At historic boardwalk arcade, Marty’s Playland*, in Ocean City, Md, the Crane Digger machines date to the 1940s. But what do games of chance have to do with the writing life?

Yep, It’s All Fun and Games Until December.

It’s pretty arbitrary, really, the turning over of the calendar page to the next month, the next year.

We writers and readers would do better to stay on track to achieve our goals, every day, all year long, rather than make December feel like the last, flash round in a game of Writing Life. Of course, it doesn’t help that this is the time when we round up the year’s favorite reads; I weighed in on one of these myself, here. We log our “win” (or “loss”) at NaNoWriMo, the contest with the aim of churning out 50,000 words in the month of November. We chart our year’s submissions-to-acceptances ratio on Submittable; our agent query stats on Query Tracker. And we plan to do better–and more–next year. As if, in doing all this, we will reach some Writing Life finish line, win the game–and the fortune that goes with it.

Will we win or lose at the Writing Life? Even the Fortune Teller can’t say.

Only, as I’m finding through listening to more experienced writers and authors, there is no finish line. There are stats and figures we can attach to our progress, sure. If you care, my NaNoWriMo “loss” stands at 9,738 words–the start of a new manuscript that is coming along; my 2018 short story submissions-to-acceptances is 29-to-2 (stay tuned for publication news in January); agent query-to-rejections: 4-to-1.

There are book contests and award shows. There are book coaches and pitch wars. Though it can feel like it, the writing life isn’t a game but a life, a way of connecting with the world through the written word.

Vintage arcade games

We can make a game of the writing life. But, if we’re here, we’ve already won.

I have to say I get a little overloaded by all the prescriptions for gratitude this time of year. However, to be living any kind of life that involves art–whether of the literary, visual, or performing variety–in a shared community is an immense blessing. I’m glad we can hash this stuff out together.

So, now it’s your turn. What’s your take on the Game of (Writing) Life? What does your 2019 fortune hold? Maybe even more importantly: skee-ball or pinball?

*On our annual off-season trip to the beach, we had one day of sun and one day of rainy arcade fun. More on Marty’s Playland here.

15 thoughts on “The Game of (Writing) Life

  1. I need to figure out if I continue writing a mediocre blog hosted on WordPress and be happy with the 20 or so views a day or if I want to take it more seriously and really try to get my stuff out there. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the time to write more than a simple, knock it out in 15 minutes, blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think the blog posts are good practice for every other kind of writing–fiction, nonfiction essay, prob even poetry, and the views can at least hint at which kind of your work hits home for people (also hints at SEO and other things that are totally alien to me!). I’ll be interested to hear if you decide to get some other stuff “out there”–and just where that is.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I write because I feel like the thoughts/words in my mind just have to come out – to be shared with others. My goal for 2019 in the writing world is to be more consistent in my posting – to read more of other bloggers – and to finally start work on the book I keep saying I’m going to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you share your writing with others–and I look forward to reading more from you in the new year! There’s no time like now to start that book! I feel like blogging is a great way to hone our writing skills for all sorts of genres–and share with a like-minded and kind community. I’m glad you’re a part of it. All the best for your holiday season!


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