Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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NaNoWriMo Completed, And Now For My Slow Recovery From Word Overdose

December 3, 2012

NaNoWinner

My poor blog didn’t see much activity in November, but didn’t I predict that all my writing efforts would be poured into National Novel Writing Month? Ultimately, though, it was worth it! Another year, another win!

Still, I have to say I came this close to karate chopping my keyboard in half towards the end, wondering to myself, “Why the hell am I doing this again?!”  (Of course, I’m pretty sure I said that to myself last November too.) Despite meeting the 50,000 word goal, I had a real rough time this year, whereas last year the words just seemed to roll off my fingertips onto the word processor.

Here are graphs showing my stats from 2011 vs. 2012. Compared to last year, you can see there are so many days this year where I barely made my daily word count, writing only as much as I had to to meet par.

Stats2011

2011

Stats2012

2012

There’s a couple obvious reasons for this, the biggie being a nine-month-old to look after this time, followed by the fact I’d started taking art commissions again and I always get a lot of projects around Christmas. I’m proud that I finished NaNoWriMo and still managed to juggle all my day-to-day obligations, but that pretty much meant my pastimes went out the window — stuff like blogging, gaming, reading, etc. When one uses helpful websites like Raptr and Goodreads to track one’s hobbies, it’s very noticeable when time spent doing those activities takes a giant nosedive.

Basically, I wrote whenever I had free time, and didn’t stop until I hit my daily word count. I told my fellow blogger and NaNo participant Rowan that I think I do a lot better when I’m working under pressure, so giving myself a quota of 1667 words to meet each day got my ass motivated to write, much more so than if I’d told myself I have a whole month to write 50K words. With the latter, I’m sure I’d only be tempted to procrastinate.

Anyway, I can’t deny I’m a little burned out. That’s the negative part about pushing yourself to write almost 1700 words a day; it’s very tiring and mentally draining, and while I had a lot of fun and I’m glad I did this again, boy, am I just glad November’s over. Given the transient nature of my memory, however, I’m sure I’ll just forget all about the pain and pressure again the next time NaNo rolls around, heh. Thing is, just like last year, I managed to “win” but didn’t actually get to finish my novel, a romance/fantasy tentatively titled Mage’s Fire (hush, I know I suck at names). So maybe in 2012, I’ll take a page from Blue Kae’s book and have myself a NaNoFiMo, as there may be a couple dozen K words left in this story yet.

In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it takes me a little while to ease back into blogging, but I’ll most definitely be back here writing again, maybe real soon, too! In part because I just vowed to spend the holiday season playing games until my eyes bleed out.

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It’s NaNoWriMo Time Again

November 1, 2012

I know, I’m nuts. Here I am constantly lamenting the fact there aren’t enough hours in the day to satisfy my gaming addiction, and then I turn around and do something crazy like participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

If you’re participating as well, here’s a link to my profile, and please feel free to add me as a writing buddy. Seeing others’ progress helps motivate me, and trust me, this time I’ll need all the motivation I can get.

To be honest, I know I’m probably in way over my head. The only reason I even have an outline right now is because my electricity was out for two days and during that time I was able to scratch out some notes using good old fashioned pen and spiral bound notebook. But I had so much fun last year, I just had to do it again. I’m no NaNoWriMo veteran like some bloggers, but it felt so good reaching my goal in 2011 that I think it’s a tradition I’d like to continue.

For those on the fence about participating, it’s not too late; just sign up, track your progress, and write! I told myself that the worse that can happen is that I don’t make 50,000 words this year, but if I do reach it again (or get close to it), it’ll mean yet another one of my ideas finally making its way out of my head and onto paper, and I do have quite a few of those sloshing around up there that I’d like to get out. Bottom line: there’s certainly no harm in trying.

Last year I wrote an Urban Fantasy, and this year I think I’ll attempt a Romance, and my plan is to try and pound out at least 1700 words a day. So, if I’m a little quiet on this blog in the next month, you’ll know why!

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NBI Wrap Up

May 31, 2012

As we come to the last day of May, so ends Newbie Blogger Initiative Month. I would like to thank Syp once again for organizing the event, and by all accounts it was a huge success.

I’d like to wish the best of luck to those newbie bloggers who have taken the plunge. It’s a great experience, and I hope it brings you as much pleasure and joy as it has brought me.

It’s also a wonderful way to meet friends, and for me that’s the best part of all. I didn’t get a chance to do a proper write-up of why I first decided to blog, but I will say now that a big part of it had to do with a lack of people in my real life to whom I can talk about my gaming hobby. It’s not so fun when you’re excited about something but have no one to geek out with. This blog, however, has led me to others who shared my interests. I learned that game bloggers are part of an extremely welcoming community. Some I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, others I have not; regardless, I consider a lot of them to be my closest friends.

My final piece of advice: keep blogging. Write about what you like, write about makes you feel happy. When inspiration strikes, blog. When you feel burnt out or life gets too crazy, take a break. Just don’t stop.

I wish I had had the chance to write more NBI articles this month, but the schedule just didn’t really permit. But other sponsors have written fantastic advice articles, better than I could have done anyway. Following the happenings from the NBI website, I’ve enjoyed checking out the posts that have popped up. They have been fantastic. If you’re still on the fence about starting a blog, don’t let the end of NBI stop you. You can start anytime, and the advice articles will always be there.

I’m also happy and amazed by the number of newbie blogs that come about because of this initiative. Syp has compiled a list of all the new blogs as well as a list of the sponsor articles, and you can find them below, please check it out! Congrats to everyone involved on a job well done, I look forward to doing this again next year!

New blogs to check out:

Sponsor advice posts:

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NBI: 3 Little Things

May 14, 2012

So, you’ve started a blog, and of course now you want people to read it. Blog promotion is certainly important, and those thousands of hits aren’t going to come after just a day. Readership is something that needs to be built from the ground up.

I didn’t plan on this NBI article being the first I write for the blog, but my schedule is so sporadic these days (read: so dependent on the moods of my infant daughter) that I am driven to bang out the words whenever the inspiration strikes. I got the idea for this post talking to my brother, who is studying corporate communications and is playing around with the idea of starting his own blog. The other day he asked me for some advice on getting his blog noticed.

Look around and you’ll see tons of tips for promoting your blog and networking — tips getting onto Twitter/Facebook/Google+, keeping a schedule and posting consistently, being yourself and honest with your readers, etc. etc. etc. — all very good advice, a lot of which I follow myself. But of course, my brother already knows all this; it’s stuff I’m sure he’s studied in his courses on the importance of social media. What he wanted to know was some of my personal experiences, the other things I do on this blog that I feel has helped increase my readership over the last couple of years. The three little things I told him:

1. Ooh, pretty pictures!

Maybe you’ve noticed, but I love me some pictures. With only a handful of exceptions, all my posts are accompanied by one or more images.

As an artist, I understand all too well the way we humans are drawn to visual stimuli. Sometimes, having a picture helps pull in your audience’s attention. Even if the title of the post doesn’t interest the reader right away, the picture might. When adding images, keep things tidy and neat, make sure it’s not too distracting and that it doesn’t make a mess of your formatting. And keep it relevant to your subject! A lot of people do image searches, and when they find your site they might very well read your post as well. Who knows, it might earn you a new regular reader.

And okay fine, it’s also an excuse for me to show off some of my pretty screenies. Screenshot whore that I am.

Tee hee.

2. Keep it clean!

Opinion might be divided on this subject, but I personally opt not to swear on my blog, or at least, I try hard to keep things PG-13. No, I am not a prude; you can ask my husband, who will attest to the way I swear like a sailor when I’m at home in real life. In fact, maybe more than a sailor (something I am striving to change, now with this whole pesky role-model-for-my-children thing and all). I also don’t have a problem with other blogs that let loose; a lot of my favorite blogs that I read do. Swearing is just something I don’t want for my own blog.

Firstly, it’s because it might deter people from sharing your articles. For example, I used to share all sorts of cool things I find on the web with my boss, because she was cool. And yet, probably not cool enough that I would be comfortable sharing with her an article that had a naughty word every other sentence. Like it or not, I also find people are also more willing to heed your opinions when you’re not spouting them off with a potty mouth.

Secondly, I don’t swear on my blog as an exercise in writing. If there’s a better way to express something without dropping an f-bomb, I challenge myself to find it.

3. Reply to comments!

Before I go on, I just want to say that when it comes to replying to comments, I believe in doing it for its own sake. That doing so has had a positive effect on social networking and building readership is just a side effect. A happy side effect. Never mind that if someone took the time to read my writing and leave a comment, I feel I should also take the time to acknowledge and reply. I just love comments, period. And I very much enjoy replying to them, it’s one of my favorite things to do in my day. I’m a little sad that I am not so good with it now, due to time constraints.

Plus, one reason I started blogging was because I wanted to be part of the community. Sharing opinions and having discussions is what it’s all about, and for me that was the whole point of this blog. After all, it’s not as much fun when the interaction is only one way, at least not for me and probably not for the reader as well. I know that personally, I am more likely to revisit a blog again and again when I know the blogger will have a response to any question or comment I might have. I also feel a stronger connection to that blogger.

Believe it or not, I owe many great friendships to those little conversations in comment sections!

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Dive Into The World Of Blogging With The Newbie Blogger Initiative

May 1, 2012

Ever wondered how this blog came about? Well, once upon a time, MMOGC’s passion for gaming and MMOGC’s passion for writing hooked up at a wild party over a line of tequila shots, and it was hot, steamy love at first sight. Not long afterward, this blog was born and they all lived happily ever after.

Okay fine, so maybe there was a lot more to it than that.

In truth, in the days leading up to my decision to start a blog, there were plenty of false starts, questions without answers, not to mention a shameful amount of procrastination. There were also moments of agonizing doubt. Will anyone even read my stuff? What if they do and hate it? What if I run out of ideas? Hmm, come to think of it, maybe there actually were some tequila shots involved. At least I think. Anyway, my point is, there definitely wasn’t anything easy or certain on that day a little more than two years ago when I finally decided to take the plunge, but I have to say this: Looking back, I’m damn glad I made the decision. Blogging is one of the most gratifying hobbies I’ve ever chosen to take up.

That is why I’m very pleased to be involved with a program called the Newbie Blogger Initiative, which kicks off today. Headed by Syp of BioBreak and sponsored by over 70 bloggers, the NBI strives to encourage new and aspiring bloggers to get their own blogs off the ground. So if you’ve always wanted to blog and need advice, support, or just some of that plain old motivation to get yourself started, we invite you to head on over to the NBI forums and dive right in. We know that venturing into the world of blogging can be a terrifying notion, but it needn’t be! Introduce yourself and make yourself at home, we’re here to help.

That said, look forward to seeing some articles related to tips and advice for blogging-hopefuls here on MMOGC during the month of May, because I sure look forward to writing them. I may not be gaming much these days but by golly you bet your publish button I’ll still blog, and I’m happy that it’s to support such a fun and wonderful initiative.

I already have a few ideas for posts lined up, but as always feel free to leave a comment here to ask any questions you may have, or better yet, join us for discussion on the forums! And it’s not too late for current bloggers to sponsor and get in on this either; during this exciting time, newbies and veterans alike will be sharing ideas and learning from each other. With so many of us involved, you’ll no doubt be seeing a lot of great posts popping up around the blogosphere dedicated to the NBI this month. Truly, there is no better time to be a new blogger.

So what are you waiting for? Push aside those doubts, skip the tequila hangover and start your blog today!

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My Top 5 Gaming Highlights Of 2011

January 6, 2012

I’m always so behind on these kinds of things. I realize we’re already six days into 2012 and almost figured I would skip the rundown this year, but oh what the hey…for tradition’s sake.

The five things that gave me much joy in the past year:

5. Rift

If I didn’t give Trion a tip of the hat it would be a great disservice — considering they kept me playing their game for much of last year, quite a feat when you take into account the influx of F2P MMOs in 2011 to distract me. Looking back, there were quite a few games that excited me but ended coming up short, but Rift wasn’t one of them. In fact, it was one of those pleasant surprises that caught me off guard; the rifts and flexible class system were what drew me in, but it was also the impressive number and frequency of updates from Trion that made me go back for more.

Oh, and the advent of area loot. Best thing since sliced bread.

4. NaNoWriMo

Last year I included Goodreads on my highlights of 2010 list, which wasn’t exactly related directly to gaming but regardless made an impact on my gaming life because of the social aspect behind it. I include National Novel Writing Month this year in my list for pretty much the same reasons. In November 2011 myself and a handful of my fellow gamer bloggers/tweeters took the leap and participated in this challenge, and I have to say any activity is more invigorating and inspiring when you’re doing it with a group of friends.

3. Launch of Star Wars: the Old Republic

Duh. This game has been on my radar since I was still in college, so yeah, I would say the launch of SWTOR was kind of a big deal to me. At one point on the eve of December 20, 2011 I had to pinch myself just to make sure it was really happening.

SWTOR’s impact remains to be seen, but already I get the feeling that story and voiceovers in MMOs are going to be a big deal. Even last year I noticed more games adding their own VOs and cutscenes — from Star Trek Online to World of Warcraft. I mean, after five years of not caring and saying shit all to me, Thrall finally wants to get chatty? How timely.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Every once in a while I like to indulge in the single-player experience, and I’m so glad in 2011 I had Skyrim. The last time I was so absorbed by an RPG was probably Dragon Age: Origins, and my game time in Skyrim was probably close to double the amount of time I spent in that. I bought the guide, I bought the soundtrack, I read the Books of Skyrim compilation, and quite honestly, if I could I would go back in time and buy the collector’s edition. The game isn’t without its bugs, but it’s the whole experience that counts — and for me it was such that I would happily throw money at Bethesda if it means they will continue making immersive games like this.

Now if only BioWare and Bethesda would have a hot night of sex; their lovechild will probably be the RPG to end all RPGs.

1. Republic Mercy Corps and Imperial Mercenary Corps

I won’t lie, getting into the SWTOR beta and being able to play it for six months was pretty damn exciting. But actually being in general testing wasn’t what made the experience a highlight for me. As much as I enjoyed reporting bugs and writing up my feedback every week, in point of fact, it was the friends I made and the relationships I forged over that period of time which made it memorable. As we all know, finding a good guild can be a challenge. Early last year, I was content on waiting until closer to launch to start guild-hunting, but lo and behold, during testing I was fortunate enough to meet an amazing group of players. The result: the RMC and the IMC, a pair of great guilds I am happy to be a part of.

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NaNoWriMo: Done!

December 1, 2011

Now that November is over and the final month of the year is upon us, I’m happy to report that my first attempt at NaNoWriMo was a success. 53,874 is the final word count, or at least that’s what it says on my word processor, and I’m sticking with that.

I’ve made it, and at 11:59pm last night I was giving myself a mental pat on on the back for a job well done, but somehow I still feel like I missed my mark. I may have pounded out the 50K words, but ultimately I didn’t finish my novel, and in fact I think there’s about another third to go in this story. So even though I’m done, I still don’t exactly feel that I’m “done” done, and I don’t think I will be truly satisfied until I finish for real — and *sigh*, who knows when that will be.

Do I think I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo again in later years? Definitely. Though, I had no idea how time-consuming it was until I actually did it for myself. In truth, I really shouldn’t have done it this year. It was a crazy month, and in my stubbornness to reach my NaNo goal, I’m sure I overextended — sleep was lost, art commissions are a little behind, household chores were neglected, other hobbies took a backseat, etc. In the future, I’m going to have to think long and hard and evaluate my November schedule before I make the commitment again.

Still, my first ever NaNo was a wonderful experience. No only did it give me a chance to write, it also taught me a a great deal about myself. Apparently, having a deadline is the key. It’s something I’m going to keep in mind for December, or in the new year, if I want to finish my novel. But for now, it’s time to relax.

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