I think there’s a study out there somewhere that says people who play violent video games are less violent in real life because they can take out their aggression through virtual reality. Well I hope that’s true, because I’ve been playing a lot of Left for Dead.
I felt guilty about it at first because when I was done playing, I felt like I was cheating on my writing. I only have so much time a day that I can dedicate to writing, and if I’m not using it wisely, my projects are going nowhere.
Well, to all the writers out there who think I’m a terrible person for not writing every single day, or for taking my free time for granted, this post is for you.
I wrote a blog a day in December to become more consistent with writing. While I don’t write every single day from it, I have become more consistent. Some writers say that writing every day is essential. I get the value in it, believe me I do. I wouldn’t have written a post a day if I didn’t.
But here’s the other thing, are those people who write every day also working full time? And if they are working full time, are they working at a place that allows them to be creative in their daily tasks? Because that’s radically different than people who are working in a career that doesn’t have anything to do with writing at all.
I’m not excusing myself and I’m not belittling them. I know how tough it is to write or be creative all day and then come home to continue it on a personal level. I’m just saying it’s different, and one rule of thumb doesn’t work for everybody.
If I didn’t play Left for Dead, my characters would suffer for it. If I didn’t take a day off here and there, my brain would explode and I would grow to hate my writing and my story. Even if you love your job, it’s still nice to take a vacation from it. Even if I’m not constantly writing, I’m doing something else that allows me to stay creative. I read, I draw, I kill zombies. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and who’s to say that it can’t come from taking a nap in a park on a beautiful day?
And sometimes I just need to get away from the computer. I try to write by hand but I’m a baby when it comes to cramps and I usually quit after a page or two. It’s not a bad thing to stop and smell the roses. It’s not the end of the world if the only thing you wrote that day is your rent check. I think writers should stop beating themselves up so much about pushing out pages and meeting deadlines.
Granted my word may not mean much on this because I don’t have an agent and I’ve only won a few awards, compared to others who have representation and have a separate storage room for their trophies. I just feel very strongly about being able to live your life. If that’s behind a computer screen then fine, to each his own. However, I am feeling very passionate at the moment to say what I’m sure some other writers have been feeling. Don’t let what you love to do become a prison of oppression. Step out from under the blank page for a moment and breathe. Shoot some zombies, watch tv, just be sure that at the end of the day, writing is still a love and a passion, not a thing on your to do list.