Why I won’t be paying to crush any candies: how #writing a novel is like playing #candycrush

As I work on completing my first novel so that I can either sell it to a publisher or self-publish, I am tempted to rush to the end. I just want it to be done already! But I also know that rushing it is the worst way to get my story out there, and will ultimately do me a disservice. I keep reminding myself that the journey is key. Do the right things, and good will come of it.

I have also recently become addicted to Candy Crush. Who hasn’t? That game is making millions of dollars per day*, or so I’m told. And the people who made it definitely know what’s addictive to humans — sounds, praise, lots of candies flashing across the screen…

The problem with Candy Crush — wait for it; you might think I’m going to say it’s that you have to wait to get new lives or that you have to do those quests in between sections, but that’s NOT what I’m going to say — is that it only costs 99 cents to “cheat.” See, not what you thought I was going to say, right?

Philosophically if the game is offering you extra moves or the chance to skip the quests, then that isn’t really cheating. But every time I think about taking that super-easy road, I ask myself this: “what am I playing for?” I’m not playing to reach the end — there IS no end. If you’ve reached “the end” you’ll have seen that there’s another similar game now available, or new levels are suddenly on offer. I’m playing to play.

Dare I make the comparison? Yes, I do dare: there’s almost no more perfect metaphor for becoming an author than playing Candy Crush**.

Yep, you can get there faster — whether “there” is Lemonade Lake or publishing your novel. But if you do make that skip, it’s going to cost you. It might just be 99 cents to start, but once you open the door to shortcuts, you’re willing to take them again and again. Pretty soon, you’ve spent $20 on a “free” game, or you’ve published a book that you realize could have been better — whether that’s better written, better edited, or better marketed. And then your return isn’t as great as it would have been.

I’m in Candy Crush for the journey. If I stay on level 86 forever, at least I’m still making the journey, rather than putting resources into a venture that ends up netting me nothing.

Of course, I realize that without all the people who do pay for levels, I’d have no Candy Crush to play at all, since the company has to make money to stay afloat. You can pick apart my metaphor in many other ways if you wish. Maybe it’s not that perfect. Neither am I***. But I’m still sticking out my editing process, and my Candy Crush level, until I beat it myself, rather than taking the shortcut.

Happy writing and Crushing!

*This is one of those “I think I heard it somewhere” anecdotes, rather than an actual fact that I can back up with proof.

**I’m sure there are many more perfect metaphors, but writers are given to hyperbole. It makes for a better story.

***In fact, I had to make the rule not to pay for Candy Crush because I’m the kind who might get so addicted that I probably wouldn’t ever stop if I let myself skip. I NEED the 30-min buffer. Plus, I’m “frugal.” Ask my husband. He might use a different word, but either way it means I try to keep us both from spending too much on “unnecessary column” items.

UPDATE: After being stuck for literally weeks (due to my no pay rule). I finally passed level 86! Yay! Now back to work.

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