Everyone has a source that inspires them to do something creative. You may think this odd, but for me that source is video games and anime. I’m definitely a nerd at heart. I’ve recently been so busy with juggling work and networking events that I was pulled away from the things that fill my imagination. Now, as I’m writing my next book (which I’m planning to be the first in a series), I found my brain needed some creative nourishment and I’m back to enjoying the things I love. So, I’d like to share with you why those mediums aren’t a waste of my writing time, why they work for me, and what specific works I resonate with. If you have a similar process or a favorite manga or videogame, I’d love to hear all about it as well!
I’m not wasting my time
There’s a lot of people who think that gaming and watching TV don’t add anything to your life. As a writer, it’s easy to fall into this way of thinking because we’re obsessed with pounding out a certain amount of words per day. I’ve tried to downplay the fact that I enjoy such things just so I didn’t get the stigma of being lazy, but this isn’t always the case. In an episode of The Creative Penn podcast, author Michaelbrent Collings explains just how doing something seemingly inane can be, in fact, productive. Watch the clip below at 11:58-13:30 to hear his thoughts.
Collings speaks in terms of being a writer, but the same mentality can be applied to any outlet. As he says, “…I’m not just fooling around. It is for a real professional purpose.” Now, I’ve been guilty of getting carried away with the enjoyment of everything, but after hearing this I don’t feel so bad. If I’m having a hard time getting words on a page, going to TV and games is my natural way of refilling my brain with possibilities. I’ll just have to start taking notes so that I’m still working and not slacking off.
The Anime Influence
If you’re a fan of Japanese animation, then you already know what’s so special about it. It’s a cartoon, but they usually contain content for teen or adult audiences. Back in middle school, when I got hooked on Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, they were a nice break from the usual animated shows I’d watch. Instead of trying to be funny and having only two secluded 15-minute episodes packed into one half hour, these programs gave me a continuous story. Characters changed, some died, and I was taken on a journey I’d never experienced on TV. These action-packed anime shows illustrated to me just how well fantasy and science fiction could be done. Here is a list of some of my favorites:
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Cowboy Bebop
- Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Death Note
- Read or Die (OVA and TV series)
To this day, I still watch this stuff because it gives you something completely different and original from popular American fantasy and sci-fi. That doesn’t mean they get it right all the time, and I absolutely love a lot in those genres from creators in the States. But it’s good to get something different.
Gaming the System
Another of my favorite things to do is play video games. This medium has provided so many influences in my writing because you get an immersion into a world unlike your own. You can’t quite get that anywhere else. Books are the only equivalent, but certainly a slower pace. The Final Fantasy series blew me away when I was first introduced by its tenth game. The deep stories of that series and others like it inspired me to begin creating my own. Not only that, but I constantly thought of ways to do it better. Now, I like my fighting games as well, but not for story; just for gameplay. If you catch me online playing one of these, I’m probably taking a break…or wasting time. Here are some of my favorite games:
- Dead or Alive
- The Elder Scrolls
- Mass Effect
Enough About Me, What About You?
If you play video games or watch anime, what are some of your favorites – past or present? And if you consider yourself an artist, how has this influenced your work? I’m really looking forward to reading some of your answers. Comment below and let’s see what we have in common!