13 Apr 2010

Injecting Chaos

I’m a big fan of Lego. I like to buy the big Technic sets – the ones with pneumatics and gears and motors and so on. When I buy a set, I open the box and meticulously follow the instructions, sorting the pieces by size and colour before assembling whatever was on the front of the box. It gives me a sense of satisfaction, building a machine that does something.

Point is though, it’d probably be a bit boring to blog about. You can imagine what it would be like – going through the same motions and doing the same kind of things week in, week out. It would get old, fast.

It becomes much more fun when you throw away the instruction book, take a hammer to the car or whatever it was you made and inject a little bit of chaos. Doesn’t matter what it is. Just the mere act of playing around and making something new from the pile of bricks you have is enough. It’s a lot more fun as well – the challenge moves from being “what set of bricks do I buy next” to “what do I want to make that’s fun?”

It’s even better when you get feedback. Other ideas pop up – people suggest ways of improving the model, of other things that you could build, or share what they did that was similar. It’s also a bit of a loop – ideas create ideas.

So why am I talking about Lego on this blog? Well, it comes from Anea’s idea for this week’s Shared Topic. Would having no comments at all make us better bloggers? Would it leave us free to pursue our whimsies and desires? Or do we rely on the comments and feedback – are they integral to the creative process?

Just like buying a box of Lego, I could write about Warcraft in exactly the same way. But wouldn’t it be a boring, just reading about what quests I’d done or how my raidgroup was doing? Wouldn’t it be better if I talked about the quirky things I’d got up to with other people, what opinions I held about aspects of the game and where I’m heading next? Wouldn’t it be even cooler if it started a discussion, where we bounced ideas and thoughts around, and I used them as the basis for new topics every so often?

It’s why I write – I like to think that a new post that I write is the start of a discussion, not the end of it. I don’t like to provide the definitive answer or the conclusive proof in a blogpost, just an opinion of what’s worked for me.

For me, getting feedback on what I write is essential to this process. It might be about a problem that I’m facing, in which case I might be given a solution. It might be about an idea, in which which case others might chime in with theirs. It might be about something I’ve experienced, which might encourage people to share theirs. All of this creates positive responses, which in turn generate new posts, which generate new responses, and so on.

Besides, a little bit of chaos is a good thing.

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