I didn’t do Nanowrimo, and I don’t regret it. I just hope I am in a place to take advantage of the next one when it rolls around; I really was not this November. I submitted my MA, finished my contract as a tutor at uni, and am now watching my bank account grow steadily smaller with each passing week while settling in to live out the prologue of The Hunger Games with the rest of the Western world.
No, I’m not going to talk about that – I was going to write a huge ranty piece about how liberal media is all a doom-and-gloom circle-jerk that has nothing of substance to offer the people it supposedly represents, and how Dungeons & Dragons is the answer to all of our affirmative action problems in this age of “slacktivism” and “keyboard warriors”, but after trying and failing to write that piece multiple times I just ran out of steam, and I take that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. I would have made it happen if I really wanted to. Just like I would have made Nanowrimo work if I really wanted to.
All of this means, writing-wise, that I haven’t been doing very much of it – well, not much Writing, at any rate. Producing words is a different story. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with D&D 5e – I’m still picking it up, but the main issue I immediately took with it is how much Rangers suck. They suuuck. And being me, I spent literally a week revising the Ranger to a point where it seemed playable and fun. I have way too many words devoted to that practice, but at least I finally came to the sobering conclusion that until I actually run a game as DM where I can inflict my homebrew class variants upon other people or become a lead designed for D&D, all of this is just a distraction, and I’ve been feeling it hard. I’ve been really bad about exercise lately, been feeling really shitty – more shitty than usual, which is saying something – and just ultimately finding it difficult to focus on anything that I want to do. Distraction is a buzzword nowadays within certain groups, most of them with a technophobic bent that I am not at all fond of, but there’s something to the whole boredom vs distraction dichotomy that keeps popping up. I’ve been distracting myself for the past month, and it’s had the same result as it’s always had: absolutely none. It’s like trying to pause your life, but we don’t have that mechanic.
I do need to get good and bored, but I also need to have something to do with it.
Thus, I have finally returned to my shitty YA werewolf thing after a month of distractions and lamentations. It’s as shitty as ever, perhaps even shittier now that my brain is so overstuffed with random garbage after not letting myself think clearly for a full month that it’s all coming out when I write. I’m looking at this story I’ve written and … I mean in a sense it’s perfect. It’s really shitty. It’s practically textbook in terms of the way in which it’s shitty, the kind of shitty that snarky internet book reviewers rely upon for their livelihood. I love snarky internet book reviewers for that reason, but I’m including them as part of the formula here because it’s kind of my hope now, that I will achieve critical Toxic YA Novel mass by the time everything is said and done. It’s a kind of achievement. It’s just taken so fucking long to complete, though, that any chance for a genuine sense of accomplishment I could have taken away from this enterprise has long since passed. I’m just forcing it through to completion because I told myself I would, and I have no ideas or plans to replace it. Rote follow-through for the win I guess.
There’s still the possibility of going back once all of this is done and writing the real werewolf novel I started out wanting to write last year, right at the start and height of my werewolf kick. It wouldn’t necessarily be a YA novel, not in the stereotypical way most people think of them at least, which is where most of my existential entertainment has come from in writing this book. It would actually just be kind of a straight-up gothic horror novel. I could get behind that.
I’ve also been finding ways to put off getting really invested in my D&D-inspired fantasy novel, which would have also benefited from more haste on my part; I missed the boat and the momentum is gone now. I keep fucking letting that happen and it’s infuriating. Part of it is that so many of the ideas that I have for that particular story come from other stories I’d like to tell someday, and the overlap bothers me. I’m learning more and more how anal I am about this stuff recently, and beginning to think that there might be more to it than just being anal. I wonder if maybe I have incredibly mild OCD, because while it doesn’t necessarily stop me from functioning, it certainly keeps popping up, and has been this way since I was very young. Hence spending a fucking week revising a class that I will probably never play, even in its official form.
But that’s something I’d like to do: actually find a D&D game to join, or even start one myself. The main issue there is having access to the core rulebooks, which are fucking expensive; yes there are basic versions you can get for free as PDFs and trust me I have those, but I want something more than a trial account, especially if I’m going to be bringing other people into a game that I’m running. But it could be a lot of fun, with the right people. I don’t know who those are, partly because I just generally don’t know a lot of people, or at least don’t know them very well. But it’s an idea that I like a lot, and hopefully will pursue in the near future.
As for the werewolf novel – and all other novels – I really do need to just get away from my distractions for a while. A long while. I’m on my third fucking rewatch of Critical Role, and much as I love it I’m also aware that I’m not really watching it so much for fun as for company, and that’s quite obviously a plan that is never going to work out. And part of why I’ve been putting off my writing projects, much as I enjoy the idea of them, is that they’re also not doing anything to improve my social life. Which is not in and of itself a reason to not write them, but it’s always what I end up thinking when I think about finally getting around to working on them: what they’re not.
Still, better something than nothing, right? I’m going to be trying to hold onto that thought going forward from here; there’s no sense in depriving myself of something I find fulfilling just because it’s not some other thing that I also find fulfilling, and much harder to come by. I’m really wishing my parents had gotten me a therapist when I was 15, when all of this social anxiety crap started. I doubt we could have actually afforded one, but if we could have it might have helped.
Well, too late for that now. This shitty novel is almost finished, and I need to go for a walk after at least a week of not going for walks. I do have some things to do. I should go do them. No more missing out.
So sayeth the Ubermensch! I need to get more mileage out of this stupid gimmick that only I care about. It’s kinda fun.