Gaming addiction: balancing life as a writer and gamer

Not surprisingly, a gaming addiction can trash your productivity, if not your career, as a writer, but so too can less serious forms of "gaming enthusiasm."

When I required an extended leave from my work as a writer, I was "very involved" in gaming myself. My last bout was with a MMORPG which might have exacerbated the problem. The only two I ever played ultimately extended beyond the realm of healthy entertainment.

While I've been a gaming enthusiast since my first PC game in '87, many years have passed as gameless and the hobby wasn't missed much if at all.

OK, so there was a little twinge looking through screenshots.
Warning: If your screenshot folder exceeds your family album photos in number, there might be a problem.

I don't know if writers are more prone to addictions, but writing itself can become a rather serious form of escapism -- and such is usually my favored form -- so it would seem feasible.

At least writing pays the bills though, which makes it more acceptable -- socially and practically speaking -- unless your family hasn't seen you in days, that is.

As for how I dealt with the problem of unhealthy gaming enthusiasm is that when I had to return to work, basically I became my own parent. I set a rule for myself not to turn on a game until I had accomplished what I intended to for the day.

Sounds simple because it is; it's having the will and mindset to do it that is less so, if there really is a problem.

The first few attempts, much like a rebellious child being disciplined to eat their dinner before moving on to dessert, were not 100 percent successful.

With deadlines looming though, there was no grey area, it was pass or fail, paycheck or no paycheck and soon enough I was on track.

Writers with self-imposed deadlines (be it for a book or blog) may struggle a bit with the temptation to say, "just one more day and I'll get back on track."

The good news is that while true gaming addiction may pose serious consequences to one's mental health and relationships, on the scale of addictions -- to include to chocolate, caffeine and cigarettes -- it seems rather easy to break, once committed.

1 comment:

Heidi Windmiller said...

I've never had problems with a gaming addiction, but I have become a little to enthusiastic at times. What saves me is being more enthusiastic about writing then gaming.