Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Nov 182015

Zestiria-Sorey-infinite-booksNaNoWriMo is past the halfway mark. I’m ahead of schedule, with around 34,000 words.

It’s hard to focus on a new book project with Tales of Zestiria waiting for me (although Sorey would approve). Then there’s Dragon Age, Kingdom Hearts, Yo-Kai Watch… not to mention all the popular new games I don’t care for.

The video game fall rush collided with NaNoWriMo, and that’s dangerous. How can you find time to write and play video games as the same time?

Since I’ve managed well enough so far, here you go: my top NaNoWriMo tips for gamers.

1. Schedule Your Time

Don’t give me that look! I know, you have enough schedules to worry about without scheduling your free time as well. Believe it or not, though, it works.

I set aside certain hours to focus on writing. Once those hours pass, I’m free to play games. That makes it easier to work, because a definite end point is in sight.

Alternately, you could schedule your video game time instead. Set aside a couple of hours just for gaming, and you’ll feel better about not writing the rest of the game.

2. Prioritize

This should probably be done together with the previous tip. After all, if you plan some video game hours first, you might be tempted to deviate from your schedule… Not that I know this from experience or anything. Ahem.

But if you get your writing done first, you have nothing to worry about. To stay on pace for NaNoWriMo, you need to write at least 1667 words a day. Maybe you should meet your goal before you turn to other activities.

3. Reward System

1667 words might be too much to do all at once. And maybe you hate schedules. Why not use a reward system instead? Once you write a certain amount, you reward yourself by playing a game.

Maybe 500 words = 1 hour of Zestiria (or Yo-Kai Watch, or Fallout, or whatever you’re playing). Adjust your rewards scale to fit your writing style, and you’ll write faster in no time!

4. Write to Epic Gaming Music

I feel like writing already. Music in general helps me write, but there’s nothing like an awesome video game song to make an exciting scene flow.

In addition to The Legend of Aesir, I recommend Descole’s Theme, It Can Waver and Fight, Announce the Truth 2013, and Black As Sin, Red As Blood.

The downside is that you might get distracted imagining your characters doing epic things without actually writing them. Oops. Hands on keyboard.

5. Let Your Favorite Characters Encourage You

Xillia-Gaius-writingSo you’ve got a schedule, you’ve set your priorities, rewards are in place… and you quietly let it slip away because this game is so much fun.

Then your favorite video game character appears and demands to know why you aren’t writing.

“But I wanted to see you!” you say, controller in hand.

Your character of choice fixes you with an icy glare. “This is your writing time.”


“Write. Now.”

You quickly pause the game and open your WIP.

6. Laugh Maniacally As Your Backlog Grows

Bah, who says you need to play video games? Write! Write more! And when the unplayed games build up into a massive backlog of doom, let out a maniacal laugh and continue writing, because nothing can stop you now! Nothing! Ahahaha!

…What were we talking about?

7. Build A Robot To Help You Multi-Task

Professor Layton Detra-GigantAhahaha!

Think there aren’t enough hours to divide between gaming and writing? Maybe you’re right. The solution? Multi-task!

Yes, put those hours to the most efficient use possible by writing and gaming at the same time. Of course, for maximum efficiency, you’ll need either text-to-speech software and superb powers of concentration, or four hands.

Draw inspiration from the Professor Layton series and create an easy-to-operate robotic machine that will follow your directions to both type and operate the game control while you direct all of its actions from the control room.

Why are you looking at me like that?

8. Ignore Distractions

The absolute best thing you can do is ignore anything that might hinder your writing… such as the ill-conceived advice of an insane writer who thinks you have the time to build giant robots. Disregard my previous two points, and you’ll be on the right track.

I’ll be honest, I had one more legitimate piece of advice to share, but I was so busy laughing maniacally during Tip #6, I forgot it.

So, In Summary…

Schedule your time, prioritize writing, use video games as a reward, and use whatever inspiration keeps you on track. You’ll win NaNoWriMo and play some fantastic games.

Have any tips you’d like to share for dividing your time between writing and gaming (or anything, really)? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments below.

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  4 Responses to “NaNoWriMo Tips for Gamers”

  1. Look at you, grabbing my time management theme.

    To be honest, gaming as reward doesn’t end up working for me.

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