I go off to have a cup of tea, or a lap around the block (walking is very productive for me thought-wise) and reflect on where I'm at, or where I might be going.
Last night I fired out about 1000 words - handy since I'll be ultra busy over the weekend - and I came across this great running idea for, well, everything in my case.
Play is Experimentation.
If you give me an object or an idea, I'll play with it. I'll roll, throw, catch and bounce a ball in a variety of ways in order to see what I can already do with it, and get other ideas about ways it might be used.
I experiment without thinking about it too much. I play, and out of that play comes the rest.
When I write, I play with different words, move them around, find synonyms and just try out alternate combinations. I do it best when I'm not thinking about it as an exercise with purpose. Once they're there, I can shape them into more refined patterns, edit them into more cohesive arguments and concretise the whole thing - but it's pointless to try starting from there beforehand.
However, it is important to note that if you give me a ball, I'll play with the ball. The fear sets in when you lay an array of objects before me and say 'go nuts'. What do I choose? Do I pick only one? Do I play one at a time? Do I multitask?
You get the gist. In a research context, play works for me, but I have to pick my toys out. I choose immediacy and I choose Big Games.
Once the choices are made, the play sets in, and I can move these two things around independently for a while. Once I've exhausted my options, I can start to see what fits, what crosses over, or find places they don't where they might - and play around with that.
For now, I'm playing with the experience of immediacy and the potential for a group experience of the immediate. I'm also playing with Big Game format and available technologies from a gamer perspective. That's it, and it's more than enough for the moment (there's a relatively problematic sentence).
I was rolling the usage of play around in my writing and found that it was only static when used as a noun (press 'play'), but that's just for me to kick around.
To play with.