Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

Procrastinating like a Pro (Writer)

This week has not been the most productive in the history. Work has been challenging, with one of my colleagues out sick, and me having to cover for her. And we know what impact change and stress have on me. On top of that my laptop fell apart – like, literally, the bottom part cracked open every time I moved it, making me afraid to even try and adjust the screen.

So I took the plunge and got myself a spanking new laptop with a 4-year warranty so that I don’t have to worry about it dying on me anytime soon. But getting new hardware came with all its own problems: I spent almost 4 hours installing software and making sure things looked and worked the same way on the new machine, so it didn’t feel completely alien to me.

And here is where I make my confession.

My old laptop was a cheap, one-step-away-from-a-typewriter kind of a laptop. Which is one of the reasons why it only survived 3 years with me. I murder my machines with hardcore heavy usage. So when the time came to pick a new model, I figured, hey! I could get a gaming laptop. Those puppies are designed to handle anything people throw at them! They could handle 10K/day intense NaNo sessions!

And I could finally reward myself with a game or two of Hearthstone after a productive day. That would be awesome!

What could possibly go wrong, right?

Well, I got a new laptop, it’s wonderful, even if I’m still getting used to it. But after I installed everything I could think off, I also installed Steam and decided to install one game, to see if the graphics were working.

I proceeded to spend the rest of the week “testing” my laptop by playing Dream Daddy. So yeah, no actual work got done this week, but I got a happy ending with Mat, Craig, and Hugo, so I call this round of “tests” a success XD

Thankfully my friend Megan Linden decided to have a productive weekend and talked me into having one as well. So, who knows, I might catch up on all the tasks and finish the week on a high note 🙂

NGL, Role Playing Games are making me a better writer

It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of Critical Role, an amazing D&D show where a bunch of voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. I mean I focused my entire Word Crawl around their previous campaign. I love that show so much I’m willing to get up at 4 am on Fridays (every once in a while when I don’t have to work) to watch them live.

Over time, it became something of a comfort food for me. Every week, for four hours, I watch amazing, improvised storytelling and get lost in those characters and their adventures.

On top of watching that show for years, I’ve been playing various Role Playing Games for years (had my very first session at 6, though, admittedly, I wasn’t very good at it back then). And here’s a thing:

I’m pretty sure playing RPGs, as well as watching others play, has made me a better writer.

I learned that

  • Failure can be fun too! And if the character always knows everything and always succeeds and what they set out to do it’s takes out the drama. Barely succeeding is also fun.
  • Sometimes leaving things to chance can be fun
  • I don’t have to dwell on plot and character decisions, just make them in the moment and see where it takes me.
  • When in doubt, improvise.

There are still things I should work on as a writer, and I do realize that because it’s something of a different animal, not everything that works in D&D will translate into good writing, but it definitely gets my creative juices flowing and keeps me open to all sorts of weird plot possibilities.

As a side note, one day I’ll write an entire novel like it’s a D&D campaign, rolling dice when my characters take actions to see what happens next.

 

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