Thank you to Mithrel Wisdom and Geek Banter for hosting the Level Up Blogfest. This is a great idea for blogfest. I didn't know what I wanted to write at first, but I knew I wanted to play.
I decided to take a look at what the phrase means to a writer, and I found a fun analogy. Hope you enjoy.
When you first start writing, you are not sure how to play the game. You've picked up the controller (the pen) and know that something is pulling you towards it. You want to explore it, see how you do. You press forward and as you come to obstacles, you have to learn how to leap. Oh, you get snagged by that first one, but you stand up, dust off, and try again.
As you navigate through the game, you gain experience. You get points for writing daily, points for editing, points for reading. Those things that once seemed so hard before, now are just tiny obstacles. It starts to become more difficult. Now you aren't just going through simple motions, you are attacking missions-- first draft, query letter, second draft, synopsis, third draft, agent, forth draft, publisher, fifth draft, readers. Each level a new mission.
Somewhere along the way, you realize that you can't beat it alone. You begin to search for other people on the same journey. A band of souls trying to survive each of those levels--just like you. You have to go into the vast web and find them, building a team. Next mission, blogging.
You were unstoppable, but something shifts. You hit sluggish parts of the writing. You feel you have been stuck on one part for far too long. You consider giving up the game. Walking away from all of your work, away from all of your hours of dedication, away from what you once couldn't imagine being away from.
Should you put down the pen?
No. You don't. You keep trying. You may fall down into the same pit, over and over again. But you keep pressing, "play again." You push and push and you break through. You level up.
Image from anarchycamp.tumblr.com