what are 5 ways writing is like playing with LEGO?

  1. LEGO builders are inspired by others, they investigate how buildings are put together to help build their own – they take them apart and put them back together, or use a manual to see how it’s done. Good writers are inspired by others too – that’s why is vital to read, read, read… and think about how great stories are put together. Using writing guides and resources are also helpful.
  1. Master builders are not made overnight. It takes lots of play to understand how things fit and work together to be able to eventually produce something fabulous. It takes a lot of playing around time to become good at the craft of writing too –so write, write, write…
  1. A LEGO masterpiece is rarely built perfect the first time – it takes a lot of placing blocks, removing blocks, rearranging blocks, changing blocks to get it right – just like writing: Draft, redraft, rearrange, add, redraft, edit, redraft….
  1. Playing together often builds better structures – feedback provides insight and inspiration and a better product for both building with bricks and words – a writing community is invaluable.
  1. The bigger the range of blocks you have, the more interesting your creation can be. To write, words and how they are structured are the building blocks for stories – build up a good word bank and knowledge of language and literary devices.

Happy playing!


Debra writes stories that speak into the lives of children. As a social worker, parent and author she understands the power of narrative to resonate with children and parents alike. Her first picture book, When I see Grandma won the children’s book category of the CALEB award 2014, was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year 2014, received a seal of approval from Children’s Literary Classics, is on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge and has attracted phenomenal reviews.

Visit her website debratidball.com and www.facebook.com/debratidballpage to find out more.

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