If you don’t use it, you really do lose it.

Writing it a skill which requires constant practice to stay motivated–at least in my case, anyway. Maybe some writers can go for months at a time without writing a single word and then write a novel cold turkey. I’m not one of them.

2017 began with a post every day, mostly about the The Art of Wargaming. Posting every day for a year began back in 2016 when my work schedule was so messed up I couldn’t dedicate large blocks of time to writing things like short stories or the ever elusive novel. But I could write short pieces about tabletop games.

When The Art of Wargaming ended, my posts became less frequent.

I ran out of words to say, especially about tabletop RPGs and wargames.

In the fall a new teaching job began and my priorities changed. I spent a lot of time in front of the computer preparing and managing my classes. When I came home at night the last thing I wanted was more screen time.

I tried writing some short pieces longhand. I typed a few clumsy blog post drafts. Other than that, however, the well went dry, as did my desire for tabletop games.

Instead, I watched a lot of movies and Netflix and read quite a few books. I guess my creative batteries needed recharged.

I reread four of the books from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Death Gate Cycle and Gary Gygax’s Gord the Rogue series. The former is worth reading at least once, while I don’t recommend reading any Gord the Rogue book beyond Artifact of Evil (more on this in a later post).

Somewhere along the way I reread Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth. Reading one of Follet’s books is like eating Krispy Kreme donuts. They all kind of taste the same but you don’t mind it so much because you know it’ll be a pleasant experience.

In contrast, delving into the works like Child of God, Blood Meridian, and No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy for the first time weren’t pleasant experiences. I’ll still suggest you read them anyway, though don’t expect any kind of happy ending (though does the All the Pretty Horses ending count as happy?)

Stephen King’s The Dark Half was also a good read. (That’s one where they find the eyeball, teeth, and fingernails inside a boy’s brainpan).

One goal in 2018 is to read more female authors. Any recommendations?

On the Netflix side of things I recommend The Punisher. It’s as dark and brutal as you’d expect, but they gave Frank Castle a bit more nuance than I’ve seen in the movies. Of course, Stranger Things 2 was enjoyable, but the first season was better in my opinion. I also liked season 2 of The Last Kingdom.

I’ve lost track of how many movies I watched on the old DVR. The Free State of Jones was good; it’s about a county in Mississippi which broke away from the Confederacy in the American Civil War. I’ve watched Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice at least three times now, I don’t think it’s as bad as people said it was.

I’ve yet to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

No spoilers please.

All right. I’ve completed a 500-word post.

May this be a warm-up to get me back into my writing groove…