How Writing is like Candy Crush

Like probably a few of you, I've become addicted to a certain game on my phone, Candy Crush. I tried to resist it, but the call was too strong. It's not unhealthy. Really.

No, really. I lunge for the phone a couple minutes after the lives come back. I only dream about it a few times a week.


Anyway, I realized this morning that my current favorite game has a lot in common with my other favorite pastime career obsession, writing. Here are a few ways, in no particular order:


--There are always more levels.*
No matter how far you get--having an agent, getting a book contract, getting a starred review--there are ALWAYS MORE LEVELS. You can pound on one of those levels for weeks in Candy Crush (hello, level 65) or years in writing, and then you finally, finally get it! You dance and pound your fist! And then you hit "Next." It's never over, and you're never satisfied with your progress for long. Who gets level 65 and stops?
Especially if you're like me. I get a level, woot, and immediately move to the next one before I even take a break. Yes, I do this in writing too.
*There probably is an actual limit to Candy Crush levels. I wouldn't know. I'm on 108.

--The obstacles change, and get harder as you go.
When I hit chocolate, I was like WTH IS THIS I WILL NEVER GET PAST THIS, and kind of despaired. Just like when I got all those piled-up agent rejections, long ago. But I figured it out, and got past that part. And then I hit the bombs. (Leaving my past agent, I guess, would count as the bombs...or when I quit temporarily.) I figured that out too, eventually. With a lot of swearing and wanting to cry. (argh bombs!) Now I am juggling bombs and chocolate and licorice on one screen and still getting past. Now I have a book deal, and keep reaching for more, keep writing more, keep improving. I have no idea what the next obstacles are, in Candy Crush or writing. But I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to get past them. So are you.

--It requires both skill and luck to get past the tough levels.
Yes, that's right. I'm saying sometimes you need to have all the striped candies and round ball thingies (what are those called?) fall in the right places to win. Sometimes you need to land in someone's inbox at the right time, be on the right edge of a trend, talk to the right person. Sometimes you need luck too. Oh, and sometimes you need help. I have looked at those cheat sites, on occasion, for tips. I have certainly asked fellow writers what to do next. A lot.

--Candy and chocolate are involved.
C'mon, you get this one. We're WRITERS. Sugar is fuel for the brain.

--There are forced waiting periods.
One thing I find soooo frustrating about Candy Crush is the life expiry...and even more, the forced 24-hour breaks for quest levels. I don't like waiting. I want to keep moving forward.
Writing has forced waiting periods too. LOTS. Once you get into the publishing part, more forced waiting periods than you could have imagined. I still don't like them. But I understand them. I have to wait until it's my turn again.

--Despite how difficult it is, and frustrating, it's also fun. And you just keep going back.
This. Exactly, mostly, this. I can't stop. I can't quit. I have to push, and try, and hit Next. Even knowing there is no "end".* I will make it past level 108, eventually. I will make it to the next level of writing. And the next.

Now if you'll excuse me, for just a couple minutes. My lives just came back.