Did you have a sandbox when you were little? Where you tried out your skills at making castles surrounded by little lakes, rivers and moats?

Sand pail and scopeWhen did you stop playing in the sand?

And, do you know why?

A sandbox is a wonderful place where you can build something from the imagination, make mistakes, and quickly start right over again on the same idea or something different.

Do you have a sandbox right now for the book you are writing, the business you are starting or for the company you are already running?

A safe place to brainstorm ideas, test out possibilities, capture lessons learned from mistakes?

Programmers often have a “test server” to make sure that files work right before going to a “production server” where the public actually sees the results. Graphic artists might have a special file where they save all their examples or collect ideas for future projects. Photographers might have a secret site where they upload pictures to see how they look on the screen before displaying them in their portfolio. Podcasters record their voices and go back and manipulate, cut seconds, add music and play around with different speeds all behind the scenes before you see the final version in iTunes. In the simplest form, a Word document (or blog entry) is in a sandbox when you review it, correct spelling, add all the formatting and get it the way you want it before you hit “send” or “post.”

Here at Nudge Village we’ve started a blog to act as a kind of sandbox. We are going to capture the journey of building this site – lessons learned, experiments and ideas along the way. We’ll share our mistakes and some of the surprises. We’ll open it up to the readers at some point. Sandcastle

Heck, maybe we’ll even do it now – check out! It is sparsely populated because we are just getting started, but perhaps you’d like to take a look and make something similar (in concept) for yourself.

Each of you will have a different place and approach to try out and test your ideas. It isn’t really important how or where, but that you have that place (virtually or physically) and that you like going there. A safe place to practice and improve your skill or product.

Take a look at this sandbox!

As a side note, here’s a talented young woman who actually “plays in a sandbox” and has developed an amazing talent. Enjoy it and take a look at the other YouTube videos that are related. Beautiful!

1 thought on “Sandbox

  1. I love the sandbox analogy because it's very liberating. Many people approaching a "creative" endeavor seize up because they're afraid to "fail." Once we recast things in terms of a sandbox, a place where there're no rules to speak of, no right or wrong, just the freedom to play, suddenly we're very prolific. Prolific as kids building sand castles and tunnels and such. The tragedy is that, once those kids have grown up, they will have had much of that uninhibited creativity beaten out of them (by The System, man! (not to sound like Abbie Hoffman)). So, how do we become like kids again, creating stuff without angst? By reminding ourselves that we're in a sandbox. I think of it as adopting a "draft mentality" – it reminds me that it takes multiple drafts to achieve something good (usually). Paul Rand called it "The Play Instinct." Hemingway said that the first draft of anything is crap. We tend to make great messes, go down blind alleys, and do a lot of clean up before we arrive at something that's ready for prime time. It can take a lot of self-reminding as adults that it's through this kind of experimental play that "the work" gets done.

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