“Writer’s Block” is an ancient curse of writers in every medium and genre. You have a deadline and something you want to write, but somehow the words just won’t come. Well, writer’s block isn’t just for writers anymore. Now anyone in any profession can find ways to zone out, get distracted, and avoid doing useful work. Here are a few of my favorites.
www2 – Wasting aWay on the Web (Win With Wikipedia)
Research! You can never do too much research. And there’s so much information to be had on the Web. Here’s how “research for procrastinators” works. I used to do this with the New Columbia Encyclopedia; now Wikipedia lets you do the same job even better. First, you think of a topic that might be related to what you’re writing, then do a Wikipedia search. You find lots of information and citations, and more importantly many details that don’t at first seem relevant, but do seem Highly Interesting. That of course mandates that you look up each of the related topics in turn. Sometimes a key word will just pop into your head, so you need to look that up as well. Hours later, you might or might not have completed the original research, but your head will be filled with Fascinating Facts you can share with your Friends.
Of course, Wikipedia is but the beginning. There’s a whole World Wide Web full of wondrous and worthwhile wisdom out there. One must keep up with the latest news – There could be inspiration in any of those stories about Obama, McCain, Biden, and Palin. Or about Britney. Or the baseball playoffs. Then there are the blogs – Everyone has an opinion, and some of them are Really Inspirational. Web comics – After all, humor is very important to writing and gaming. Besides, some of them – such as Penny Arcade, GU Comics, and Ctrl+Alt+Delete – are Really Relevant Resources on trends in the gaming industry. Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Looking for Group, because you never know when an orphanage might attack you.
What did people do before Google and Wikipedia? Why, they read books and magazines. Fortunately, you can still do that. Amazon.com has several million books. Several of them are undoubtedly of interest, or maybe even useful, to your work. Why not spend some time browsing their catalog and reading user reviews of a few thousand books. Once you find a few that are clearly critical to your research, go ahead and order them. Of course, there’s no sense working on your project until the books arrive and you have a chance to study them.
ggg2 – Good Going, Got a Game, Got to Go
Well, since we’re best known as game designers, and this is nominally a blog about games, it’s clearly essential that we do even more research… by playing games. Now the small-minded might think this purpose best served by spending a short time each with a lot of different games of varying types. But we know that the only way to truly understand the strengths and limitations of a game is by playing each game thoroughly for endless hours. After all, World of Warcraft is really designed around all the players reaching the maximum level and attempting the raid dungeons over and over. Can anyone who hasn’t wiped on Nightbane or Lady Vashj or Archimonde repeatedly truly be said to have experienced all WoW has to offer? We think not. It is, of course, purely a coincidence that we keep researching the same games and that those just happen to be our favorites.
Corey pursues his valuable continuing game research in bridge, Travian, and World of Warcraft. Those are good for about 10-15 hours a day, so who has time for new games?
Oh, then there’s online poker. How ya gonna get rich if you don’t play? Online poker is great, because you can play it at home, at the office, or in the middle of a meeting with clients. They surely want to hear your bad beat stories! Discipline is very important in poker. You need to fold lots of hands. How better to ensure that than to play while you’re in the middle of doing something else?
Eat, Drink, and Procrastinate for Tomorrow We Diet
There is an ancient saying – “Life is uncertain, so eat dessert first.” Well, maybe not quite so ancient, but the thought has undoubtedly been there since before recorded history. Having thought of the line, I of course had to Google it; two sites attribute it to Ernestine Ulmer, American writer, in 1925. Anyway, having run out of ideas for this blog, I of course ran to the refrigerator. A pear, a chunk of cheddar cheese, and a bowl of Peace Cereal’s “Mango Passion” later, inspiration smote me and this section was born. Never let it be said that we don’t practice what we preach! Real time research, that’s the ticket. Unfortunately, sufficient procrastination through gustation can lead to bloated bellies and thighzable thighs. So can sitting at your desk for hours on end reading, writing, programming, or playing games, so…
Get out there and exercise! Yes, that’s very important. Go bowling, take a walk in the woods, play with the dogs, and pump some iron. All of these things make you stronger, healthier, and most importantly, get you away from whatever tasks you’re avoiding. Besides improving blood flow to the brain, those minutes or hours of physical activity might just give you a chance to find that vital inspiration you’ve been missing. Incidentally, it is clear that testosterone poisoning is an important contributor to stupidity in the male of the species. Therefore, testosterone levels must be controlled through frequent horizontal exercises upon a soft surface to maximize brain activity. More research is required on whether women benefit equally from the exercise… much more research performed as often as possible.
Procrastination Process Chart
Since some people are more visual than word-oriented, we thought we’d better illustrate our ideas with a flowchart of how not to complete a project. The other choice would have been to write another section or two. Since we ran out of ideas, the flowchart seemed more useful (to our purpose of getting this blog out tonight).
- P’s and Thank You
- SSECCUS – A “How Not to” Guide
- “Modern Lessons from Classic Games”
Part Two: Bridge