Monday, October 17, 2011

Level Up! (...or an elaborate excuse for not writing)

Nothing is more life affirming than stepping outside of one's comfort zone and learning a new skill or ability.  Sometimes these moments are recognized by a public acknowledgement or even a ceremony.  But oftentimes the smaller achievements go unacknowledged.  There is no great sin in this--at least on the interpersonal level.  But I do think it's important to give one's self credit for the little things that we do.

In the world of video games, new and incremental achievements are often accompanied by an electronic fanfare and the congratulations that the player has "leveled up".  Many persistent online games use this concept to entice players to keep coming back for more.  There's always the next attainable milestone, and with it the recognition that you've done something meaningful (in game terms).  Attaining that next level or that special item in the game is often an accomplishment that will be recognized by your peers, as well as theh computer.

Maybe the reason for this semi-pointless exploration of small accomplishments is that I want to pat myself on the back for wiring up a new dryer this weekend.  Unfortunately, it consumed some good writing time.  But I did learn a new skill: I used a multi-meter to make sure the circuit wasn't live before I started working.  And I think I can make the assertion that I "leveled up" in electrical wiring.  Perhaps more importantly, I earned an "achievement" with my spouse.  Last time I checked, spousal achievements are much more valuable than gaming achievements...

So, finally, we've arrived at the real reason for this blog post.  It's really meant to try and make me feel better about not working on the next Hemlock novel this weekend (although short story writing played a part in that, as well).  I think the time off may be good for the Hemlock project, though.  As I usually do when a project goes on hold, I have been thinking about it a lot and getting some ideas in place: specifically in the hard to define areas of mood and pacing.  I hope to report tangible progress on Hemlock very soon!

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