5 Tips on How to Make Your Writing Process Feel Like a Game
By Joan Selby
Exhausted. Sleepless. Stressed… Oh, you must be a writer! It’s a tough job, but you do it because it’s the only thing that makes you feel complete. When you have an idea and you want to translate it into literature, the process is beautiful and torturing at the same time. You stare at a blank page for hours although you planned to write at least one chapter in the morning. The deadlines are approaching , and the clients or publishers are nerve-wracking.
Does it have to be that hard? Can’t you just enjoy the process of writing like you once used to?
We might have a solution for you: turn writing into a game. Seriously, you can trick your mind to think that writing is a fun game it wants to participate in. Let’s see how you can do that.
Your own words can be a major source of distraction. Instead of keeping up with the flow of your thoughts, you peek through the previous sentences and you start wondering if there’s something wrong with them. You’re back fixing them and you lose the flow before you know it.
Here is a game that will prevent that from happening: see one word at a time. That’s impossible when you use MS Word, Google Docs, or another word processor. Try Ilys! This tool gets rid of all unnecessary buttons and icons.
It launches you in a full-screen environment, and all you can see is a huge word – the last one you typed. Ilys doesn’t allow you to make edits to the work until you reach the word count goal you set. Whether you like it or not, you’ll resist the temptation to edit the work as you progress through the writing. The result? Better productivity and focus!
2) Monsters, Vikings, Ninjas and Battles
Now we’re talking about a real game. Habitica is a free app that lets you develop healthy productivity habits. You set precise goals, like write for 2 hours in the morning. The app will turn that challenge into a game. Your challenges will be presented as monsters that you’ll have to defeat in order to progress to higher levels. Plus, there’s a social network that adds a competitive and supportive aspect to it.
John Roberts, a writer from SuperiorPapers, shared his experience with Habitica: “Turning goals into an role-playing game seemed childish at first. However, this is an interesting concept that works. It helped me develop stronger productivity habits and fight procrastination. It’s a game that doesn’t make you feel guilty for playing.”
3) “The Stakes Are High” Game
Here is a challenge for you: set a goal and punish yourself if you don’t complete it. If, for example, you don’t manage to write 400 words in 2 hours, delete the content you’ve written during that time. Of course, you won’t do that because you’re too attached to your own work. That’s why you need a tool to do it for you.
Write or Die! It will force you to stay on track and avoid distractions, since it starts deleting your work if you don’t meet the goal. It’s the best game a writer could play. Will you accept the challenge?
4) The “If You Lose You Pay” Game
How about placing a small bet? Beeminder is a great tool that motivates you to do your work. It tracks your progress. If you don’t meet your goal, you’ll pledge some money to stay on track next time. If you don’t manage to do that, you’ll lose your money. This is the kind of game you don’t want to lose, right?
5) The “Writing Prompts” Challenge
Let’s go outside your usual writing routine, shall we? It’s important to practice writing outside your regular working schedule. Would you accept a writing prompt that doesn’t take much of your time, but keeps you in shape? How about some Reddit Writing Prompts?
The users post inspiring poems or stories to trigger your creative potential. You take that prompt and create your own piece of literature. This is a great environment for writers to inspire each other.
It’s Your Turn to Play
Your job shouldn’t be frustrating. Writing is what you love doing. However, sometimes it becomes too monotonous. If you hit a writer’s block, the pressure is unbearable. Don’t be so serious! There’s nothing wrong in adding some fun into your writing process.
Try the games suggested above and feel free to share your experience in the comments below!
Joan Selby is a former ESL teacher and a content marketer. She also runs her own blog about social media and writing tips. Joan is a Creative Writing graduate and fancy shoe lover. A writer by day and reader by night, giving creative touch to everything. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.