The Writing Game

Any major project goes through phases, and writing is no exception. I am currently at about 25,000 words into drafting my latest book, which on a scale of 1 to 10 means I am still at one.

I am perfectly fine with my progress. I have been at this early stage before and know books do not happen overnight. More importantly, I understand that rushing through things now only means more work for me later.

As a writer, I am in a good place – the one of creation.

Other than publishing and sharing, building a new world is my favorite part of the writing process. There are ups, downs, and middles. And although the overall plot and ultimate goal of my protagonist is known, much of what materializes in my mind and shows up on the page is a welcome surprise.

It is the unknown, the mystery, the challenge of making it to the end that I love. Because to me, writing a novel is much like the classic games of my youth. And when I play, I play to win.

LIFE – There are milestones to celebrate (publishing) and problems to overcome (editing) all while juggling marriage, children, a home, finances, careers, and more.
SCRABBLE – Word play! Discovering that perfect sentence or paragraph can make all the difference for a writer.
OPERATION – Writing is a delicate procedure requiring patience and steadiness. One wrong move and the entire project might not survive.
HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS – When the opportunity or inspiration arises, gobble up the chance to write with everything you have got.
PIE FACE – At any time, any part of the writing process can make you feel as if you have been smacked in the face.
MONOPOLY – Sometimes you are rich (with praise and confidence), other times you are broke (in spirit and motivation). Keep moving forward and pass GO, because in the writing game there is no Get Out Of Jail Free card.
JIGSAW PUZZLE – It might take a while to see the whole picture. Take your time, try different pieces until you find the right fit for your story.
CLUE – Creating a world that does not exist requires considerable thought, deep concentration, and careful attention to the little signs (perfect dialogue at 4am!) that come your way.
RISK – Writing demands strategy and some sort of battle plan. But like the toss of a dice, it also involves a bit of luck and taking chances – with your style, your genre, your approach, yourself.
CANDY LAND – There will be shortcuts to propel you forward and traps to slow you down, but never forget the finished product can be oh, so sweet!
TWISTER – Getting every part (writing, editing, publishing, social media, marketing, etc.) to work together can be tricky. You may end up in a precarious position or fall down a couple times.
CHUTES AND LADDERS – Some days you are on top of the world (published), but most others you feel you are falling into a bottomless pit (bad review). One step forward, two steps back.
SORRY! – Living your dream, raising your voice, and sharing your vision is not always easy. But to do so properly, you must learn to be a little selfish and unapologetic.
SOLITAIRE – Pretty self-explanatory. Writing is a solitary sport involving a lot of monotony and lonely, quiet moments inside your own head.
MATCH GAME – It might take a few tries to get plot and character and theme to align with each other. Pay attention to what came before and learn from it.
JENGA – Managing life and writing is a definite balancing act. One wrong move and the whole thing can come toppling down. If it does, set everything back up and start again.

Entertaining. Challenging. Engaging. Frustrating. Rewarding. Writing can be any of these things at any given time. And sometimes, as a writer, we come out a winner. Other times, however, we feel like the loser.

But in the end, does it really matter whether we come out on the top or the bottom? My answer is no. What matters is how we play the game and that we keep on playing even when things do not go our way.

Personally, I choose to never, ever stop playing.

Photo by Moritz Schmidt on Unsplash


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