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January Thoughts

My amazing productivity idea that I soon abandoned due to lack of productivity.

I like the idea of New Years Resolutions. I like that I can think of all the possibilities of the future and world that is waiting for us there. I like to think back on the year that had been and where I am now, what I expected and what happened. I’ve often reflected on the year negatively because I didn’t do what I set out to do but what I set out to do was often not achievable. At least not with the parameters that I set myself.

This year will be slightly different.

I don’t particularly want to think about what I wanted to do and compare them to what I actually did. My understanding of what my reality would be in 2021 was lacking. What I do want to think about are some of the major highlights from 2021.

What was 2021 about?

Firstly, my baby daughter. Affectionately referred to as Tiny Human. She has been the most challenging and rewarding thing to have entered my life. Nothing has ever completely changed my world like she has. I’m tired and time no longer exists in the same way. But it’s great. Here she is ‘helping’.

Tiny Human helping.

Unsurprising to everyone except me, my time evaporated this year. I refused to believe that raising a child would actually take up a lot of time. How I laugh at my past self. But for the first half of the year, I still managed to produce a weekly podcast and work on a number of TTRPG projects. For a while at least.

The podcast was the first to go. I felt I had grown apart from it and it gave me the least amount of positive emotion from completing it. It also consumed the most time of all my projects. I could either do the podcast or write. And writing will always win. The podcast was handed over to two very keen, capable, and excited new hosts who have done an excellent job since hand over.

Writing took on a strange shape for me. For the first time in my life, I really understood what it meant to have limited time. Like, to really have limited time. Not the limited time I thought I had as a full-time worker. Time. What a weird abstract concept. It can literally be impacted by your state of mind but is also a truly finite resource. One of my 2022 goals connects directly to this. I digress.

Yes, writing took on a strange shape, I had to plan my creative time and set more rigid goals. I also had to decide what exactly I wanted to work on. Time was thin. So, Pomodoro entered my life. 25 mins of writing. No distractions. No other tabs are open. Nothing but the words and the music and the thoughts constantly outrunning my fingers. This was the single most powerful tool I learned to use in 2021.

With my new sidekick fighting away distraction I wrote words. Not as many as I dreamed. But enough to satiate my thirst for words. I wrote 20k for a novel that has been bubbling away in my mind for years. I created two games; Skullduggery, a micro TTRPG on a bookmark about doing crime, and What’s so Rotten about Zombies Defending an Ancient Temple.

I fucking love Rotten Zombies. I did all the layout and writing myself. I like playing it. Sometimes I just roll up a temple and god and some zombies and then that’s the adventure my players are going on. It’s good. And I’m proud of it. It’s even available in print with Exalted funeral. That’s a fucking win in my opinion. Look at that motherfucker.

A printed version of Rotten Zombies

I also worked on a few larger projects for the DMs Guild. I always feel like I’m selling out a bit when I work them. But they’re cool. And they make a bit of money. I’ve only picked projects that I have an interest in and know I can write something rad for. I’ll see how that goes next year. I have other things I want to create. However, the income from DMs Guild stuff almost always goes to buying indie games or paying artists and editors. As I wrote that sentence I realised that one day of teaching work would earn more than a month DMs guild income. So, that’s something to consider, Stuart.

2021 was a good year. My daughter is growing strong and healthy. My house did not fall down. I wrote some words and put them in pretty good order. I learned a few tricks. It has ended rather sourly in Australia (and the world) with the rise of the omicron variant but we must continue to move forward. 

What will 2022 bring?

I guess the major shift in my approach to setting goals this year has been connected to what the outcome needs to be and also ensuring that they have a shelf life. I wanted to create a set of goals to focus on that did not require that I reschedule my life or give my wife reason to worry (which she does when I tell her many of my ideas). I guess it is my perception of what success means to me that has had to change. A goal that I can’t achieve on my own is pointless. for example. Get published by April 2022. That’s a shitty goal. I can’t guarantee that. I will most likely not achieve that, regardless of how much effort I put in. Another, Have over 10k followers by Jan 2023. Again, I have very little control over that. I have some, sure, but I can’t make people follow me. 

So, the aim was to think of goals that are based on my input entirely. Some things that I can work on regardless of situation, location, emotions, and all the other aspects of life that impact how successful one is with their goals. Below are my goals and the time frame for them.

To be worked on or completed by 31st March 2022.

  • Write every day: No set word or time counts. Words must be written every day and a record posted to the Writing Account Ability tweet (yes… that’s a typo. And it’s on the tweet I’ll be using all year).
  • Count Calories: I want to lose weight but I eat too much. My goal is not to lose kilograms but instead to just track, every day, what I eat. Let’s see what happens.
  • Automate Promotional stuff: I need to automate my social media promotional stuff. It takes too much time and I want it to be happening on the regular. Some coding and learning is on the cards for me.
  • Implement Four Making Time Principles: Making Time is an excellent book for creatives as it outlines a heap of ways to stop distractions. I’ve read it a few times but have not really done much with it. I will though, in fact, I set up the Stay Focused extension today to get this written.

Four goals. All of which I can work on myself. All very achievable. And if I stick with them, then the byproduct of them should be a healthier body and focused time spent writing. Ah, but Stuart, what will you be writing? 

Well, dear friends, there are a few projects in mind. A solo RPG that has the option to team up for co-op or skirmishes, revisiting Largshire, something about shitty 80s films, kung-fu, and bands, another small adventure collaboration, The Novel, and of course more blog posts about games. So much to write.

Some Writing Tunes

I thought I leave you with a list of some of my favourite writing albums from this year. They’re all linked to Spotify, but I think you’ll find them on YouTube too. 

Long days and pleasant nights. 

1 thought on “January Thoughts”

  1. Time is such a funny fickle treacherous idea. We don't all have the same hours in the day because we have different bodies, and hurts and pressures and the kinds of jobs we have do different things to our energy levels outside of those working hours. I've always hated that "we all have the same hours as Beyonce bullshit", because no, no we do not. It's such as interesting thing to keep unpacking, and to keep figuring out how we use the time we personally have to work towards our own personal goals and ideas of success (another funny fickle treacherous idea). I think the idea of goals that are based on our own effort is really healthy and useful. <3

    Your comments about time and the tiny human really hit me unexpectedly. Sometimes when I'm feeling really shitty about myself and what I've achieved, I forget and then remember that I've done it all while raising two humans (and recovering from domestic violence and other traumas) and I realise what an incredible achievement that is. I wrote most of a 75k novel one-handed on my phone while patting my smallest to sleep and that is no insignificant thing. It's so easy to be hard on ourselves and to think we aren't working hard enough or smart enough, but we are almost always doing much more than we think we are.

    This year I'm leaning into the word cherish – cherishing time, cherishing small moments, cherishing the people I love, cherishing myself, cherishing progress (however small).

    I hope you and the fam have a wonderful year and that you feel a sense of pride and achievement in all of the contributions you make this year.



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