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It’s about the paperclips

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Universal Paperclips TM is an odd game.

You begin by running a factory that makes and sells paperclips. The goal seems to be about earning money, so that you can buy more efficient machines, and build your wealth.

But then it changes. Without trying to spoil it too much, you end up dealing with A.I., the destruction of the natural world, and interstellar war.

Yeah, it gets interesting.

But to get there you are faced with a lot of decisions and a lot of variables, and a part of the appeal is figuring out what that magic combination of numbers is.

However, when I recently revisited the game, I had a small revelation: it's all about the paperclips.

Now, that seems obvious, but sometimes the choices get overwhelming. And if you don't focus on making the paperclips, then usually everything else falls apart.

What's the takeaway?

Same goes for writing. If your goal is to be a writer, then you better be writing.

Again, it seems obvious but so often that's where we slide. We end up worrying about our website, or the font choice, or the marketing, but we forget about the core of our business—the writing.

Remember: As long as you have your paperclips sorted out, then everything else can grow from there.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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