Unless you’re a game scriptwriter or narrative designer, chances are that writing doesn’t come to mind often. However, it plays a big role in development. Far beyond the creative scope of things, consider every other share of copy you have to get done. Doing your own marketing, contacting industry experts, and even writing all the content needed to describe your game on Steam, PSN, or Xbox Live. If you work in a team, guess what? You’re now writing notes to share with everyone in the studio.
Does this mean you needed to major or minor in English? Not necessarily. Writing is something that takes practice and patience, much like mastering the art of painting or sketching something (concept art). The more you do it, the better you get. Suddenly, you’re able to convey thoughts or emotions clearly. Maybe researching and knowing how to organize all the information into an article becomes second nature. And even better, your games’ stories improve!
And luckily for you, there are a few tools that can help ease the time it might take to get good. Here are six tips from the pros, including myself, that are bound to make your writing experience a little easier.
Tools to Stay Organized
First and foremost, here’s a rule that never fails: organization before writing. I can’t tell you how many times I sat down with the intention of writing an article in an hour, only to spend that hour organizing everything first. Truth is, the messier things are around you, the less productive you’re going to be. The less immersed too, for that matter. Writing requires concentration, and to do that, you need a neat digital and physical space.
Consider combining all your emails into one email app, for efficiency. Clean out your apps, and organize whatever is left into clearly labeled folders. And let’s be realistic, you don’t read those post-its, do you? Use your phone to set reminders you’ll actually see, so you can remember to do things.
But don’t stop there! Create a neat writing area to work in. Toss out whatever you absolutely don’t need, and add some elements that truly inspire you. Whether it’s collectibles, or just plants, create an oasis you’ll want to write in. Touch things up, and test things out as you work, to see what flows best on your desk. And don’t forget to add some pillows for back support!
Tools to Improve Productivity
Now that you’ve hopefully cleaned up a writing area, and organized all your digital junk, it’s time to improve productivity. First up is an app called Wordly. It is an effortless word and time tracking app for writers who want to stay aware of how much they’re actually getting done in say, oh, every hour. This free little iOS app can help you stay aware and focused while writing. It can help you set goals, encourage you to write through the entire first draft of your story, rather than get distracted editing in between, and can help you stay on schedule. A blessing during crunch time.
Another app to download is Werdsmith. It’s a mobile portfolio which allows you to write anywhere, anytime, on any device. It syncs to your accounts, and lets you share what you’re working on with your team. Suddenly, the excuse of having no time to write seems really trivial. You can write while waiting in line at a coffee shop, while riding shotgun in a car, or even in between meetings!
Tools to Improve Writing
Fun fact: reading improves writing. Especially if that writing comes in all forms, and in a variety of voices. Blogs are a good way to go. Believe it or not, reading people’s blogs helps you learn what works and what doesn’t in terms of online content and marketing. It helps you see how to connect with readers and followers. As developers, more specifically game writers, this helps you with your social media presence.
But don’t remember, reading should come in all forms and voices. Blogs are generally nonfiction, and written by anyone and everyone. To get a full scope of reading, it’s absolutely crucial to read fiction. I cannot stress enough how important it is. Good old fashioned books, whether in hardback, paperback, or Kindle, can help you learn how to weave a story, how to design narrative, and how to keep the audience’s’ attention. If you don’t really own books, nor a Kindle, download books from Amazon. You can download the Kindle app on your phone or tablet and presto. Android or Apple, it doesn’t matter.
Where to Begin?
Now that you have a list of tips and apps that can benefit you on your journey, what’s your first objective? Well, to write of course! Start off small, by maybe just practicing how to write a better email, and work your way up from there. Read up on web content marketing, or the parts of a story. Whatever you do, make sure you stick with it. Big things always start small.