How I got the ball rolling

Work has been really busy lately, with lots of little design projects to polish off and drag to the done pile on Trello – but recently I’ve been working on some larger projects that have taken up all of my concentration. I found that, in my free time, all I wanted to do was kick back with a strong cup of tea and play Elder Scrolls Online; I just didn’t have any brainpower or motivation left to work on my worldbuilding!

It came to my weekend (I call it my weekend, it’s actually Mon/Tues) and I could see I was about to waste more valuable worldbuilding time and end up feeling disappointed at my progress. Again. So, I shared my woes with some friends in the new Chapter that I’m a part of on the World Anvil Discord server. It turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling like this, and with some tips & guidance I felt the friendly kick up the bum to get on with it.

Here’s what I took away from this:

  1. Talking through a problem (feeling demotivated) helps me to understand how the problem happened, and allows me to look at ways that I can tackle it.
  2. Friendly peer pressure and/or competitive spirit can be a big motivator to get my creativity going.
  3. Having a few people who can hold you to accountability helped too, as it meant that my friends were waiting on me to produce something.
  4. Letting chance take the wheel helped with my indicisiveness. Before setting out to do some worldbuilding, I rolled a d20 to see how many articles (of no max length) that I should write. I’m grateful that I rolled a 4! Maybe next time I’ll roll a d8 just in case. This gave me a target to achieve for the day, and it worked.

My mindset before writing:

  • Just create. Don’t think about quality – just get the concepts down first.
  • “What do readers/players of my world need to know first?”
  • Start with one summarizing paragraph and save it. Continue, or move on to the next concept.

Here’s what I created:

First, I properly introduced the climates of Orubia, as people would want to know more about the location of the setting. It’s not your typical european medieval world, it’s a hot, African-inspired landscape ranging from scorching deserts to humid rainforests.

Next, I knew that the next thing people would ask about is magic, so I created an overview of magic and explained what it can and cannot do in my world.

I also briefly introduced the native people and described some of their culture (which I will expand upon later). Finally I made a start on a draft for my main introduction article for the world, which will be a go to place for new people to get a TL;DR for what the world is about.

How to KEEP the ball rolling:

My weekend is over already, but I want to keep the ball rolling slowly throughout the week this time, so here’s my plan:

  • mindmap some ideas in the morning
  • forget about them, concentrate on work projects
  • at the end of the day, revisit my morning notes and create just ONE more article

And for accountability? I’ll let you know how this method went!

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