(Or, A Hugely Overdue Meme)
I know that many of my blogging buddies completed the why writing is like *fill in the blank* meme months ago. Yes, maybe I was tagged, and yes, maybe I fell a tad short in completing the meme. A thousand apologies.
Since this blog is about critiquing, I have to throw that aspect into the meme. You know me—always breaking the rules. I'd apologize for that, too, except I don't want to give the impression that I'm going to try not to break rules in the future. Ahem. Bygones.
Why Writing/Critiquing is Like Online Games
About a year ago, I watched a video clip where Jane McGonigal (<-Harry Potterish last name. So cool.) gave a lecture about saving the world through video games. Jane uses World of Warcraft as one of her main talking points. Seriously. Her organization has already created some games centered on real-world issues, and I think they're onto something. I hope it works. While watching it, I realized that my gaming son is actually in training to be the ultimate save-the-world virtuoso someday. Jane is amazingly entertaining in this video clip. If you haven't seen it, block out some time to watch it. You'll get the gist of her philosophy after a few minutes.
One of my favorite concepts that Jane describes is how these online games provide participants with an epic goal (we must do this great thing!), create optimism (we can do this great thing!), constitute a social fabric (our cooperation brings success!), and result in blissful hours of productivity (we like achieving epic goals!).
Maybe you're already formulating in your mind how these four things relate to the writing/critiquing community. Here's my take.
- Writing/Critiquing provides us with an Epic Goal. Our goal? To create stories that show the best of our abilities, submerge people in another world, and hopefully make them feel something. Yes, maybe we're all writing our own epicness, but it's a common goal.
- Writing/Critiquing creates Optimism. Writers are fantastic when it comes to optimism (until they get stuck), but when we're writing, we typically believe that we can achieve what we set out to do. We can reach our Epic Goal.
- Writing/Critiquing generates a Social Fabric. Look at the number of blogs about writing, the online writing communities, and the conferences we have available to us. Furthermore, our critique partners are enormously helpful with the optimism and motivation behind our writing. When we're stuck and our optimism falters (e.g., stuck), our CPs are there to help us through. This bond is wonderful, deep, and so important to our Epic Goal.
- Writing/Critiquing results in Blissful Productivity. Holy schmoly, writerly/critiquerly friends. How many hours have we spent typing away on our projects? Or reading and critiquing someone else's projects? And we still can't get enough. We forget to eat. We forget to sleep. We like achieving our Epic Goals!
There you have it. Now, go save the world.