It’s been ten years this month that Asheron’s Call came out, and not quite ten years that I experienced my first MMO. And while most people might be going “AC? What’s that? It’s not UO, and it’s not EQ… never heard of it!” for me there are some very strong associations that persist to this day.
For one thing, I met my husband there. Well, he wasn’t at the time, but he is now. So AC is effectively to blame for me coming to the US. That whole thing is a little bittersweet in parts (I miss my friends back there dreadfully), but I guess life is about moving forward. I don’t regret coming here; I do wish someone would hurry the hell up and invent a teleporter and the Instant Money For Free Tree so I can have my mates over to visit, or go visit them, whenever I like.
Aside from the spousal unit, I also met a core of people with whom I’m still e-friends to this day. I’ve only met a few of them “for real”, but after 5-10 years hanging out with folks, it’s pretty hard not to get to know them. Actually, AC is therefore effectively to blame for my wanting to move to Albuquerque — a handful of those friends live there, and after one visit there last month I was sold. As an alternative to the Dallas/Fort Worth area it probably didn’t have to work that hard anyway.
And, of course, it started me on the MMO road. So I guess we can probably blame AC for my blogging, too. So if you want somewhere to send “You idiot! Look what you made her do!” mails, send em to Turbine. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.
1. It’s Monday morning, where’s my Dragon Age?! I know, I know, they have until tomorrow, but it had better be on my doorstep tomorrow morning or I am having a major hissy fit.
2. Yesterday was Day1 of “Write, bitch, and no excuses this time!” and I managed roughly two and a half thousand words. So I’m relatively happy.
3. I am incapable of getting to the point even in fiction. Aieee.
If any of you reading this have danced around the idea of NaNoWriMo or generally around the idea of trying to write something, but have managed to slither out of it through a combination of apathy, procrastination and terror, then maybe my experiences can be of some help. I’m not trying to bully or cajole anyone into NaNo — for me, it’s helpful to have a deadline and a public commitment, but that’s all it is. Others may find that stifling. Others still might like the competitive aspect, or the idea that you can win some kind of a prize for it (just don’t ask me what it is, I’m not motivated by shiny items).
However, getting irritated at an artificial deadline is a sign of procrastination (at least in me). Most author-advice pieces I read have them all saying pretty much the same thing: if you want to be a writer you need to a) write, and b) write even when you don’t want to. Not wanting to is a luxury for those to whom writing is a mere hobby.
I started writing fiction in the 4th grade (thanks to some stunningly great and fondly remembered primary school teachers) and I wrote pretty constantly until about 15 years ago, at which point I stopped cold. I haven’t written any fiction since, not counting game stuff for live events or tabletop campaigns; those don’t count.
I don’t know why I stopped and I don’t know why it became impossible to start again, but there you have it. So for me, NaNoWriMo is an attempt to prove to myself that I can still put out fiction and that writing paralysis can be overcome. Turns out it’s quite easy once you figure out how; the hard part is working out what will motivate you and give you just enough courage to get the day’s pages out of the way. Oddly enough, knowing that thousands of people were also planning, pondering, procrastinating and putting pen to paper did help; it makes you feel less alone while still allowing the solitude many (myself included) prefer when it comes to actually writing stuff.
Note that at this point I don’t care about being read — that’s a whole ‘nother hurdle I’ll face when the time is right. But I’ll tell you one thing: if I can put out 10,000 words during this month, let alone the 50k NaNo demands, then it’ll be about 10,000x as much fiction as I’ve written in the last decade. Quality is irrelevant here: it’s the doing that matters.