Breaking Up with Candy Crush

candy

This image belongs to King and not me and please don’t take my home, malicious candy tyrant.

I was introduced to Candy Crush by my counselor a few years ago during an especially hard winter. I needed something to engage my brain (and my children) when I was glum and my kids were squabbling and things were generally spiraling downward in flames and screaming. You know, something that wouldn’t take too much thought but steer me off of negative, self-harm-y sorts of thoughts- that sort of thing. Simple distraction.

Hey, look at all the pretty colors!

Aaaaand I was pretty much hooked. Boy, when I needed something to snap me out of dark thoughts, what better than weird little cartoon puppet things and technicolor candies exploding in a rainbow of sugar crystals? But little by little, I found myself turning to it when I wasn’t especially down. And then when I was really feeling fine, just a little bored. And then pretty much every time I turned on the computer.

I realized recently just how much of my writing time I was carving out for Candy Crush- on average, more than half of it. *gulps*

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’m trying to get back on track for my writing goals, and it was quickly becoming apparent that that wasn’t going to happen when I was this addicted to Candy Crush. It was time to make some changes.

Those changes came about on a cloudy Saturday morning when I could not solve this dumb puzzle to save my life and absolutely refused to just fork over the money to buy the special weaponized bonbon that would make progressing easy. I had some infinite life thing and my ever-wonderful husband kept creeping more and more quietly through the kitchen and I cursed and raged at my computer. Eventually, I realized I had been cursing and raging for an hour. I jumped up and grabbed my husband as he slunk through, shoving my computer into his hands.

“Make it go away.”

He glanced down at the weeping puppet girl and then up at me again.

I left the room.

In the days that followed, I would get on my computer, check my emails, and then start restlessly opening and closing internet tabs for several minutes. No games. What’s a girl to do? *facepalms* Oh yeah, maybe write something. Each day took a little less time for me to find my writing groove, until I could get to it without mucking about looking for something sparkly at all.

These last two weeks have been insanely productive. I’ve sent out a new batch of queries, several short stories for potential publication, a short story competition submission, and two grant applications. On top of that, I finished a read through on the draft of my mermaid book from last year and have started compiling notes for a second draft, as well as drafting two new short stories and working through (hopefully) final edits of a short story I hope to start subbing next month. (Mads and Cat, you are beta gods.)

All in two weeks! I am never this productive! Have I seriously been spending this much time doofing around on Candy Crush and YouTube?

Okay. To be fair, these last two weeks have also coincided with the start of the school year, including my youngest spending two hours a day at preschool; also, I stopped my full time job three-ish weeks ago. These things help to free up my mind quite a bit, if not always my schedule. I mean, I’ve started my three part time jobs that I do during the school year so it’s not like I’m sitting around eating bonbons all day. (Note to self: procure more bonbons, you are nearly out.) Realistically, I’m not actually spending that much more time with my computer on any given day. But still, I have more mental energy and, without the burden of compulsive goofing around every time I turn my computer on, I am crazy productive.

We’ll see how long it lasts. But I can unequivocally say that getting the game off the laptop and decluttering my writing habits have been good moves in the writing game. Now, if I need to play Candy Crush for sanity’s sake, I’ll just go do it on the desktop. There are greater inconveniences in the world.

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Proof I Watch Too Much Batman

Shortly after my second child was born, I used to have this nightmare all the time. Some psycho with a scalpel had my kids and demanded I choose which one to save and which one to sacrifice. And in the inherent weirdness of dreams, I could never see anything about this person except hands on my children. There was dried blood caked in the cracks of the skin and dirt under the fingernails. But I could never see its face. I could never think of a solution. The maniac was always just one step ahead of me, mocking me, wielding pointy objects at my babies with no one to stop him/her/it. It was all very Batman. And awful.

Fortunately, it was also ridiculous. Nobody is going to kidnap my kids and pull a Two-Face on me for kicks and giggles. (It’s even less likely than those crazy nightmares about wolf attacks.) However, the last few weeks have made me look at two things that I love very much and choose which one to save, and which one to sacrifice, at least on a temporary basis.

I love writing. Love, love, love. But I love my family more. So it’s been a hard couple of weeks, with very little editing and almost no actual writing. Without my writing, I quickly go into maniac mode. But without attention and care and food and doctor visits and stuff like that, my family quickly goes into dead mode. So it struck me as kind of an easy decision to make. Writing got the scalpel.

But! Fear not, gentle reader, this is not the end. I prefer to think of it as the moment when everything looks its darkest, when our plucky protagonist seems beaten and the world about to fall under evil dominion forever. But she’s still got a few sneaky tricks up her sleeve. (Which is good, because this wait-it-out thing only gets you so far when evil is trying to dominate the world forever.)

Life seems to be stabilizing. Pretty soon, the excuses well should be drying up. So here’s the deal: my mid-year-life’s-crisis resolutions. I’m currently about halfway through editing my Camp NaNo project. Next Monday, I want to be another quarter through, and the final quarter on the Monday after that. (That’s about three-and-a-half chapters a week- manageable if I hustle.) On each of those weeks, I will write an actual, true-for-reals blog post that isn’t just me talking about my endless parade of personal problems. (Not that you ever get tired of that.) And to make those things possible, I will commit to working at least an hour a day on writing stuff. If I fail in any of these commitments, I want the entirety of the internet to send me their strongest psychic slaps, the combined power of which should make me cross-eyed for at least a year. And I don’t want that.

So. Start prepping that telekinetic battery. If I can hear you popping your knuckles from here, I’m that much more likely to sweat out some writing.