Welcome to 2018! I had a wonderful extended holiday with my family and just returned this week to my day job and my freelancing. Only complaint was it was frigid in the second half of the holiday break (windchill in the -20s, at times near -30 degrees F). This was our first time on a holiday break with college student daughters. A new experience for all of us with daughters home who have new habits and lifestyles as college students and parents who have begun to adjust to life at home without kids. It was a learning experience for all of us, but a blessed one as we spent lots of quality time together. I cherish these moments as I realize these college years will go quickly, then my daughters move on to their post college years.
With my daughters off at college finding themselves and seeking their futures, I have done quite a bit of self reflection. As my wife and I find our new rhythm of life, and I adjust to my new increased caregiving responsibilities, I am once again looking inward, finding ways to stay healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. What I have missed most these recent busy years with my family has been personal creativity. Before children and during their younger years, I used to do a lot more creative work with music, art, and crafting. I have continued to do some of this with my gaming, gardening, and cooking…but not as much as before. And as I was thinking about returning to some of my creative hobbies and interests, I actually became rather self conscious. Even my recent foray into miniature painting made me nervous, and I was struggling to set aside time to do more painting because of these emotions. I also was feeling a bit guilty spending time focused on my own interests and not with my wife or daughters. A very encouraging conversation with my wife helped, and then I stumbled across this quote which sets the tone for 2018 for me.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury
My resolutions for 2018 are about BEING CREATIVE. Not dreaming about creative projects, not thinking about creating, not talking about being creative, not watching others be creative, but actually CREATING. I will continue to do my freelance work, supporting others with their creative works. I will continue to do my job at the university, helping faculty and students with their creative academic work. I will continue to enjoy spending time with my wife and daughters. Those are all important and wonderful things that I do. But this year I resolve to create my own things, without worrying about failure or what others think of my creations. I will create for the emotional joy of the process, the growth of mental and physical skills, and for the products these creative endeavors produce.
So where do I see my CREATIVITY focusing in 2018? First off, and I mention this in my exciting things below, I will get back into storytelling as a GM. I want to delve back into world building, story arcs, character development, prop crafting, and seeing the reactions of my players and these delve into our cooperative adventures. I will do this in an ongoing campaign with my gaming group, but I also want to challenge myself to run more one shots both in person and online. I want to experience playing games and creating stories with more people I don’t know as well to see these gaming worlds through other perspectives. Second, I will finally delve into writing and not just editing and proofreading. I don’t know how this will exactly go yet. I have some short stories and a couple book ideas I have always wanted to write, so I am just going to start writing and see where that leads. I have also reached out to some rpg publishers I have worked with on editor projects and asked about writing opportunities. I am interested to see how it feels to be on the other side of the rpg writing process. Third and finally, I will return to my art through more miniature painting and sketching. I used to sketch long ago and got out of the habit. Watching my daughter Emily draw and paint, improving before my eyes, has inspired me to once again put pencils to paper (or perhaps stylus to tablet) and let my imagination wander into imagery. So, no more just thinking about being creative. No more feeling nervous, guilty, and self-conscious about my creative work. Time to just DO things.
Beyond resolutions, there are some exciting things I am looking forward to in 2018:
- Once again I will be teaching Game Studies at Taylor University, this time with Dr. Jon Geisler. This is the second time we are offering the course, so we are making some updates to make it even better. If this goes well, we are hoping to submit the course to the University for approval as an official ongoing every-other-year course.
- Getting back into game mastering an ongoing weekly roleplaying campaign. I took a break a while to be a player and to play some board games so I could focus on all the major changes happening in my family’s life. Life is starting to settle into a new rhythm with my daughters in college and becoming more comfortable in my new role at work. Thus, I am excitedly preparing to start later this winter or early spring a D&D 5e campaign in the Spelljammer setting. I am working on my conversion to 5e and developing my campaign focus. Looking forward to playing this unique classic setting in the more modern ruleset.
- Increasing my involvement in The Tavern and InnRoads, including being a guest host on Game Store Prophets for a month or two while Mike Perna takes some time off to focus on his wife and newborn son. Been a long time since I did any podcast hosting, so this will be a fun challenge. Looking forward to interacting with Jeff Romo and Daniel Fisher in our episode conversations. Also looking forward to doing some Roll20 gaming with Jeff Romo, who is going to teach me how the system works, and it is a good time for he and I to get to know each other better.
- Really looking forward to attending Gen Con 2018. We plan to book the same accessible hotel room booked that we have the last two years that worked so well for my family. We will be setting up/tearing down and working the Modiphius booth again. It appears my daughters will be able to join again this year. Each year has the potential to be a our last for a while as my daughters look to summer internships and other employment that might keep them away from future Gen Cons. So I am cherishing each one of these conventions I can share with my daughters. They are doing wonderful at college and it is a joy watching them mature into even more independent young women.
- Doing some traveling with just my wife. With our daughters in college now, my wife is looking to travel with me on some business trips, we are looking at some weekend excursions, and we are starting to ponder 25th Anniversary trip possibilities in 2019.
- Hosting Community Game Nights at my church and perhaps encouraging other churches or organizations to host game nights as well.
What are your 2018 resolutions and things that have you excited coming in the new year?
Happy New Year!