Writing Year in Review: 2020

Well, it’s another year over, and a new one just begun! That means it’s time to look back at my year in writing, and see how I came out against my goals.

Number of Writing Weeks: 38 out of 52

Total Word Count: 49,892 words

Average Word Count Per Week: 959 words

% of (Adjusted) Annual Word Count Goal: 104%

Other Stats: 86 Actual Writing Days in 2020

Against my original goal for the year of 24,000 words, that’s a pretty amazing trick, isn’t it? Not so amazing that I’m anywhere near finishing my novel, but 2020 was a huge leap forward in that direction. I mean, just look a that beautiful progress bar (in the upper-right-hand panel). It’s OVER 50%! For really reals!

Now… it would be even farther along if November and December hadn’t happened the way they did. What happened in November and December, you may ask?

The Board Game Design bug sort of took over. I ended up spending a large amount of my free-time – time I ordinarily would’ve spent writing my novel – digging my creativity into a board game design project. It’s not my first attempt at designing a board game. It’s not even my first time getting really excited about a board game that I was designing. It’s not even the first time I was nearly convinced this was the one that would go all the way to getting published.

But it is the first time I’ve said it out loud.

And it’s the first time I’ve wanted to start talking about game design out in the open… like… on this blog and everything.

So here we are, at the beginning of a New Year. A time when people traditionally set goals for the year ahead. And I want to take this moment to frame my own goals for 2021. My goals for writing, for game design, and for this blog.

First, I want to start reframing this blog. No more am I “Stephen Watkins, aspiring fantasy author”. Instead, I have become “Stephen Watkins, aspiring fantasy author and habitual game designer“! I’m not a deep-think theorist when it comes to game design. But I expect to discuss my designs more openly going forward – be it board game, role-playing game, or what have you.

Second, my writing goals. I intend for 2021 to be another fully productive year of writing even with the game design thing hovering around here. So I’m going pretty aggressive (for me): all the way to 48,000 words at the outset – be it on my novel, or supporting notes, research, and documentation.

Finally, my game design goals. That one’s seemingly pretty straightforward: get Grimm’s Hollow – the game I’m designing – fully out of my head and into a physical prototype that we can get to the table and actually play and see if I’m onto something. I’ve done a lot of prep work for that… but I’ve yet to get all the way to “physical” yet.

There is one little complication here. Two, actually. BT and VR – or Youngling #1 and Youngling #2. Both of my boys are keenly interested in getting their own game design ideas printed and prototyped and played. And, being the kind of father that I am, I’m bound and determined to help get theirs to the table first. That said: their games are their visions, and it’s a careful line to tread between being a helpful father and accidentally taking over for them. Which is to say: if they want to make this happen, they need to put in some elbow grease too.

Working on these other two game designs constrains the time I can spend on my own game. And that’s okay.

So long as I get my writing done.

So look to this space in the coming weeks and months to hear more – not only about Book of M (which I continue to call thus because it lacks a proper title; I’ve yet to come up with a title I feel attached to), but also about Grimm’s Hollow, and game design more generally. Let’s see where these parallel journeys take us!

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