Child’s Play

As adults we’re told so many times that games are for children. People roll their eyes and talk of people wasting their lives in fantasy worlds that accomplish nothing. But as writers, that’s exactly what we do. And now we don’t do it alone.

Science has come along and proven there are real benefits found inside the childhood antics of playing games and playacting. This is described in

“Play is often described as a time when we feel most alive, yet we often take it for granted and may completely forget about it. But play isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Play is as important to our physical and mental health as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Play teaches us how to manage and transform our ‘negative’ emotions and experiences. It supercharges learning, helps us relieve stress, and connects us to others and the world around us. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.”

For me as a writer and character creator, this is so important. My characters get to do so much more than my mild mannered teacher self could. By turning character creation and writing into a game, rather than just a check list of to do’s and don’ts, I am able to make myself accomplish things I thought impossible. My willpower in writing skyrockets.

Antagonist in the corner pocket.

Antagonist in the corner pocket.

You know why? Glasses off and cowl down…My character’s persona would have done those things. The gaming aspect of writing allows me to step away from a Mary Sue and picture scenarios not because I want to, but because my hero/heroine would not take no for an answer.

Also I get much more enjoyment from the process when I change it into a game as it becomes so much more. It becomes something to immerse in. I can’t let my character down, because she wouldn’t let anyone down. When a battle is lost in my writing (hate those blocks), I know the war still continues for her, so how could I abandon her? I can more easily pick myself up and continue.

This is a part of transforming our negatives. I will try again and beat my enemy (the block) the next day because it was a part of the game, not just something inside me that I could never get away from. So with this transformation, from reality to game, from me to hero, I am able to move into the next benefit of learning from it and relieving stress. And boy, we can all use that.

Now, if you believe me, let’s get ready to create, grow, learn and relax…and write.

“Image courtesy of pal2iyawit/”.


About Courtney Sloan

A New Orleans native, Courtney Sloan relocated to the hills of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina. There she lives with her husband and fellow author, J.P. Sloan, their son and their crazy German Shepherd pup. Adding to her writing life, Courtney is also a professor at the local college and enjoys learning a world of new ideas from her students as she teaches them about writing and communicating. Courtney’s New Orleans upbringing has left her with a love for the macabre and a flare for the next to normal. She writes speculative fiction with a variety of horror and sass mixed in for flavor. She loves taking the world of politics that haunts us now, and adding the supernatural to create a gumbo of thrills to keep you up at night. A self-proclaimed lover of way too many fandoms, Courtney also loves crafting. From blankets to jams to stories, it’s always better homemade. View all posts by Courtney Sloan

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