Writing Power-Ups

super better Have you ever heard of SuperBetter?* Now in Beta testing, this website/game is designed to help people recover from just about everything. From their web site:

SuperBetter is powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection. Every mission in the game is directly inspired by leading-edge research in psychology, neuroscience and medicine — research that helps us understand how we can increase our ability to become stronger and more successful in the face of challenges and the pursuit of our goals.

Although this project was initially inspired by its creator’s struggles to overcome traumatic brain injury, beta testers are now using its principles to make changes such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Overcoming addictions
  • Conquering post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Improving health in the face of chronic illness
  • Recovering from an injury
  • Meeting fitness goals
  • Improving sleep patterns
  • Lowering stress

power-upsIt’s pretty cool!

One especially cool aspect of the game is the idea of “Power-Ups”. They’re the real-life version of those little glowing spheres a video character can collect in order to restore health or energy in a video game, activities or items that re-energize, inspire, soothe, or otherwise make your life better. These are different from rewards. They’re intended to improve your “positivity ratio”, because research shows that positivity has numerous benefits, including increased creativity and decreased anxiety.

What does this have to do with writing? 

What can I say? I have a one-track mind, and when I find nifty tools for self-improvement, I like to think about how it might be applied to my writing life. This idea of “power-ups” is a great addition to the writer’s toolbox. They can be used fuel creativity, counter negative self-talk, energize, inspire—basically, to inject some positive into the day-to-day of being a writer.

SuperBetter inspired me to make a list of writing power-ups to help me keep my balance as a writer—and to give me a jump-start when needed:

  1. Take a reading break
    • Read a book on writing craft
    • Read an inspirational book or article
    • Splurge on that new novel from a favorite author
  2. Take a walk
  3. Take a field trip
    • Venture forth on a research-gathering mission
    • Or a people-watching mission
    • Or bike to the local coffee shop for a change of writing scenery
  4. Pick up a fancy pen
  5. Treat myself to a new notebook
  6. Play with words
    • Write a poem
    • Write to a prompt
    • Brainstorm kooky story ideas
  7. Get social
    • Give myself a Twitter break
    • Or visit some writing friends’ blogs
    • Or call up a local writing buddy for a write-in—or just to chat
  8. Indulge in my writing space
    • Light a candle
    • Clear some clutter
    • Create a montage of inspirational objects
    • Add some flowers
  9. Journal
    • Clear your head by journaling about life
    • Or journal about a character, plot idea, or setting
  10. Be meditative
    • Meditate
    • Take a few deep breaths
    • Yoga
    • Crochet

Please add your power-up ideas in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!

*For more information about SuperBetter, its creator, and the science behind it, check out Gamer Heal Thyself With Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter.

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know - www.cherylreif.com

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]


  1. says

    SuperBetter?? I’m in! I have a list similar to yours, Cheryl. I like to do Sudoku puzzles and find-a-word puzzles, so I would add those to the list. I don’t always take the time to do them!

  2. says

    Wow! That sounds like an awesome way to get writing done without stressing too much! I especially enjoy your number four: Pick up a fancy pen! Mind if I put it on my power-up list too?=)

  3. says

    What a great list of Power-Ups! Thanks for checking out SuperBetter, and I’m glad that part of the game resonated with you and could help you out with your goals. (By the way – if you’ll forgive the shameless plug – the game opens to the public for beta on March 9. We’re pretty health/wellness focused, but we’d love you and your readers to play!) :)

    Jessica McDonald
    Director of Community | SuperBetter Labs

    • says

      Hi Jessica, please, shameless plugs for great programs are always appreciated! I’ve found the SuperBetter program to be extremely motivating both for health and writing :). Thanks for stopping by!