Semi Related Writing Thoughts From Today (expanded from tweets)
1. Writing RPG text is as much about educating GMs about how to do their job as it is about rules. I think about this a lot as I’m writing instructions for Game Chiefs.
I have to remember that some of them are super expert and can make a good game out of any material, but they appreciate material that makes their job easy. Others of them have never run a game before they picked up Planet Mercenary. For them, we include educational components that might feel like obvious review for more experienced Game Chiefs. I suppose in this I’m heavily influenced by the first RPG book I ever worked on (Xtreme Dungeon Mastery by Tracy Hickman & Curtis Hickman). That entire book was about teaching people to be good game runners. So some of that philosophy spills into all the game text I write. Educating the GM (person who runs the game) is the most effective way to ensure that groups have fun while playing. Of course educating players helps too. I have to balance education with not bogging down text. Lots to consider as I’m writing.
2. In order to do right by the GC Secrets PDF I have to do more writing than I thought I would. It keeps expanding.
I’m adding words to help out those less experienced game runners and the less experienced players. I’m adding words to answer specific questions that people have asked, which helps fill in the gap between what is in the head of the game writers and what we actually put on the page in the printed book. I have to battle with myself over how much to add. Part of me wants to make sure that this is the very best and most comprehensive document that I can make it. Part of me really wants to get this document done. It is the last deliverable for the Planet Mercenary project. The last lingering piece of a giant set of tasks that has taken over my creative life for two years. I’ve loved it. I love the writing I’m doing on it right now, but I also want to have it done so that I can declare the Kickstarter officially complete. Then I can have a break of several months before I need to start thinking about what Planet Mercenary release we want to have prepared for next summer.
3. I really wanted to have GC Secrets completed before I leave for my writing retreat on Thursday. I wanted brain space for something fresh.
For the last eight months I’ve been looking ahead to this writer’s retreat as an oasis. It was a reward that I would get to after all the things were done. It is discouraging to realize that I didn’t get all the things done. So instead of having several weeks of clear brain with which I could decide what to write at the retreat, I have this lingering writing assignment that will have to be packed along with me.
4. Brain space for something fresh isn’t going to happen unless I create that space with a crowbar in between writing GC Secrets.
I’d thought about using the retreat to write the picture books that have been niggling at my brain. Maybe I’d write some essays. Maybe I’d pull out my years-neglected middle grade novel and see if there is still something there I feel excited to write or if the project died while gathering dust. I can still do some of these maybe, but instead of having glorious space, I will have to steal that space from writing that is long overdue.
5. Ack! In 2 days I’m leaving my house and going to a place where I don’t know all the people already. Cue social anxiety.
The anxiety has been percolating slowly all month. Early in the month I ordered some Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade so that I would have an interesting drink to share while others were sharing whiskeys and wines that I don’t drink. It was comforting to think I could contribute something to that social portion of the retreat. But the package got broken in transit, and the shipping company didn’t inform me of this until after it was already too late to re-ship. And now there is a weird portion of my brain that whispers why am I even going when I have nothing to offer. Apparently part of me believes that, unless I’m able to provide some tangible item or emotional service, others won’t want me around. Classic social anxiety. So I went out and bought gourmet chocolate that I can pack along in my suitcase. It isn’t the same, but it is something. (And yes I know that I was invited and my friends have expressed delight that I’m coming. I’ve been nothing but welcomed. Social anxiety makes noise anyway.)
6. Yay! In 2 days I can put down all my house and business responsibilities to just write. Maybe I’ll have brain space after all.
Up above I mentioned oasis. I am so very looking forward to escaping the constraints of my regular life. I want a chance to unwind and re-set so that when I come back a few days later I can be glad to pick up all my regular things. I love this life I’ve built, but even things we love get heavy if we never take a break from carrying them.
7. This week I read an article about how social media is a productivity killer, yet here I am tweeting about writing instead of writing.
I read this one: Why Idle Moments are so Crucial to Creativity
And this one: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? Which I blogged about here: Teens, Screens, and Mental Health
Those articles, combined with all the evidence that social media and fake news have led to sweeping changes in the political landscape of multiple countries, has me being a lot more conscious about the time I spend online and what else I could be using that time for. Throw in a dose of Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): specifically the chapters where she talks about losing two years of creative life to World of Warcraft. The point is driven home. Less internet = better balance of life and probably more creativity. Something for me to work on.
8. Back to the word mines.
Sort of. I wrote up this blog post, which is writing, but isn’t me working on GC Secrets which was the writing I ought to have been doing. Except maybe this is equally as important…and I’m going to stop the brain spin there. GC Secrets will get done, and this post was worth writing. No need to pile guilt into the thought-mess that already exists in my brain.