To Play or To Write

First thing every morning I sit down at my computer with a cup of coffee and check my email and other social media sites. I know a lot of people who do the same thing, and it’s a logical step toward our daily interactions in the virtual world, if not in the real one.

It’s when that task is complete that my day starts to deviate from what others might do. I make my breakfast and return to my computer – not the healthiest practice, but I don’t really care.  At that point I log into my Internet Chess site and immerse myself in my first competition of the day.

I’ve always liked games, physical or mental. A number of years ago I decided to explore what gaming options were available on the Internet. If I hadn’t been limited at the time by the capabilities of my computer, I might have become addicted to any number of time-consuming opportunities. As it was, however, I stumbled upon Internet Chess. It had been many years since I’d played the game, and doing it on screen was quite a different experience, but I was soon hooked.

You’re probably wondering why I’m even talking about Chess on a site devoted to writing, so I’ll get to my point. This morning when I was eating and playing, I was also chastising myself for not getting a move on with my writing. Then I started to think about the game of Chess and all that it involves, even at my rudimentary level. It finally donned on me that my enjoyment of the game makes perfect sense. It’s not unlike reading or writing a mystery novel. Yes, you are trying to win the game, but it’s also a constantly changing puzzle; you’re  trying to figure out step by step how you are going to progress, while at the same time anticipating what your opponent will do.

I could go on with the analogy, but then I really would be putting off work. Suffice it to say that this morning I managed to justify my activity enough to maintain my enjoyment in the game.  Although there’s some disagreement on the issue, I side with Alfred Binet (inventor of the I.Q. Test) when he said, “Could we look into the head of a Chess player, we should see there a whole world of feelings, images, ideas, emotion, and passion.” You could probably say that about most people, but it certainly applies to writers.

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