So, that happened.
2013 was a year of ups and downs for me. I graduated from UCI, moved up to Seattle, and am finally starting to find my feet in the new city. I have a decent job, a few good friends, and the privilege of time to work on my fiction writing and Nautilus.
It was a great year for my writing. I managed to write 1000 words/day more often than not, totaling 282,954 words of fiction. That’s missing a few days here and there where I didn’t write down my word count, but that’s okay. It’s a little bit short of the 365,000 words I was planning on writing, but I can’t complain. I’ve written up a large number of short stories, including my first ever short story submission for publication. It got rejected, but just getting up the guts to do it was an accomplishment in itself. I also finished NaNoWriMo for the 9th consecutive year, and used it to work on the story started in The Tower of Ishmal. I’m still plugging away at it, with a total word count of just under 100k so far, and am hoping to finish the first draft of the novel over the next month or so.
Nautilus got another playtest campaign. This one was shorter, and mostly to wrap up the storyline of a PC from he last playtest, but it went well and pointed out more issues with the system. The starship rules have been written and had an inaugural playtest, and over the last few weeks I’ve figured out basic social combat and rewritten the skills system so it behaves more like Fate’s as far as the value of each skill. (In the current draft, everything is a skill, from combat to cooking to socializing, instead of having combat off in its own weird little corner like in base d20. I’m hoping this will help other skills stand equal to combat, but it’s a topic for another post.) The combat system has a few tweaks as well, switching from swift/move/standard turn breakdowns to a half and full action-based system (with swift and free actions). I’ve also written up a way to build relationships between characters, both NPCs and PCs, and gain mechanical benefits for doing so. A lot of this is in the rough draft stages, but it’s written (or in the process of being written), and that puts us on much firmer ground than last year.
There were other things, too. The adventures of moving to a new city and living with new roommates. Trying to find a job and realizing that in Seattle they have the pick of the tech litter, so every job wants 3+ years of experience and it’s hard to get started with just a degree. Realizing that having a lot of free time to work can lead to me just sitting around and being bummed, or not getting as much work done I’d like to. And, of course, there were the multitude of things that happened in the wider world over the course of this year, some of which were great and many of which were terrible, forming the backdrop for all of this to happen over.
I’m not sure I accomplished a lot of my resolutions from last year, but I wanted to list a few goals for this year. I won’t beat myself up too hard if I don’t achieve all of them, but I’d certainly like to strive for them:
- Write More — This one’s simple. I like writing fiction. Love it, even. Still, I’m hoping to write more this next year, and break 300,000 total words written. It’d be even cooler to break 365,000.
- Publish More — My greatest weakness is not taking that final step of polishing up my drafts and sending them out on submission. Last year I submitted one story. This year I’d like to submit at least ten, even if none of them get published in the end, because it’s a rhythm I feel I need to get into if I want to move towards doing this writer thing professionally.
- Finish Nautilus — Now, I don’t mean the entire book, art and all. I mean having the draft down, no more rules changes, all the base text in. Editing may change some things, but I won’t be adding anything new. Ideally, I’d like to be doing art and layout and editing and all that good stuff by the end of next year, but that will depend on the vagaries of timing and finances. While I love Nautilus, I’m starting to feel ready to put it to bed and have the chance work on other interesting games, so I want to push through and get its writing done in this next year if I can.
- Blog More — My proposal to try and hit five posts a week is too much for me, at least for right now. So I’m going to try to get up to at least one post a week here, and one on nautilusrpg.com. If I want to write more, great! But this is the minimum standard I’m going for.
- Exercise — Three times a week, no excuses. I feel better when I exercise, but between getting one gnarly cold and having stomach problems, I’ve fallen off the exercise horse the last few months. It’s time to get back on. WITH A MODERATE VENGEANCE.
- Have Fun — Shocking, I know, but I can be bad at doing this. So I’ll try to live 2014 a little more adventurously, and see what happens. Or at least try to relax a bit.
So that’s it! Some reflection, some goals. Bam, done! May you all have a wondrous start to your 2014. Let us conquer this year together.