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Can Playing Games Make Me A Better Writer?

The little gamer deep down inside sure hopes it does.

Or is it just wishful thinking on my part?

I’ve tried so many things, to break my out of my writing blocks that playing games woudn’t be the most ridiculous of them. I’ve read countless books on the topic, tried multiple types of organization techniques, everything from Google Calendar to Bullet Journals. The bullet journal approach is my latest, so I’m holding out hope that this will be the one that finally tips the scales in my favor. I’ve practiced typing other great works like Lord of the Rings into a word document, in the hopes that the great Tolkien will wear off on me through my eyes on the page and my fingers at the keyboard. It did help a bit at the time, but here I’m am again stuck with very few words generated in the last few months.

So why not? Why wouldn’t playing a video game help? To me, at least at first glance, it seems like it should. I mean, just look at all that eye candy exploding on the screen in front of me. Isn’t that a bit like looking at art? Those of you that scoff that video game graphics can’t hold a candle to the exquisite pieces hanging on the walls of your local art gallery, clearly haven’t spent much time with current games. Try checking out the stunning vistas displayed in games like the latest incarnation of the Uncharted series.

Then, there’s the whole adventuring in distant lands thing. Travel to distant places is supposed to help stimulate many a writers prose. Just check out Ernest Hemmingway’s biography. His writing chops are undisputed and the man clearly liked to get around.

How about writing research? Sure, you could spend hours ruminating over tomes of Wikipedia pages looking for those little bits of minutiae that are guaranteed to saturate your reader in your story world but don’t dismiss the opportunity to journey to the sweeping mountains of Syria as Laura Croft in Tomb Raider. 

Here’s a couple of resources that provide more reading:

Morning Pages Entry – May 23, 2014

Hey, happy birthday to me! 52 and still feeling pretty good. Keep it up old man. So, on to more pressing issues. I was starting to put together a menu plan for our whole 30, and it went ok. It’s definitely one of those tasks, where you need to approach it one small piece at a time. As, trying to come up with a plan that will work for everyone, is going to be a bit tricky. Suppers are probably the easiest to plan out, as everyone just sits down and eats the same thing. Breakfast and lunches I’m not so sure about. They’re a little bit more ad hoc. Sam is different, because of her swim schedule. She eats a bit before morning practice and a bit after morning practice. Jennifer is probably something the same. Karen and Jessica sit down, and eat before they go out the door. I don’t eat till later in the day, but it’s always bacon and eggs. Jessica, I can probably just make bacon and eggs for every morning. Lunches I suppose are a bit over the place as well. I think, I need to take the approach the one lady does where she just sort of cooks up a bunch of stuff at the beginning of the week, and eats it whenever. Planning out the dinners would help me, and I did get a good start at that. But, the lunches are a another thing that’s a bit trickier. I think, I need to get a list from everyone as to what they normally eat for breakfast and lunch each day. Then, I can tweak things from that. If there’s stuff they normally like to eat, then those things can stay in the meals. Things they don’t like will have to go, and I should find some sort of substitute for them. Sauces are another thing that would be helpful to have substitutes for. Like the whole30 mayo and ketchup for instance. Those will certainly help to ease the transition into this. One of the things you want to do, is to have plenty of wholoe30 approved food choices lying around all the time. And, plan to make more then want of everything for dinners. That way, there are lots of leftovers for the following days breakfasts and lunches. We may want to have more containers for storing leftovers. There is going to be some tweaking of things in the first week, but that’s ok. The kids are definitely on board for this, meaning Jennifer and Samantha. Jessica doesn’t really realize what she’s in for, but that’s ok. She’s likely the most flexible of the group. She can be picky sometimes, but we’ll see how that goes. The snacks for her I think will be the hardest. Giving up the coke, I’m not sure. And, making sure, that she doesn’t eat stuff from school can be a bit hard as well. It would be good for her to eat just the right stuff, but we’ll see how that goes. How strict do you want to be this for her? I suppose, I would like for her to follow it as strictly as everyone else. You will have to explain it to her, and make sure she understands it. As long as she knows the rules, she’s pretty good about following them. She is all about the rules. So, yesterday, I did get a pretty good chunk of editing done, and now only have about 9K words left to get through on the novel. Which is pretty good. I still have my edit notes, that I need to go through, and I think, the ending needs a bit more beefing up, and I do need to add more words to break the novel up into two publishable novels. I still have to look at the structure, and see where it makes sense to do that. But I would really like to hit the shelves with two novels off the bat. That would make up a little bit for being so late getting this thing done. Then, of course, you need to hit the ground running, and start putting out a novel a month. At least for the the summer. Then once you get that process going, you can start adding the serials. Once the boat is put away, you should move into doing the weekly serials, and the monthly novel. That would be pretty cool. To have all that going on at once. That would be busy, but good. Plan the serials to only run from October to May, then take the four months off and just write the novels. That would make for a pretty good boating season. Maybe, once the money is going good, you can even plan some holiday time.

TIGERBLOOD: yep DAILYMOOD: productive LOCATION: home office WORDSWRITTEN: editing PUSHUPS: 4:00 wall sits TODO: edit, write, read, plan meals TV: supernatural, californication BOOK: none GAME: 2048 EXERCISE: walk 1 hour WEIGHT: 170 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: gypsy sausage SNACKS: orange, grapes, apple, 2 lara bars ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 11:15 AWAKE: 6:30


Morning Pages Entry – May 08, 2014

So, today, we’re off to the boat to get it ready for launch. I’m hoping, to get the tarp off and get the hull waxed, but I have to be home by 2:30 to get the kids off to the pool. It’s only 6:30 now, so should have a few hours to get things done. Hopefully, the thunderstorms will stop. They’re only supposed to be going on this morning, but I haven’t checked the weather yet. It’s always a bit of a squeeze to get this shit done it seems. The boat launches next Wednesday, which is only 6 days away. Shouldn’t be a problem. I still have the weekend to do things. It is the Hollandia swim meet this weekend, but I will miss most of it. Not a problem for me. So, I seem to be finding too many distractions working back downstairs in the basement again. Gotta quit doing that, and focus on getting more words edited per day. Just because you have a deadline that’s easy, is no reason to start slacking now. The quicker you can get the first pass of editing done on this book, the better it will be. You’ll have time to do more rewriting, and maybe a bit more fleshing out of character back stories, and zombie back stories, and research into guns and weapons and stuff. All stuff that you never did up front, but if you do it now, it will come in handy for this story and all the rest of the series. Plus, the sooner you get all that done, the sooner you can start working on the structure and plot of the next novel. The next one, that will be written quicker, and out the door in record time. A month would be ideal, but if it lands out there within two months I’d be happy. There’s no reason, why you shouldn’t be able to do that. So, by the end of summer, you could have 3 or 4 books on the shelves. That would be cool. Then money should start kicking in. I’m going to just start publishing, and not worry too much about the marketing thing. Maybe, do the odd thing here and there. I would like, if I could just write and publish. That would be the most fun thing. And, it has worked for some people. Although I have to wonder about the FaceBook ads. If those do get you more face time in front of potential readers, then that has to be a good thing. It would likely be worth it. If you make more then you spend, then, it’s always worth it. I be happy to spend 10K per year on facebook ads, if it got more attention for the novels, and sold another 100K per year. It seems to work out about the way for Johnny Jam Pederson on the Kindling facebook page. Will have to see how that goes. Getting the books out there, and getting some cash flowing in, is the priority right now. Especially with the 60 day waiting period with Amazon. That’s a bit of a pain in the butt, but something you have to get through. Once you start making the money though, it becomes irrelevant. Just need to get some books out there. Well, I hope the weather is going to cooperate today, so I’m not working out in the rain. Actually, I just won’t be going, if it’s going to be raining. Can’t wax in the rain. As soon as I’m done with this journal, I’m going to be heading out there. Today is a 600 calorie fasting day as well, so that coordinates pretty well. Since, I’ll be working on the boat all morning and early afternoon, then not having to worry about eating is a good thing. I should like bring some bottles of water to drink though. Don’t want to neglect that side of things. Well, time to finish this journal, here’s to looking for a great summer, with the boat, and with the family, and with the writing as well. I had hoped to have a few books on the shelves before the boat splashed into the water, but it looks like that won’t happen. I can however, have a few on the shelves before it comes out. Maybe 5 books if I really push it. That would be nice, going into the winter. Having half a dozen books on the shelves before Christmas would be awesome. Could be the best Christmas in a long time.

TIGERBLOOD: maybe DAILYMOOD: ok LOCATION: home office WORDSWRITTEN: editing PUSHUPS: 2:00 plank TODO: wax the boat TV: the 70s show BOOK: none GAME: PES soccer game EXERCISE: none WEIGHT: 170 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: none SNACKS: orange, grapes, apple, almond butter ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 11:00 AWAKE: 6:30


Morning Pages Entry – April 07, 2014

Well, here we go, at the start of what should be a very interesting week. It’s like 6:40 in the morning, and I’m already typing my morning journal. I have to pick up the swim kids at the carling heights pool all the way across town, in about 45 minutes, which means I have to leave in about 25 minutes, but what’s really remarkable, is what I have in mind for the day. I plan on starting to write my 5000 words a day today. I have a plan of events for what needs to happen in the novel, and i’m going to the 45 minutes on and 15 minues off thing with a word goal of 1250 per session. I know I can hit that number easily if I know what I’m going to write about, and I get into the groove. It would be nice, if I could do it upstairs here in my living room on the laptop, as I’m noticably quicker up here, but we’ll see how it goes. It’s all about focus. If I can nail this process down this week, that would be fucking awesome. As to goal is to hit those numbers for 4 sessions, then basically fuck off for the rest of the day. To be able to work only till noonish on the thing (writing), that is absolutely core to my business. If I can get that sucker nailed, then it would practically impossible to fail. It would mean, that I’m knocking out 25K words per week, or the rough draft for a novel about every 2 to 3 weeks. I should be able to get that process smoothed out and perfected in a few months, which would certainly get me on track, to producing a novel every month, if not every 6 weeks, depending on how the editing and cover work takes. Plus, it puts me in position to have a lot more freed up time in after 12pm every day. To be honest, that’s the part that has me fucking stoked. It gives me the freedom in my life that I want, plus it allows me to get to all the other little things in my life, that I never seem to get to. Those things, that I procrastinate about all the time. Or, even the things that I don’t procrastinate about, but would love to do, just because they would be fun, like learn to play the guitar, or do something cool with the boat, or whatever. The things that make life worth living. What’s also sort of cool about this morning, is that I’ve gotten up at a better waking time. I actually set my alarm for 6:30, so I could get up before Karen and the kids. That’s better, as I don’t have to lie in bed, and listen to their frigging banging around the house while I’m still sleeping. I of course went to bed a bit earlier at 10:45, which wasn’t too tough, cause we were up early for a swim meet yesterday. I actually woke up around 5:20 this morning thinking it was time for me to get up, but finally convinced myself to go back to sleep for another hour or so. And, the cool thing here, is I’m not even tired, quite to the contrary, I think I may have a bit of Tiger Blood flowing through the veins. Which has all come about of course, because I’ve been eating super clean like a trooper these days, and have energy to burn. I’ve been walking more then playing squash, which is actually better for me likely, as I’m not wrecking my self tearing around a squash court, and twisting all my joints every which way I shouldn’t. All in all, this morning so far, I’ve got things clicking on all 12 cylinders. I like thinking about 12 cylinders driving me, just because, that’s what would drive a corvette. Just imagine, if you can pull all this shit off, and write a 75K word novel every month, just how successful you would be. Especially in a popular genre like the one your currently pursuing. That would be so goddamn cool. A good novel every month, so by this time next year, you’ll have such a positive cash flow, that money will no longer be a thought in your life. You’ll be doing something you enjoy, because you’ll be better at writing, and you’ll understand how the process works. You will be a complete person, fully in control of your life and how you spend the time in hand. For the first time ever.

TIGERBLOOD: yes DAILYMOOD: happy LOCATION: living room WORDSWRITTEN: 0 PUSHUPS: 2:00 plank TODO: write like a muther TV: farscape, improv documentary, squash game BOOK: none GAME: none EXERCISE: none WEIGHT: 173 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: none SNACKS: orange ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 10:45 AWAKE: 6:30


Morning Pages Entry – February 28, 2014

Arrrgh! Squash is getting on my nerves lately. At least, the competitive nature of it. We lost again as a team last night in league, and it looks like we ended up in 3rd place after our last regular season match last night. We lost 4-1 to the Athletic Club team. Sometimes, I think that while I do like the game, that I need to stay away from the competitive nature of it. At least now, when I’m losing I do. I do often feel that I take it a bit to seriously. Really, I should likely be devoting my energies to another more beneficial pursuits, like my writing and making more money for a change. Squash is just getting too much in my head for my liking these days. It’s becoming a stressful experience all around, and I’m not really enjoying it at the moment. If I was winning, I would be enjoying it I’m sure, but maybe for the wrong reasons. Perhaps defining too much of my self worth from my squash games and how my team does, is not a healthy thing. Sure, I would like to win, but at the moment when your not, it makes me feel like shit, and I don’t like feeling like shit. My self worth, is not defined by my squash game. I need to remember that. Even though I would like to win. This competitive drive, is so getting the better of me these days. I really wish it wouldn’t get to me so much. What am I trying to prove? Don’t know? If I could get to the core of that I could be happier I think. I suppose, it all comes back to the pleasure and pain thing. We want more pleasure and less pain. If winning at squash is pleasurable, then cool, lets do more of that. If squash or squash league in general is painful, the why do I do it? I don’t know, but things in my life are just all confusing and unsure it seems. I feel pretty directionless and lost at the moment. Sure, I should be healthier, sure, I should be richer, sure, I should be something different, but the depression keeps getting the better of me. I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling this way at the moment, and it seems to be a constant battle to chase it away. It’s like, I just don’t care about anything. It doesn’t matter, but it does to some people. Lots of people care passionately about stuff. And, some days, I do, but some days I don’t. Stuck in the middle of this oppressively long and cold winter sure isn’t helping things. I would love to get outside more often. Shit, just being able to take a nice walk in the neighbourhood would be a welcome improvement. I hate being stuck indoors for such long periods of time. Yes, I do want to be at the boat, but I want to be there, knowing that my life is in order. That the boat is in order. That I have the money to do the things with the boat I want to. To have a bigger boat. To feel happier when I’m up there. I need to get to that place, I need to care, I need to give a shit about everything. Stop being so depressing. Life is an amazing gift, and every day is a huge bonus. You need to start living life that way. You need to write more. I was happier when I was writing more every day. I need to get my novel organized and published. I need to start getting books out there, and making contact with people, and engaging more with the world. Even if it’s the online world. I need to make things happen for the better. I want to have a voice, a say in what goes on around me. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin, and around my own family, and in the choices that I make, and where I go, and what I do. It’s time, to really start living, and doing something that makes me feel . . . good! Makes me feel good. Yes, wouldn’t that be nice for a change. Right now, I need to eat well, sleep well, play well, love well, and live well. I’m not getting to all those things, and I really don’t know how it got away from me, but I do know, that I need to get it back.

LOCATION: home office WORDSWRITTEN: 0 PUSHUPS: 30 TODO: editing TV: greys anatomy BOOK: none GAME: enslaved pigsy dlc EXERCISE: squash league WEIGHT: 174 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: none SNACKS: orange, grapes, apple, mixed nuts, nacho chips ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 1:45am AWAKE: 8 am