How Writing Books is like Kerbal Space Program

kerbal-space-programIt’s tortured analogy time here at I’ve been playing Kerbal Space Program this week, and it just struck me today how it’s like writing and publishing books. If you don’t mind me grasping at straws, here goes.

In KSP, you make rockets and then try to fly them up into space, to the Moon, to Mars, etc. And when you do that, you find out that it’s actually pretty difficult to build a rocket that can fly up into space. After all, it is literally rocket science.

Then, when you finally manage to get into space, you crash back down into the planet, because you’ve no idea how to get into orbit. When that happened to me, I went looking for help and found some tutorial videos on how to obtain orbit.

But just getting into orbit isn’t enough, once I could manage that. Then I wanted to land on the Moon. Landing on the Moon is even trickier and I crashed into it a bunch of times. So I went looking for tips again and found a lot of them. Eventually, after a lot of trial and error, I managed to land on the Moon.

So then I set my sights on Mars (Duna) and after a lot of trial and error made it there. Alex (my three-year-old son) and I whooped and hollered, high-fiving at reaching Mars as if it was real life and we were NASA.

Then I figured Venus (Eve) couldn’t be much harder. After all, it’s nearer the Sun, so it should be easier, right? Wrong. I couldn’t even make orbit, so I went looking for tips again and found them. Then last night, I orbited and then landed on Venus.

So how is all of this like writing and publishing a book?

1. It’s difficult to even get off the ground without help.

2. Once you do get off the ground, it can seem like you’re burning your rockets for a long time without much happening.

3. Sometimes you’re burning your rockets and not going anywhere because your rocket is pointed the wrong way.

4. When you start, doing the simplest things seems daunting. After a while, you’ll go looking for greater and greater challenges. Don’t try to fly to the Moon on your first try.

5. There’s always someone on the internet with good advice, if you can find them.

6. Sometimes it can be frustrating to try and fail a lot, but persistence pays off.

7. Make sure to cheer, find someone to hug and high-five when things go right. You should celebrate victories.

Anyway, that’s how I think KSP is like writing. Have a great day!


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3 thoughts on “How Writing Books is like Kerbal Space Program

  1. That analogy was in some ways like baked beans in a can, in that it was provided in a container that is taller than it is wide and the part that wasn’t analogy was equally key to meeting the users expectation of what it would be.

    Also: all our victories are belong to us.

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