The was the 50th Anniversary of Gen Con, and with all the celebrations, the sold out crowds, and the massive event, I still found Gen Con 2017 very personal. In a previous post I gave an overview of my Gen Con experience, but today I want to reflect on a very personal aspect of the con: the ENnies this year. This was not my first time attending the ENnies, nor was it the first time I have been up for an award for my freelance work. The ENNies have been a wonderful time over the years celebrating with my peers in the gaming industry and honoring the amazing work of so many publishers and creators.
What made this year so personal was having my Cyclopaedia blog nominated for an ENnie Award for Best Blog. This proved to be a very emotional and moving occurrence for me, which I haven’t really shared outside a small group of people. I started this blog as a challenge to myself to stretch my creativity. Mike Perna (of InnRoads Ministries) put out a call for more articles for the site, I proposed Cyclopaedia, and he accepted. I was writing it for fun and to challenge me each month. I enjoyed writing it and occasionally would receive some great questions and comments that were spur on the next month’s article. To say I was stunned it was nominated and made it to the finals for an ENnie Award is an understatement. I didn’t know what to think. My little monthly blog of researched topics for gaming and fiction writing had impressed the judges enough to be nominated, which led to a huge increase in traffic to the blog. And, I loved that my blog could help bring traffic to the InnRoads Ministries website. Such an amazing side benefit of the nomination.
Having freelance work on an RPG book recognized for an ENnie is a great honor for a the creative team. It is a team effort and you celebrate together. Being nominated for a blog that I research and write each month myself (with my wife editing for me) really hit me personally and emotionally. I put a lot of effort and heart into those blog posts each month. I love researching and writing them because the topics interest me personally. I learn so much in the process of preparing the article and I get to share my interpretation, humor, and passions each month in the Cyclopaedia articles. For it to be recognized for a possible award was unexpected and emotional.
But, it did not end there. My friends, family, and the InnRoads community reached out to congratulate me, encourage me, and support Cyclopaedia at the ENnies. I received so many encouraging emails, direct messages, PMs, and face-to-face messages of congratulations and encouragement, I was getting rather overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. Then to top it off, my wife, daughters, two former students of mine, and Daniel Fisher from InnRoads Ministries took time out of their busy Gen Con schedules to spend an evening with me at the ENnies. It was such an emotional high to sit at the ENnies, surrounded by friends and family. I also had fellow nominees encourage me and congratulate me for the nomination. Even though Cyclopaedia didn’t win the award, I had found joy and victory in the moment.
Accolades for your work are wonderful. They show the world that others appreciate the creative work you do. But it is the personal one-on-one support, encouragement, and praise from friends and family that warms the heart and encourages you to keep on creating and strive onward for that next creative endeavor. I want to thank everyone in the Tavern on Facebook, the InnRoads staff, my fellow creators, and especially my close friends and family for supporting Cyclopaedia and encouraging me personally.