Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The games writers play

If you've never heard a fiction writer moan about having wasted an hour or more playing computer Solitaire when she should have been working, you're probably new to the writing community. When a writer's mind begins to wander away from her work, she might give in and play a full-blown computer game (Age of Empires was my favorite for years) or opt for a few quick hands of Internet Hearts; but whatever distraction she chooses, she'll feel guilty. She'll endlessly berate herself for lacking the discipline to stick with her writing.

This morning I've been thinking that maybe we should stop kicking ourselves over this stuff. Anyone who's writing fiction for hours at a time is giving her brain a pretty good workout. Doesn't it make sense that we might need to rest once in a while? Spending a few minutes (okay, an hour) doing "nothing" on the computer is simply a way to relax and recharge our creative minds.

Playing games isn't a waste of time. It's a strategic retreat from the rigors of writing. Giving our imaginations an occasional breather prevents boredom and burnout, both of which would be death to our writing.

And now I believe I'll nip back over and play with Line Rider for a few more minutes (hat-tip to Clicked for the link). I've been making my hills too steep, and my little guy keeps falling off his sled.

Note to my techie pals: Would somebody with a Google toolbar please tell me what my PageRank is? I think they've recently given me a boost, because I've been getting way more traffic from them than usual. Just curious. No biggie.

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Katrina Stonoff said...

For me, it's Zuma. Or Caesar II. Or Rollercoaster Tycoon.

And yes, I do beat myself up about it.

Pattie said...

Brenda, my Google toolbar says your blog site is 5/10. Hope that helps and means something to you...doesn't mean a whole lot to me since I just installed the toolbar a couple weeks ago.

Katie Hart said...

My game was freecell. I got 107 wins in a row. Of course, now that I write on the internet computer, I have myriad distractions, like reading blogs.

I can easily waste days on Roller Coaster Tycoon, so I try to avoid it.

Anna said...

The Sims2 is my game -- and I do have a notebook in my lap to jot down notes on my WIP while playing. The game and work have nothing to do with each other, but my brain likes to do two things at once, and this seems to be a good combination. After a while, it's "okay, enough game; write now."

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Hey, Brenda...go try this will get the old juices flowing...

The Maze

Babe King said...

Oh my, if my 13yo ever hears this I'll never be able to convince him to do his homework. Honest, Mum, I'm just staging a strategic retreat. Uh-huh. :-)

Brenda Coulter said...

Pattie, thanks for the info. I thought I remembered the Google toolbar being more helpful, showing the decimal places.

Anna, I played SimCity with my kids when they were young.

Bonnie, I can't do your maze because I use a touchpad and my (laptop) screen is small--I can't do the fine movements required for something like that.

Babe, just tell the kid it's not a real retreat unless he actually has something to retreat from.