Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Time For Games

Someone asked me yesterday which games have I been playing lately. To which I responded: none.

It's true. Take a look at that "Now Playing" sidebar of mine. As you can see, the last time it was updated was back in May. Which is about the last time I played a video game at all. At the time, I stopped because I was busy preparing for our major 2-week Mediterranean cruise trip in July, of which every detail of our itinerary I planned all on my own.

And once I came back from the cruise -- surprise, surprise -- I *still* had no time to play games. I was too busy writing a short story and simultaneously outlining the novel I would begin later in the year. So, still no time.

Fast forward to now, and that novel I was preparing for has taken over all my waking moments in which I'm not at my day job or working out and/or eating. When I write short stories, I still have time to game. But, not surprisingly, a novel takes up far more time. More importantly, it takes a lot longer to finish. When I write, I go into a zone where nothing else around me matters anymore. And this novel has been no different.

Now, this is not to say that ALL my free time is taken up with writing the novel. A good deal of it is, but not all of it. When I do take a break, however, I usually only have an hour or two to myself. And, forgive me, but I'd rather spend that time with my wife or watching tv, or both! Oddly enough, gaming doesn't even factor in on my list of things to do whenever I have free "play" time these days.

However, the most startling revelation I've discovered for why I'm not getting back to my PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii is this: Writing this novel is actually more FUN than playing console games! Yeah, I'm as shocked to find that out as some of you might be to hear me say it. But it's true. Each day I look forward to going home and getting behind the keyboard to continue the adventures of my main protagonist and friends. I can't vouch for the quality of the actual writing getting done, but I'm having fun doing it.

Back before I started writing seriously, I used to think that video games robbed me of the impetus to write. As if all the pent-up energy I had to devote to my craft was instead finding an outlet through the action and adventure games I played. I thought, in order to become a good writer, I would have to quit games cold turkey.

Now I know better. I've since found out that I can play games and write perfectly fine. Just that the writing takes priority. However, now that I've started my first novel I'm learning that the reverse of my original observation might actually be true -- that writing kills my urge to play video games!

I find that hilarious, if true. I don't think it is, though. Just that, now the high I'm getting off this novel is eclipsing the same high I would get off of playing a really engaging video game.

So, if you notice that my sidebar is not getting updated, or that I'm not talking about up and coming games as much as before . . . now you know. I'm a little busy having too much fun from a different source.

I don't know, but this seems to be the right priority for things in my life. Oh, don't you agree?


  1. Oh, I completely agree.

    Though it will be interesting to revisit this topic when writing is your full time profession. (Note that I said "when" and not "if".)

  2. If I could eliminate the need for a day job . . . then, sure, I would have time for gaming during the day. Most writers don't spend all day working on their novels, but only an apportioned time slot depending on their preferences. So theoretically, any other time outside of that schedule would be a possibility to get in some gaming (among other things).

    If had nothing to do *but* focus on my writing, I would probably still only spend 3 to 4 hours each day on that. Which is what I do on weekends, in fact. But during the week, my only time to write is between the hours of 9pm and 11pm.

  3. If you're spending the time on something you enjoy then it sounds like a good kind of busy.

    And good also to recognise that you can't do everything and to make a conscious choice about priorities. Saves all that fretting about whatever it is you're not doing if you've chosen not to.

    To speak to Rodney's comment, when I was at university, pottering on my computer programming all sorts of daft games and things was my all-consuming pastime. As soon as I became a full time programmer, I made a deliberate choice not to continue it at home.


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