Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Worldbuilding versus Geometry Homework

A few days ago, my little brother gave me a good idea for a story.

And yes, I kind of stole it. I'm a pirate after all, right?

But anyway, I immediately recognized that some of the characters I made up years ago fit perfectly into the plot for this story. And then I realized I didn't have a setting. So I sat down at my desk at 1:30 to do a little bit of worldbuilding. I drew a small map on an index card, then made up a whole bunch of fantasy-sounding names. Then I drew the outline for a larger map in my nice sketchbook.

I looked at the clock. It was 3:45. Time for me to go to a choir rehearsal thing. When I got back at 6:00, I sat back down to do some more, but my dad called us to the table for dinner. After dinner, I drew a medium-sized map with mountains and rivers as well as the names for all the mountains and rivers. It's now 8:00. And I realize I have geometry homework to do.

Being in high school can be hard. I have a major test coming up this week and an essay to write. Not to mention that geometry. And that's not all. I have to do fifty note cards on the Salem Witch Trials by Thursday! And here I am, trying to plan for a book as well.

There's a very delicate balance between what we can do and what we can't do. And sometimes we have to either walk that line, or make sacrifices to stay on the 'can do' side. I can't do my geometry and still have time for worldbuilding. I have school tomorrow! I have to get to bed on time. And my world is laying itself out so well for me right now. That might not be the case later. So, I have to choose.

Of course, I know that I should do my geometry homework. That's not the point I'm trying to make. The point is that we have to decide how much we're going to sacrifice for writing. If I do my worldbuilding tonight, my grade will drop. I'll have had more fun, and possibly gotten closer to my eventual goal of getting published, but what's more important? School or writing?

Writing is important. It's important to writers. It's important to readers. But what we need to realize is that there are things more important than writing. And we need to be careful not to miss great experiences because we would rather be writing.

The other day, there was a kite festival. Me and my mom and some of my little brothers decided we'd go, but we also had plans to go see a movie so we were going to leave early. One of my brothers stayed home and I almost stayed with him. But I like flying kites so I went. My brothers went home only about half an hour after we got there, but I stayed, flying my mom's amazing boat kite. My mom came back and we kept flying our kites. When it came time to leave, we called my dad and said that we'd like to stay just a little longer. So, they came to pick us up in the car. Well, the way it worked out, we missed the movie and had to go to a later showing. But it was worth it. Completely, 100% worth it. I didn't mind missing the movie at all.

I got to spend time with my mom and my little brothers. In the end, that's probably the most important thing of all. More important than reading or writing, or school, or pretty much anything else.

And if you'll excuse me, I have some unfinished geometry homework to see to.


  1. Great post, Amber! Yes, it's so easy to forget what's most important. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Love it. I tend to choose writing over thingss I know I should do, like cleaning my house. Lucky me, the house waits, unlike a geometry grade. Of course, it's always harder to clean it after it's piled up. Sigh. Oh, well.

  3. A couple of years ago I tried writing for four or five hours a day. I had always thought, "If I could just write for four or five hours a day, I could be truly happy."

    I didn't like it.

    I withdrew from my friends, resented my volunteer work, stopped going to the library. The housework got done, but not much else. After six months of it I decided to go back to two hours a day.

    Ah, much better!

    So I'm going to be a "one book every year or two" sort of author instead of a "two books a year" sort of author. Live with it.

  4. With these kinds of insights already, you've got a great life ahead of you Amber! Remembering what's most important just gets harder as time goes on, but all the more vital to a good life. Also: you have to live life to write about it. :)



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