We forget that a lot, the idea of having fun. I know I have, even though I’ve always tried to enjoy my work. I didn’t get much work done in the past week, simply because I wasn’t having much fun with anything.
I’ve taken a couple of days just to work on that notion, having fun.
Look at Mass Effect 3 for a moment. It is tricky enough to draw people in with a strong role-playing game and storyline, but the third game adds multi-player, not just to give the game an online element, but to actually use non-story game play to enhance the main story. In short, your online character is directly helping fight the war that the main hero (or heroine) Shepard is leading.
It’s a fascinating bit of “we’re all in this together.”
There’s momentum with that game’s story, not just in the sense that Lovecraftian spaceships have invaded the galaxy and are killing everybody, but also in the sense of the player that something must be done. It’s escapism still, since it doesn’t linger on the absolutes of the horror involved, but gives enough to let everyone know that this is bad, no matter who is looking at it.
That’s why escapism is so important to having fun. We get to let go of our mundane lives, our everyday stress, and get behind something that makes us feel like we’ve done something great. It’s true of Mass Effect 3, just as it’s true with The Beatles: Rock Band. Either way, you get to feel like you’re bigger than life, if only for four to six minutes at a time. Combine that with being able to do this as a group and the fun gets magnified.
I mention all this here because everyone needs to unwind and let loose. Somehow, we have to get out of our normal zone of thinking, find some friends, and discover some way to be a super hero–or guitar hero, or science fiction hero–for just a few minutes. We’ll come back to reality refreshed in a way sleep alone can’t fix.
And writers, these sort of things will refill the creative parts of our minds. You’ve got no excuse for ignoring that.