Amazing to think that Monday will mark the second anniversary of this blog. I started this blog with the idea that I wanted to put my experiences as a freelancer in writing both to share with others who might be interested and to solidify those experiences into my memory. Writing things down has always helped me to reflect and remember better. This blog truly has been a series of musings wandering around my freelancer experiences, life experiences, hobbies, what my family has been up to, and unique projects I have worked on as a result of my freelancer experiences.
Those that have been reading this year have experienced these memories along with me. We talked about what it was like teaching the Game Studies course at Taylor University earlier in the year and now the preparations to teach Writing & Editing for Games next year. We got to know some amazing people in the Game Industry through the #GameCreditsWW series of interviews. There were the two new experiences of roleplaying online using Roll20 and playing with people we had never met before the game. Gen Con 2016 again had my daughters helping me with the Modiphius booth but also had my wife in attendance. With her, we experienced Gen Con through the eyes of Accessibility and how best to be more inclusive in our gaming hobby. I helped host multiple community game nights and learned from those experiences what things worked and didn’t so the next event could be even better. I was even a guest on a podcast, sharing about my game master experiences and recommendations. I have gotten to know so many new people this year through these varied events.
What all these experiences tell me is that relationship-building continues to be the focus of my freelancing and writing. Yes, I do work on games as a freelancer, but that freelancing has opened up opportunities to meet people in the game industry, to teach students about the industry, to play games online with new people, and to help gamers be more sensitive to the needs of others who also love our amazing hobby. Freelancing might have me staring at a computer screen solo for many hours, but it opens up even more hours of time to meet new people and spend time getting to know them and their interests.
Two lessons have really come out of my experiences and writing this year.
- Accept New Challenges – Designing and teaching new courses, roleplaying online for the first time with people I don’t know, reaching out and interviewing people as my first introduction to them, and being a guest on a podcast were intimidating. I was a bit nervous, perhaps even slightly scared, when each of those opportunities was offered to me. Yet, with my wife’s encouragement and support, I stepped up to those new challenges my freelancing offered me. Each of those pulled me out of my comfort zone and challenged me. Each also introduced me to some amazing new people, many of which are now my friends. They also helped me grow as a freelancer, as a gamer, and as an individual. I am a better person for accepting these challenges and learning through them.
- Be Open-hearted – As I meet people from around the world and from many different perspectives through my freelancing opportunities, I need to be willing to open my heart to all of them. I may not always agree with everyone around me, but I can love each person as a friend and care about them. While your heart is open, have an open ear to listen to people where they are. Games are a great way to meet people, but we should be willing to build relationships anywhere we are…even when not at the game table.
Your comments, emails, messages, and words of encouragement inspire me to continue writing this blog. What I am trying to say in this rambling of words is “Thank you!” for reading for another year. I am blessed to have you as readers and friends and can’t wait to see what new experiences come in the next year.