As you probably know, having been a dutiful reader of my blog since the very beginning, National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo for short — starts November 1. I used to participate every year, and had done so since 2001, before there was a website with a forum and graphics and all that. I skipped 2002, but did every year from 2003 through 2016. In 2017, I started to write And the Devil Will Drag You Under, but found myself blocked by characterization problems and plot problems, and just didn’t finish. Since then, I’ve started a couple of times, but haven’t gotten very far.
This year, though, I’m gonna do it! Yes indeed! I signed up, set up a project, and all that. The project is The Outer Darkness: Genesis, based on an idea for a role-playing game that three friends of mine and I developed back in the late 90s. I had originally signed up with the intent of writing the first draft of The X of Doom, my pirate novel, but the plot hasn’t really come together yet; I just don’t have a clear idea of how everything comes together. So I’m going to continue to plan for that one as well. Pirates! Yar! The Outer Darkness: Genesis has no pirates in it, despite how many suggestions I’ve been given to base it on a Dungeons and Dragons Spelljammer campaign.
The Outer Darkness: Genesis is a space opera with horror elements. I’ve also been reading The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger, which has really solidified some plot ideas for me. This is a great book which outlines for authors some tools to use for plotting out character arcs that aren’t so depending on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. I’ve known writers who swear by the Hero’s Journey but I’ve never been able to successfully pull it off. And it’s problematic in some ways. It’s not hard to find critiques of Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, so I won’t list them here.
In other words, if I can avoid getting distracted, this year I will, once again, win National Novel Writing Month by writing 50,000 words of The Outer Darkness: Genesis by November 30.
I wanted to talk here a little bit about creativity and emotional disorders. I’ve never made it a secret that I have bipolar type 2 and generalized anxiety disorder and that I take medications for them. I’ve been in therapy (although my therapist discharged me a few years ago, noting the progress I’d made in regulating my emotions), and I currently see a psychiatrist primarily to make sure I stay on track.
Recently, though, I’ve seen a couple of posts on Instagram and in various blogs stating that medications can dull creativity, or that suffering is necessary to produce great art. Both of these statements are demonstrably untrue. I am far more productive and creative and produce better fiction when I’m on my meds and feeling good about life in general. When my mood is cycling downward, I can’t concentrate on my writing and I’m just not productive.
So if you’re a writer and you’re worried that taking anti-depressants will dull your creative wit, I seriously suggest that you given them a try. Most people I know who take them swear that their creativity skyrockets when they’re feeling good.
That’s just my own experience and anecdotes, though. I am not a doctor, so you should consult with your own physician to make a decision.
In other news, because its a FAQ, I think I’m pretty much done with social media. I still use Facebook Messenger, and I still check my Facebook Memories every day, but I don’t really look at it beyond that. Nor do I post that often, except to post links to my blog updates. Same with Twitter. It’s not that I hate social media, it’s just that I found it was taking up a lot of time that I could have been writing or reading. This might all change in November, when distractions are plentiful and desired. I’ve deleted bookmarks and removed the apps from my phone, and it’s been a few months since I’ve really gone on to either site for more than a few minutes at a time. I get most of my social interaction online through the various Discord servers that I belong to.
I’m still reachable, though. You can reach me via Twitter Direct Messages, Facebook Messenger, email, phone, text, telepathy, or the contact form on my website.
Happy Friday everyone, and if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, may the odds be ever in your favor.