The past few weeks have been a weird mix of indulgence and abstinence from the gaming hobby. Before Dragon*con, I spent most evenings indulging in that hobby with games like Blacklight, Minecraft, and whatever indie title was drawing me in that week. Since D*C I’ve managed to not only go a day or two without gaming to completing a work week without indulging. It’s a mixed bag and the results are starting to show in terms of my productivity and writing. The hobby is a heavy draw that requires a level of gentle handling in order to control what it can and cannot influence in my life.
Few people who’ve met me and sat down to a long conversation will be surprised when I say I’m a heavy gamer. PC is my flavor of choice and I can comfortable (but regrettably) admit to having an addiction to the adrenaline rush of hunting prey in a shooter, being chased by indestructible monsters in survival horror, or completing a complex and deadly platformer puzzle. These challenges wake me, drive me forward and get me going with happiness and charming memories. It’s a fountain of social interaction and online play is a light in the dark to someone who’s been jostled to another city or town and ignorant of local groups. It’s little wonder with the after effects of gaming that I turn to it for my drug of choice and a comfort after a hard day’s work.
Yet a drug and a habit it remains. Gaming itself offers little more than a brief spike in pleasure. It’s not as long lasting as hanging out with friends or having completed a book. The past few weeks I’ve been respectful of that and have cut back the sheer amount of gaming I’ve been doing considerably. I still afford myself Friday evenings and Saturday evenings to go nuts and game as much as I’d like. Sunday through Thursday I temper myself and let myself game only if I’ve made all of my objectives for the day and week. The results are staggering. I’m already finished with a short story. I have two novellas planned and started. I have a novel in the process of being outlined. I’ve refurbished the blogs and made new plans for podcasts. I’ve reached so many goals that wouldn’t have seen fruition in 20 days if I had wasted time gaming.
I’m never giving up my hobby. I love it and the social connections I make from it far too much. I just have to respect the temptation it represents and the time sink it is. It’s like having rich unhealthy food. Tasty and wonderful but there’s a price to pay. Now I just need to go on a video game diet and maintain a healthy weight of time. The same process is also sparking a new hunger and addiction in me. In the time I’ve gone on the gaming diet, I’ve started creating more podcasts and writing thousands of words each day as I shift my trajectory. Much like the body losing weight from a healthy diet and exercise, I’m shaking off the excess mental pounds that held back my creativity. It feels good. It feels healthy. Let’s keep it going that way.