2011 was a great year and a terrible year for me for writing and gaming.
I suffered a bit of burn out, got a couple of awesome gaming products published and gamed monthly instead of every other week for much of 2011.
Let’s delve into my goals for last year, and then I’ll reveal my #1 lesson learned that I think might apply to you, as well.
Here are the things I said I wanted to accomplish in 2011.
“Goal #1: Hit every scheduled Campaign Mastery post”
“My blogging schedule will probably change in early 2011, but no matter what it is I will hit every deadline. Last year I missed two out of 52 deadlines. This year I aim for zero.”
Well, my schedule did change. Due to time pressures, I stopped blogging here at CampaignMastery.com in the fall. My articles trickled off and the great GM Toolbox meta GMing series took their place.
Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll continue hitting the pause button intermittently for the foreseeable future as there are various projects I need to tend to this year.
Mike will still be publishing his awesome, in-depth articles at least once each week. I will be blogging here too, but just not as regularly.
GM Toolbox will also conclude in a few weeks for those looking for closure on the final techniques and tools Michael and Da’Vane have in store for us.
“Goal #2: Maintain current series, start new series”
- Ask the GMs – We answered a few questions this year, including a couple times over at RoleplayingTips.com. And we always answered the questioners by email. However, we have a huge backlog to clear up, and until that’s under control we’ve removed the question form so we can catch up.
- Hazards – I did not end up revisiting this in 2011. It’s on hold for now, though I’m thinking of rolling it into the Faster Combat online GMing course.
- Hooks – We released 50 Assassin Hooks, but did not add further to this series.
- Generators – The Q-Workshop series was excellent, but we did not follow-up with a new series of similar generators last year.
- iPad reviews – I did get to post a few of these, some at RoleplayingTips.com.
- City building – This one got done in the form of government design for your cities. When you consider the roots of power in your world, many interesting adventure opportunities surface!
- Stat blocks – This series remained on pause last year.
“Goal #3 Books”
We released one book plus the world’s first course for game master this year. So, I’d consider this goal a success.
Assassin’s Amulet debuted in October to critical acclaim. We called it a GM Toolbook, because Assassin’s Amulet is a 300 page resource for all things assassin in your game, including rarely touched upon aspects of world building and campaign management.
A new GM Toolbook is under development. More news on that is coming.
Faster Combat opened its doors to members in October as well. It’s a 52 week training program for GMs guaranteed to cut your combat time in half!
Co-produced with Tony Medeiros of LeonineRoar.com, Faster Combat teaches you how to design combats, manage encounters and master the rules while adding story and drama all at the same time.
While Mike and I had plans for more releases this past year, a 300 page GM Toolbook and a 52 week GMing course did get published, so I’m very pleased about that.
“Goal #4 More contests and giveaways”
“I aim to run one contest or giveaway per month.”
I did not hit this stride, unfortunately. However, we did manage to hold at least four contests with a whole bunch of software and books as prizes.
“Goal #5 DM 12 times this year, play 12 times”
I hit my GMing goal! But the GM of the campaign I was to play in folded up his screen due to work commitments. Boo!
“Goal #6 Roleplaying Tips Newsletter”
“Continue to publish this every other week and pack every issue full of GM tips and ideas. I would love to see an HTML, PDF and mobile-friendly edition this year, but I have not solved those problems yet.”
Success here too. I even went weekly for a few weeks. However, no HTML, mobile or PDF version saw light of day. There was not enough time to get to this.
“Goal #7 Gamer Lifestyle”
We opened the course for a limited time to let new members in this year. Check out the new website we setup for Illusionary Press for their Illfrost campaign setting.
My #1 Lesson In 2011
Overall, I hit a few goals and missed a few goals. In the end, key goals were met: publishing new products and gaming with friends.
However, the year started out looking like it was going to be a total disaster.
Assassin’s Amulet kept getting delayed. The thing about a project that gets delayed is its scope increases. While you wait you tend to add more ideas and content. This is great if you only ever want to launch “someday,” but bad if you want to finish a project and launch so you can launch other projects.
Further, delays mean you forget all the details of a project that allow you to be nimble during project conclusion and launch. Long delays meant losing momentum and forgetting plans and details. We compensated by developing a great documentation system using Google Sites, but still, that’s work that gets you no direct sales.
As a result of the delays, I started several projects. And worse, I got BSO syndrome. Bright Shiny Objects took the form of new project ideas. I kept starting projects and did not finish them or launch them.
This was my undoing. By summer I was burning out. Too many spinning plates from open projects inching along bottomed out my morale and energy.
As fortune would have it, my summer vacation hit at the perfect time. As I was thinking of packing things in, I instead had two weeks of rest and relaxation to ponder life.
First thing I realized was I was taking on too many projects and commitments and it was over-taxing my schedule. Second thing I realized was I had no end game. What was I ultimately doing all this for? This answer is critical because it allows a person like me to decide what’s important, and what to say no to.
I have journals filled with ideas. I love ideas. I get ideas at all times of the day and I write as many down as I’m able.
But a smart person knows to just pick one idea at a time and make it reality. A smart person knows it’s just as important to pick what you don’t work on as what he does work on.
Revitalized, I hit the end of August with a plan to meet all project commitments made to partners, and to cancel all projects that I was just working on by myself. I would use the fall to clear out my backlog and then decide what 2012 would be about.
Which brings us to today and my #1 lesson gleaned from last year:
Focus. Do one project at a time.
Some lessons keep biting you in the ass until you get them. I’ve learned that I needed to focus before. But still, the gleam from all those new ideas pulls like a certain ring in a pool.
I succeeded in launching or killing all my open loops in the fall. I feel like a new man. What to do now? If you say start a new project I’ll throttle you! lol.
Next week, I’ll fill you in on my 2012 plans.
For now though, why don’t you share how your 2011 went. Did last year go according to plan? Did you make any gaming goals and did you reach them?