A classical definition of tinkering paints a picture of unskillful and clumsy effort, performed with makeshift objects, that yields less than satisfactory results. But I prefer an updated concept where tinkering explains an exploration of materials. The aim is to understand the capabilities, properties, positive attributes, and limitations of the individual components. It is an unstructured, hands-on experience that allows the tinker to think in innovative ways to discover novel solutions to current problems.
As a writer, tinkering intrigues me. Writing is difficult, but I believe there is value in a purposeful fiddling with your work. Perhaps you lift a single phrase from your draft and play with the wording and the order. You can eliminate words, mold, and shape the content until it no longer resembles the original line. Hitting on a perfectly crafted sentence is not the desired outcome. The joy is in playing and experimenting with the text.
Writers worry about the structure of sentences, scenes, chapters, and the overall story. Storyboards, post-it notes, random thoughts scribbled on a napkin, and outlines help us rewrite, rearrange, and reformat the work. It is like an architect constructing a skyscraper by laying a firm foundation, finding unexpected building materials, and re-imaging how to use bricks, cement blocks, or concrete. It introduces risk into the creation process but facing the unknown can lead to startling discoveries.
Are you tinkering with your story?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer