The 8 Play Personalities.


“Good is not how skillfully you do something you were taught, but rather discovering something in you that is totally new, unexpected, surprising, and satisfyingly right.” — Rachel Rosenthal

Trying to be good only gets in the way. 

If we want to be surprised in our writing, we are better off just playing. 

Play is integral to understanding how we create. (In our writing and everywhere else!)

Play helps us learn. Access flow states. Release stress hormones. And it can facilitate the creation of something truly new. 

But how do we enter play? This elusive state can feel foreign to us, as adults.

I didn’t have the answer. So I spoke with Gillian Ferrabee, an expert on play and creative flow. Gillian coaches people, companies, and teams on play, drawing upon the groundbreaking work of Dr. Stewart Brown.

As it turns out, we actualize play in different ways. We each have our own distinct “play personality.”

In my case, I’m a Kinesthete. I enter play through the body, through my senses. This is why a lot of my writing comes through the images and sensations of a scene. And why movement and exercise often feeds my creativity. 

Craft is my second big play-driver. I’m a maker. It’s got to be 3-D for me. I make my writing and planning work more fun with stickers, washi tape, and markers on the floor. (Scented markers, to stir my kinesthesia.) In my off-hours, knitting and gardening keep me playful and centered.

I’m also wired for adventure. I seek out new ideas. Try things I’ve never done before. Throw my characters into the deep end. 

The unknown excites me, but not everyone is wired this way. I know writers for whom uncertainty and not-knowing is unpleasant and/or anxiety-producing. It’s not because they’re any less playful or creative, they just access their creativity in a different way. 

With this work, we each find our safest path to the unknown.

My interview with Gillian discusses all eight play personalities. See which ones resonate with you! 

You’ll also hear me ask Gillian my big question:

Can we live in a flow state all the time?

She dropped a super practical, measurable, scientific answer! 

Listen below: For a transcript, click here.

Yours in adventure, 

Photo credit: Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash.

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Safiya Robinson

Awwww what a great conversation!!! Thanks for sharing it
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Sarah Selecky

Thank you Safiya! I’m glad this resonated.
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