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Post Tagged with: "Blapril"

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Running out of juices

I’m running out of writing juices and I know I’m not the only one. Blogging every day is hard and if you dive in without building it up or preparing something, you’ll find yourself in a burnout.

I’m not at that point yet, no burnout. I’m just tired. This whole month, I’ve still been in recovery mode. My head recovering from an old injury that popped up again. Being in recovery is exhausting. Especially if you’ve been in recovery mode for months (since last November). I want to write every day, not just here, but also on my other blog and work on my books. I want to play games and read books. I want to clean my house and work on my garden.

But I can’t. I get spiking headaches when I think too much, after I do anything language related for twenty minutes. I can’t work in the garden if it’s too cold or windy because it’ll cause my muscles to tense up and I’ll injure myself. But even if the weather is good, I can’t work in it for too long because it’ll cost me more energy than I have. And I need it to heal other parts.

My life is all about finding the right balance right now. What can I do? What are my priorities? Doing Blapril was a priority and one I had confidence in I could finish. We’re nearly at the end and after I publish this, I only have two blog posts to write for Princess. But I also have two more to write for Narratess. I’ll be happy when I only have one blog to maintain and the occasional post here. No pressure, just when I feel like it.

New Switch Games

Every so often Nintendo will release a ‘direct’, showing off the new games and sharing information about games released at a later date. The Switch is slowly becoming my favourite console/handheld. Especially when I see the line up of new games.

My console/handheld history

My Nintendo experience started with Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES. Yes, we go waaaay back. Then I bought a secondhand Gameboy. The games were tough and I couldn’t finish them without cheating. With the first Playstation, that ended. There were a few games I finished, but I still spend a long time trying to master the games.

Then came the PS2 and PS3. Still much the same. I bought a lot of games but didn’t finish many. I’m just not that good of a gamer, and some games can’t really be finished.

I also owned a Wii with various exercise games like Wii Fit and Just Dance. Exercise has always been a problem for me and this console definitely help me move more. But more on that later.

The DSi Lite was my handheld of choice, the one I took with me on vacations, usually with one game I’d play the whole vacation. I probably finished more games on the DS than any other console. I really loved the games on it, but also the device itself. The feedback on the buttons of the 3DS is too much and my thumb especially starts hurting after only playing 15 minutes.

I love my Switch

And then came the Switch. We bought the Switch a few years ago with Bayonetta 2 and Mario Odyssey. I finished Bayonetta and really wanted to play 2. My husband loves Mario games so that one was for him. I didn’t play on it much before until I had Stardew Valley and played a few days every evening.

I’ll be honest. The Switch replaced the 3DS and the DS more than it replaced any of the consoles. I use it in handheld mode mostly since Stardew Valley and Pokemon Sword are excellent for handheld play.

The Switch lite would’ve been excellent, but it would’ve been nearly impossible to play Just Dance on it, so I’m glad we have the docked version. My husband also prefers to play on the TV. So it’s nice to have options.

New games

When they announced the port of the Collection of Mana, a game series I loved when I was little, I knew I wanted to play it again. My husband gave it to me. The game I was most interested in was Trails of Mana, the one they’re also making a remake of. I don’t know yet if I want to play that one. The quality of the remake is much better than I expected, but I still enjoy playing the original. So would it add value if you just play it for the story? I don’t know.

Last November Pokemon Sword came out. We were in Japan at the time so I didn’t preorder it, but it was one of the first things I did when we got back. I was waiting for a good Pokemon again. I played Pokemon Sun/Moon for awhile (until my hands started hurting seriously) but I didn’t seem to enjoy it as much. I don’t really know why because the game is gorgeous, the Pokemon cute and I love the idea of the challenges instead of ordinary gyms.

Pokemon Sword was everything I wanted and more. It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t catch all 800+ Pokemon. To be honest, the idea alone is overwhelming. This is the first time in a long while that I beat the champion in years. I’m currently trying to complete as much of the pokedex as possible.

Early last month, I bought Octopath Traveler with a 50% discount. I already played the demo before and knew I’d one day play the whole game. I guess that’s now. It seemed like the perfect game to enjoy during self-isolation. That said, I’ve only just recruited my second character and still haven’t killed the boss. It’s been awhile since I played a JRPG and have to get used again to grinding and learning the mechanics of bosses. No kill comes easy. I’ll get there though.

And with more discounts come more games. I really like that the Nintendo eShop has regular sales now and triple A games also get discounted. I remember when things were different. So I picked up Just Dance 2019 for 15 bucks, including one month of Just Dance Unlimited. I played the first two or three games on the Wii and enjoyed it a lot. Dancing is one of the few things I’d still do even if my body wouldn’t work with me. Plus, no one is going to see my dance except my husband and Shiro.

So with all these games and even more awesome games to come, I think the Switch is going to be my new favourite handheld and console. Two in one, how convenient.

Real Neat Blogger Award

Thank you to Solarayo from Ace Asunder for nominating me for the Real Neat Blogger Award. I’m going to answer the questions, but I’m not going to nominate again. Otherwise, the whole Blapril community will only be doing tags and awards for the rest of the month.

Do you ever listen to video game soundtracks outside of gaming sessions? If so, which ones?

I used to listen a lot to Final Fantasy and Halo 3 music. At the moment, I don’t anymore. I listen to music I can sing along with, soundtracks from anime or movies.

What’s a game that you loved growing up, but find it harder to enjoy now whether due to a change in tastes or now outdated mechanics and graphics?

Diablo 2. There’s a lot of clicking involved and for some reason, I strain my hands doing it while I have no problem playing Diablo 3 or another ARPG.

Which game console do you feel has the greatest library of titles to choose from?

I’d say PS3, but lately I have a feeling the Switch will overtake it soon. A post on that is coming this week (already planned).

Name a video game character that has made a positive impact in your life?

Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins probably. If he was real and I’d met him, I’d probably fall in love with him. He’s shy and not afraid to be vulnerable. Instead of having all these ‘love interests’ that are tough, having a more caring, kinder one made me realise how much I wanted that in a partner.

If you could sit down to a conversation with any fictional character(book, movie, or game) who would it be and where would this conversation occur?

This is a tough one. Mostly because I still can’t think properly about deep questions like this. There are so many good and interesting characters. But sometimes it might be more interesting to have a conversation with the antagonist. It’s easy to relate to the protagonist, but sometimes it’s the antagonist who has a more interesting story which we don’t always get to see. How did they come to be that way?

If you could travel to any video game location for a hard-earned vacation, where would you go?

Destiny Island from Kingdom Hearts. I’d love to go to a tropical island again and without many people around. The warmth is good for my joints and I could really do with some better days right now.

Quarantine Question: What’s your go-to movie or tv show?

To be honest, the pandemic hasn’t impacted my normal lifestyle a lot. I’m chronically in pain so I rarely go out anyway. Most of my social life happens online. So picking a show specifically for this situation feels strange.

Another thing is that I’ve struggled the majority of March with a headache bad enough I couldn’t watch tv. So I didn’t. Right now I feel slightly better and I’m binging Community because it’s new, and Terrace House, also because they added new episodes.

If I had to recommend one, I’d say Gilmore Girls. Lots of episodes and small-town drama but with a lot of humour (sarcasm) too. In the same trend, The Good Witch is another one, but cheesier.

Light In The Dark: The Gratitude Journal

In these seemingly ‘dark times’, we need a little bit of light in our days. And sometimes that’s hard to find. The news is mostly covering one topic and related issues. Other news (especially the good news) is buried under ‘breaking news’, newfound facts, and other anxiety-inducing articles.

I try to stay away from it and even muted words on my social media so I won’t be confronted with it all the time. But sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes you have to actively seek out the good, news or otherwise.

Keeping a gratitude journal is one way of redirecting your brain from all the doom and gloom to happier thoughts.

The Gratitude Journal

This works best if you keep a dedicated journal or notebook just for this purpose. Write three (or more) things that you’re grateful for that day. It can be anything. A well-brewed cup of coffee, the sunshine through the windows, or your cat curling up on your lap. They can also be big things, like finding out your pregnant, or your sister’s engagement. Maybe seeing the pollution clear up in the absence of the usual traffic.

Those are all things to be grateful for. It’s okay to repeat certain things too, but it’s an exercise to see the beauty in small things too. Flowers blooming, a bee humming along, or your favourite song on the radio.

Keeping all of this together makes it easy to refer back to when you need it. The whole journal is filled with positivity and you’ll eventually feel better when you open it up. You might scan the pages of the days or months before and you’re reminded of the good things in the past instead of the bad things that seem to take over our minds when we least want them.

A Positive Effect

When you’re feeling down you can look back through your journal and see the things that made you happy. See if you can find those moments now. Maybe it’ll make your day a little less dark. Maybe it’ll even put a smile on your face.

Keeping a gratitude journal has an overall positive effect on you and I know therapists are using this to help clients as well. Knowing how to brighten up your day or just feeling grateful for what you have will make a difference in your life. Maybe not short term, and if you’re having trouble with finding three things, that’s okay. Just keep going. Skip a day if you have to. But do try to think about it. It’s just like any other muscle you have.

What about you? Do you keep a gratitude journal? How has it helped you?

The Versatile Blogger Award

What is the Versatile Blogger Award?

A big thank you to Michael Neale (http://www.mnealewriting.com/) for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m really not used to these kinds of tags, memes, blog awards, so if I’m doing it wrong, I’m sorry.

I don’t remember if Michael mentioned what the award was, but I’d like to think it’s meant for people who blog not just about one topic, but like to cover many (versatile). That’s definitely me. It could also mean bloggers who also use other outlets, like Youtube, streaming, or a perfect Instagram template.

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

7 Things About Me

  1. I’m dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis.
  2. I quit my day job to be a writer. No, wait there’s more to that story. This ties together with the first point. Having an office job that had a three-hour commute a day was too much for me and the stress made my symptoms worse. I was close to a burn out even though I didn’t know it at the time. My husband told me to quit before our wedding, which I did. The day after I said goodbye, we picked up our puppy Shiro.
  3. My husband and white shepherd Shiro are my world.
  4. I often love game lore more than the game itself.
  5. ‘Tsundoku’ is so relevant to me. I have a lot of books that I haven’t read yet, but I still want more. It doesn’t help that so many writers release new books at an increasing rate. I find more indie authors that are amazing and release books at an even higher rate.
  6. Fountain pens are a big hobby of mine.
  7. I have two books out and aim to release two more this year.

The Nominees

All of the nominees are participants for #blapril. Consider this a writing prompt to fill in another day. If you don’t want to do it, no worries.

If you’ve been nominated and posted your reaction, don’t forget to leave a link in the comments!

Using A Content Calendar

Chestnut asked me to share some more info about the content calendar I use. I’ve used it for years and actually got the idea when I was doing more marketing related tasks for my old workplace.

The plugin I use is for self-hosted WordPress blogs only. You can still create your own content calendar on paper, in a planner, or a digital app like Trello or Asana. I don’t know if they have native integration with WordPress but another app like IFTTT could possibly help you out.

But for now, I’ll only cover the plugin I’m using.

The Editorial Calendar plugin

This is the plugin I use. It’s straightforward in looks and what it does. I’m sure there are others out there, but this one is good enough for what I need it to do.

The Editorial Calendar shows you an overview of however many weeks you want with all the scheduled posts and the already published posts. You can select the option to have a list of your unscheduled drafts on the right side.

It’s an easy drag-and-drop system for the drafts you already have, and adding a new post is only three clicks away. Customise your view to what works best for you.

And a sneak preview of the posts that I’ve already scheduled

How to use a content calendar?

Ok, so now you have the plugin and you want to use the calendar. Well, how it works isn’t that hard to figure out. When you click on the [new draft] label in a day, you can enter a title, a quick write up, and the time you want the post to go live. You can see the hours written before the title in the screenshots above. This is especially handy if you post at multiple times a day.

I started my Blapril prep with opening the calendar from the post menu in the left sidebar. Hover over ‘Posts’ and you’ll see ‘Calendar’ at the bottom. I wanted to see all the weeks for Blapril so I changed the ‘shown weeks’ to five instead of four in the screen options (found in the top right corner).

Then I just wrote down quick blog ideas. Create a draft, enter a title and a time. Next. That’s how I quickly filled up two weeks worth of ideas. Whenever I get a brainfart for a new blog I can schedule it immediately or create a new draft in the unscheduled section. If you have recurring series, or have evergreen content that you can use to fill up gaps, the unscheduled section is your friend. On my Narratess blog I have drafts for posts that won’t go up until winter time hits again. I can schedule them already, but I’d rather have them within my view, so keep them there until I’m ready to schedule.

The calendar is great for working on content way in advance. It’s easy to what’s coming up or where you need more content. It also helps you to stick to your schedule if you decide on one after Blapril. I don’t use one on this blog, but Narratess only has posts on Friday’s and Tuesday’s.

A conten calendar is and always will be an organisational tool. It works if you work. If you don’t, it’s just sitting there being fancy. Install the plugin, check it out, use it, and see if you can fit it in your routine. If you’re just starting out, it might be worth it to add this part to your blogging routine if you’re in it for the long haul.

Good luck and happy writing!

On Escapism

There was a time in my life when all I wanted to do was play Diablo 2 or Neverwinter Nights. Both worlds seemed so familiar and comforting to me while the real world was hostile. I could anticipate the dangers coming in both games and I was equipped to deal with those who attacked me. But in the real world, none of this was true. Things were thrown at me from all sides–school, work, friends, family. I had no idea how to deal with all of it. That’s why I longed for those worlds. I wanted to escape my own.

Now more than ever, escapism is needed. Our world today feels hostile. A virus is spreading and it has the potential to kill, or leave you permanently scarred. Our governments tell us to stay inside, our hospital staff tells us it’s war.

For a person who’s not in a medical profession, not an essential work, nor has a position to make decisions that would impact our daily lives, all I can do is sit at home and wait. This isn’t much different from what I normally do because of my chronic pain, but there are many who aren’t used to it. Especially my extrovert friends and my outdoorsy friends feel the extra mental stress from staying inside and keeping social interactions (at least face to face) to a minimum.

This is where escapism comes in. We get a brief relief from what’s going on in the world when we enter another. It’s either a game, movie, or book. We can make up a world of our own, or day dream about it while staring at a painting. Art can do that for you. Don’t feel bad to play that game longer, or read more books. If it brings you comfort you should indulge in those pleasures. Because we can all use a little bit more of that these days.

March Wrap-up

Ah, March. You’re so much like your brother February. My productivity was shit this month. March 14th, I woke up with a terrible headache I’d rate 9 out of 10 on the scale of doesn’t hurt, to feel like dying. I’ve had it before and barely slept back then. I couldn’t read, watch a screen, or do anything basically. I went to the doctor, practically begging him to give me something to help me sleep because I was exhausted, and not just because of the major headache.

And now it’s back. It’s the same headache and the same cause. I don’t need an MRI to tell me there’s nothing wrong with my brain even though it feels like it’s set on fire. Every day. The joints in my neck are unstable (just like the joints everywhere else in my body) and my muscles have a hard time correcting it. Now they’ve had enough and tensed up so much they’re causing a major headache. I skipped going to the doctor (they’re busy enough as it is) and talked directly with my physiotherapist. He was busy, but still managed to find me a spot. Someone had cancelled due to concerns about the virus.

That’s been my luck because I could still see him for a few times before everything was shut down. One and a half week later, I still had a headache but he assured me it would get better now as my muscles loosened up and I do my exercises. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Working my health issues which are very different from the health issues many, many other people are dealing with at the moment. I can’t even imagine what it would do to me if I caught the virus with my neck injury acting up.

What I did do

I managed to play some more Stardew Valley, finally doing some of the new patch stuff. On PC I made a new farm while I continue with my old for on my Switch. I don’t think I’ll do a weekly Stardew update as I considered before. It’ll take up too much time and turns playing the game into a chore, which I definitely do not want. Maybe I’ll do more small updates as something significant happens.

So far I’ve edited six chapters of my WIP while planning out book 3. My head didn’t want to do creative work, but rearranging scenes was okay. So now my whiteboard is covered in post-its with half an outline. I’ll try to finish it soon so I can focus on my first draft while editing the rest of book 2.

Books read has been minimal since my head didn’t want to do words at all. I think I finished 1,5 book. So not much. I hope to finish a few more next month though. Not watching Netflix after dinner had helped me improve my reading time but it was so slooooow. My average pages read an hour is fifty. Now it was half of that. And it’s not like I’m reading the most complex novels either. So it’s all in the processing speed of my brain.

Looking toward April

What is happening in April is the community event Blapril (Blay-pril), hosted by Belghast. It’s basically the same as Blaugust but in April. Since the world is in a weird spot we wanted to do something for the community. Coming together when we’re all forced to stay apart is the best thing you can do. So we invite you to join us in this blogging event. Share your stories, your passions, your distractions, with others who might need it.

This year, I finally had the courage to sign up as a mentor. I’ve had the role on the discord for a while now, but never participated as one. But here it is. I’m a blogging mentor. Most of my advice will be given through discord so poke me there if you need help.

For advice on writing I suggest checking out my other blog Narratess, the NaNoWriMo tag specifically. Or my post on writer’s block. And maybe my post on productivity and how to maintain it during more taxing times.

There’s no minimum requirement except for a (blogging) platform of your choice. Others have done daily vlogs, or micro content on Tumblr or Twitter. Do a Blapril challenge on Instagram. Share a piece of your world with the rest of the Blapril community. Check out Belghast’s post on how to enter and where to find the community. I hope to see you in the Discord!

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Guild Wars 2 Fiction

Miira Lightbringer:
Fried Moa Steak
Quiet Before the Storm

Young Miira:
Tail Tugging Part 1
A Promise Made Part 2
Night Falls Part 3
Grawling Preparations Part 4
Badazar Incarnated Part 5
Graduation Part 6 - Final

Savyrius Belain:
We Meet Again...

Naella Ysangwan:
Dogs and Ogres

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