Dundracon and Blogged Writing Advice

This weekend I attended Dundracon.  It was the first one I’d been to since ’98.  It was at the same hotel, and used the same rooms.  When I attended DundraCon before, I was a lot younger, and much hungrier for games.  Also, my trips to DundraCon were as much about seeing my friend David as they were about roleplaying games.

I expected to be one of the older guys this year.  Twenty years ago, I remember everyone being roughly my age, with a handful of older guys joining in games.  I thought I was going to be one of those older guys.  Instead, most everyone was… my age.  There were younger folk in attendance, but I didn’t feel like I was out of place.

How did I enjoy the con?  Well, I only played in two games.  I think that if I’d stayed in the hotel, I might have tried to participate more.  Since the con was only about an hour and a half away, I slept in my bed each night.

I think I wasn’t really in the mood.  I still love roleplaying games, but I found that I didn’t have a lot of patience.  Both games I played in had players that really got on my nerves.  They were fine people, and I was as nice to them as I could muster, but there wasn’t much compatibility between the way we gamed.  I’m in it for the collaborative story telling and the character development.  I’m not sure what these other folk were interested in.  Something different.

It was good playing with Pol and Dael, though.  I haven’t played with them in ages.

I was hoping that the long weekend would quiet my inner monster, which has been growling and snarling and pumping acid through my veins.  I’ve been impatient with everything and everyone.  I’ve been having difficulty finding enjoyment in anything.  Writing has been a real struggle.

I read this post by Setsu that suggests that I should find some creative outlet to sooth my strife.  That sounds easier said than done.  I also read this post by Emma Newman where Emma talks about her own inner monsters, and it mirrors the sort of things I’ve been feeling.  Both posts offer interesting insights and opposing action items.  If I follow Setsu’s path, I will grit my teeth and pour myself into my writing until I feel better.  If I follow Emma’s path, I will take a deep breath, relax, and try not to stress myself out while allowing myself time to recharge.

Both arguments appeal to me.  I pushed myself very hard for a protracted period of time.  It might not be that good for me to push myself with my writing.  On the other hand, I haven’t done that much writing, and achieving some success in getting some words on the page might lift my spirits and chase the monsters away.

The night’s still young.  I have time to figure out what I’m going to do.  Tomorrow I’m writing for sure.  Tonight?  We’ll just have to see.


2 thoughts on “Dundracon and Blogged Writing Advice

  1. Maybe you could do both? Grit your teeth and pour yourself into your writing, and then when the writing session is over, let go. Really let go. And give yourself rest.

    I know, easier said than done, right?

    • Definitely easier said than done.

      Looking at what Emma Newman’s post on the Refractory Period, where she describes how a synapse can only fire every so often, and requires a recharge before it can fire again, I have to wonder if it is possible to do both. If I can grit my teeth and force myself to be creative, do I really need to take a break? If there’s no gas left in my tank, is it healthy to push?

      I’m still figuring this out, and I think I’ve made mistakes in this area in the past. There are times when I should have pushed, because the effort would have been good for me, breaking me out of an unhealthy cycle of self-blame and guilt. There are times when I should have backed off and rested, giving myself a chance to recharge, recover, and reflect on the good that I’ve done.

      Writing this post was an effort to figure out where I’m at now, because when you’re in the dark, everywhere can look and feel the same. And I’ve definitely been in the dark.

      Last night, I wound up looking through my notes for my fantasy novel for a little while. Then I put them away, fixed myself a glass of wine, and watched a couple of episodes of Firefly. Today, I’m feeling quite a bit better, and I think my writing tonight will be more successful. I think I made the right choice last night.

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