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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.


Change is the enemy – I need stability to write

Apparently the saying “you learn a new thing every day” does hold some truth. Though in my case it’s more of a “you learn something every day, but it takes several months and quite a lot of stumbles before it takes”.

Case in point: BLOGGING.

As much as I love giving progress reports and updates on what it is I’m working on, I’m far more comfortable talking about it on Twitter or face-to-face with a friend. If I have to write up a post, it feels too much like writing about nothing. It’s this overwhelming feeling I get (social anxiety – a gift that keeps on giving) where it feels wrong and pointless to get peoples attention without something significant to present. No book (because, you know, it’s getting written or edited), so what’s the point of a separate post just to tell people where I’m at. Result? A post every couple of months that gets posted, because I feel like I should put something new out there.

Having a full-time job doesn’t help either. Though I enjoy it a lot, it’s a challenging one. And it’s full of changes and all the stress that comes with them. It does pull my focus away sometimes.

And here’s the thing I learned (now that it finally sunk in):

I write the most when my life is stable and I’m not dealing with too much stress. Routine really helps me, especially if it’s a quiet one that doesn’t involve too much external noise. I know, how very introvert of me.

So I spent a lot of time this past year in an effort to eliminate as much stress out of my life as possible because I figured that my mental health is important and I can’t achieve what I want in life if I’m a big ball of anxiety who can’t even enjoy the success.

So maybe I won’t be blogging on a schedule (going against all the advice people have for writers who want to develop a platform), and maybe the posts will not be as SEO friendly as they should be, but they will be more personable and more personal. Because why not?

Take a deep breath, me, there’s a whole world out there, waiting for you. It’s not going anywhere.

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