Are you living a video game? Leveling up? Dying? Trying again? It’s a lot like being a writer, isn’t it? You’re a hero, new writer. Enjoy the adventure that is being you!


by Adrian Faulkner

As a fantasy fan it’s hard to avoid MMORPGs. Even if you’re not personally a fan of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, it’s likely you’ve heard of games such as World of Warcraft, Everquest or Lord of the Rings Online. Those not already based on beloved franchises have spawned books and collectibles.

Many a writer has lost hours to these sorts of games, such that most authors have given up on them to dedicate the hours they used to spend raiding, to writing instead. But is it any wonder when playing an MMO is so similar to a writing career?

At its core, an MMO is about gaining experience so that you can level up. That’s not very different to a writing career where you write lots, gaining experience so that your writing improves. MMO players gain new abilities as they level their character up; writers unlock more skills to keep in what many call their “writer’s toolbox”. And just as you master one writing technique, so you’ll push yourself to try more complicated things and further your writing ability.

One of the downsides to many MMOs is the grind. Your quests often involve killing creatures over and over again, waiting for that elusive item to drop as loot. This can be both time consuming and tedious. But is a writing career any different? You’ll find yourself writing a piece and then editing it over and over again before you’ll feel it ready for submission. And just as a MMO will start you off on small inconsequential quests to kill ten rats, so you might find yourself writing small pieces to start with – articles or flash fiction.

In the vast majority of MMOs, death is merely an inconvenience rather than something final as in the real world. You might lose some experience or cash, but you’ll essentially resurrect and then proceed from where you left off. Writers, on the other hand, suffer rejection, but just as an MMO character that has levelled up will no longer be killed by mere rats, so the writer as they gain experience will find writing projects that once daunted them and caused them to be rejected, to be much easier with a better success rate.

You’ll find at the start of your writing career that you’ll have plenty of company, people who want to write and are busy working on stories and novels. But just as low level MMO players get bored and quit, so some unpublished writers give up after just a few rejections. Both in MMOs and writing, dedication and persistence count for a lot. You won’t complete an MMO in a day. Likewise it’s unlikely your first rough draft novel will get a publishing deal….

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