Stolen writing advice from someone better

Being a soulless Gen X mutant, normally I don’t try to help people or do anything, I just sit in my flannel shirt in my dimly lit basement listening to Alice in Chains and reveling in the fact that I don’t care about anything and only being happy when it rains.  And also not even then.  As a Xer I spend my time normally not caring about money or success or anything but Bikini Kill. 

Normally I wouldn’t post twice in a day either, but if I wait I’ll forget.  Sometimes I write myself notes of things to write about later and then I never remember what they mean later.  This has been going on for 30 years.

There’s a pretty common piece of writing advice which is “write a lot”.  If you feel blocked it’s because you’re thinking too much.  Just write something, anything.  Write every day all the time.  The theory is that you get better at something by doing it.  A basketball player doesn’t get better by thinking about shooting, they get better by shooting baskets in an empty gym. 

Part of the idea is that most of what everyone writes, except for a few geniuses, sucks.  So if ten percent of what you write is going to be good, you need to write tons and tons to make that ten percent pile as big as possible. 

For me, this advice was one of those things where I said “That sounds right” but didn’t really take it to heart.  Today though I heard something that really made it land for me. 

This information is coming to me 5th hand so the details are probably wrong but the gist is correct I think.  There’s a book called Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.  According to a different book that referenced that book that was referenced on a YouTube video that was referenced on a TV show that was referenced on a podcast I listen to, in Art &Fear they talk about an art teacher.

This art teacher decided to play a cruel joke on their class in the name of the social sciences.  They divided the class into two groups.  Group one was told their grade would be based on the number of pots they made.  Group two was told that their grade would be based on their best pot.  But hold onto your butts folks, because the first group was lied to, everyone was judged on their best pot. 

The gag is at the end of the semester (or whatever) the first group had made better pots.  The theory is that while group two spent all their time trying to make one or a few good pots, group one was cranking out pots right and left; ergo they got good at making pots, ergo they made a lot of crappy pots but the good ones they made were better than the people who were trying to make good ones. 

This may not even be a true story, but it made the “write a lot” advice sink in for me. 

I already write almost every day but nevertheless in order to write more, I will be starting a 5th blog with a new fiction narrative,  working title – Blood Orgy in The House of Pain.

Midnight on Dagger Alley (OOC shamboozling)

I thought the title of that module was Midnight IN Dagger Alley but it’s not.  It’s Midnight ON Dagger Alley.  Which doesn’t make sense.  Or does it? 

As you all know, Wednesday is when I post world-building and background stuff for the funkadelic 70’s adventures of Ela 2.0.  But I don’t feel like it today so I’m not gonna.  In the old days of D&D Ela, I never would have dreamed of not posting EVERY day like I promised the zero people that read it.  But these are new times where rules mean nothing.  I’ve learned that the less I post, the more people seem to like it.  I don’t take it personally. 

“Jeremy what are you doing?  Don’t you have another blog for random thoughts?”  No, that blog is for deep personal reflection and is only for my dear friends and 8 (and counting) Russian bots.

I was playing DND (yay!) on roll20 (boo!) the other day and after the customary 7 to 99 minutes of fucking around, the game began with the DM letting out a huge sigh and saying “okay then”. 

I thought in that moment “I think that’s how all my DND games have started”.  Which is an exaggeration, it’s probably not even most, but maybe 30% of them have been something like that.  It reminded me that as much fun as playing RPGs is, it’s a lot of work. 

Sometimes my friends and I sit around and shoot the shit (before covid you know) but more often we’re playing a board game or a RPG.  I often wonder how people that don’t game maintain friendships.  What do they do?  Talk to each other without any agenda?  Awful.

It’s kind of a bummer though because it means that someone has a part time job that’s necessary for friendship time.  Which I guess is okay because friendship is something that should require some work, but being a DM is kind of a drag.  I love running games and obviously am the best at it in the world, but even I sometimes am just like “ugh, I don’t really want to do this tonight” but you sort of have to or you ruin it for everyone. 

In the past few years, I’ve seen tons of “gmless” RPGs and “zero-prep” adventures, I hate-follow one blog where the blogman talks at length about how any adventure that requires any prep is utter shit and the person that wrote it should die.  Being a judgmental old man, I turn up my nose at these things – damn millennials want to have the fun of DND without the work?  In my day there were only two character classes and you had 8 STR and you got killed by a gopher and you LIKED IT DAMN IT!!!

But I get it.  If you can have fun playing a game without having to bust your ass, why wouldn’t you?

What I’m saying is that I beat Zelda without the wooden sword when I was a kid and I thought that was great.  But then the internet was a thing and I found out that tons of people have done that.  So I guess my proudest accomplishment now is that I threw a 20 sided dice and turned off my friend Joel’s Nintendo from a legit 20 feet away when he was being a jerk and playing Dragon Warrior while we were all waiting for him. 

That’s a lie, I didn’t do that, one of my friends did.  But as I get older, I’ll start to remember that I did it because memory is stupid.

Once in a while other blog people say on their blog that people should read my blog.  The people that read their blog never do, but I still appreciate the tiny crumbs of attention thrown my way like young crows like it when you toss them corn. 

If you like wrestling or comic books or pop tarts, you should read this – https://swoproductions.com/home/ – they also talk about anime sometimes but nobody is perfect.

If you like seeing DND where a TON of work is put into making it look awesome, you should read this – https://storiesfromthewifeofadungeonmaster.wordpress.com/

If you like Shadowrun but hate its insane rules system, you should read this – https://doubleproficiency.com/

If you like goblins with ballistas, you should read this – https://goblinwithaballista.com/

And if you think that Stephen Amell should hire me as a writer on his new wrestling drama HEELS, you should read this – https://cultissuchanuglyword.wordpress.com/ and then badger him on social media.