Don't eat the crayons

I saw an interesting quote in the middle of a highly inappropriate website last night. It was a small essay called "Don't eat the crayons." I started reading because the next sentence, "Even the purple ones, despite them being the tastiest." I don't remember the essay but it talked about the different crayons in life: television, video games, worrying about your body and hair. All time wasters when you just do it mindlessly. It took me a few second to realize what they were saying, don't waste your creativity (it was on a writing board so that makes senses). You can spend your days watching television or playing games, but you aren't really creating anything. There is some use in it, recharging your batteries, but I think a lot of people watch too much television or play too many games compared to the amount needed to recover their energies.

I suspect that is why I don't watch television really. I play games, but I'm back on the keyboard pretty much the minute I recovered. Okay, sometimes a little too soon, sometimes a little too late (mainly to finish those last ten hours of a game), but even my favorite RPG's will take weeks to finish simply because I go back to writing or programming in the middle of it. I always know the point since I'll be grinding through level fifty of some RPG when I realize I just spent the last hour reviewing every interface element, AI program, and story in the game. When I start looking at the game and pulling out what I like, what I don't, and what I would do differently. That is usually the point I'm ready to create again.

One day, I was browsing through the Internet while struggling with this flood-inspired writer's block and found a strip of a mother holding a game programming book. In front of her, her two boys were playing a game. "We don't have time to write a game, we're playing one."

Same idea, different artist. I'd rather write the game. Yes, Running Bomb and Lethe's Yarn weren't good games (i.e. they sucked), but they were stepping stools to reaching where I do want to go. All the blood, sweat, and tears put into them is just putting me on a path. I have a good idea where it ends, but getting there is just as fascinating as reaching the goal. Same with writing. I love writing and I keep doing it. All those short little stories I write are the same stepping stools for another goal, to be a professional and competent writer who makes fascinating worlds. The key part is, I'm creating things with my crayons instead of eating them.

I have my own distractions in life: anime, movies, and video games. The hard part is peeling yourself away from them sometimes. This flood has done some of that, I stopped a lot of what I was doing because of it and I think I'm happier because of it. It was painful and helpful, terrifying and frustrating. But, in the end, I have a handful of new crayons to play with.