Sunday, January 08, 2012

What I Learned from my Sims 3 Writer

My daughter received Sims 3 for Christmas and as much as I tried to stay away, I couldn't help it. The new version has writer as a career. *rubs hands together in glee* So here are a few things I've learned from playing Sims 3. My character's name is Stella.

1. Playing Sims is a time suck. I knew this before, but dang, hours will pass without anything really happening as you watch your little character run around the screen doing nothing as well. Unfortunately, time suck means time not spent writing. Time not spent writing means that the books don't get done, which means nothing to turn in, which means no income. Hmmm...

2. Stella starts out with a rapidly decreasing needs bar. She has to go to the bathroom, make food, sleep, shower, have fun and talk to other people. Otherwise she gets really cranky. Lesson: Take time to be a human. We need all these things too.

3. Writing without breaks makes for a cranky Stella who won't continue write until you give her some fun. Fun includes reading a book, playing video games or hanging out with a friend. Lesson: We need to have fun once in a while. Maybe it doesn't have to be a four hour marathon of Sims 3, but 15 minutes of doing something else every couple of hours should help.

4. If Stella doesn't leave the house for a while, she goes stir crazy. Simply going out to the bookstore or library or anywhere there are other people for an hour is sufficient for her to remedy the situation. Lesson: Leave the house and clear your head every now and then. Being cooped up is bad for your mood. Even better go out with someone and chat about stuff before returning home to work.

5. If Stella doesn't write, she can't pay her bills and has to get a job or her stuff will be repossessed. Lesson: If this is your career, you can't sit and play all day and expect to be paid. You must work on your book and finish it to reap the rewards of royalties.

6. Stella is loaded. She brings in 100,000 simoleons every week from over 20 books. But she's had no time to develop relationships. Granted there was that one guy, but the jerk ended up being in a relationship. Jerk. Lesson: It would be wonderful to earn tons of money from book sales, but without my family what would it matter. Keeping up relationships is more important than writing. At least to me.

7. Stella is loaded because she finished over 20 books. Lesson: Watching a Sim type is not the same as doing the work yourself. Unfortunately we can't speed up time until we are finished a book. We have to put in the real time and that means not procrastinating by playing games or watching TV or whatever it is that keeps up from writing.

So my Sim has taught me quite a bit about what kind of writer I want to be. I need to be more balanced in my approach to writing. I need time to play and take care of myself and my family. But I need to make writing a priority in my life and not keep shoving it to the space that should be reserved for playing Sims. I figure I'm going to use working on my Sims family (she cloned herself :) who needs a man...well me, but not Stella) as a reward for finishing my goals. Incentives do help ;)