You might be thinking, “But Creighton, that’s just madness. Your fingers won’t be able to take the strain!” Have no fear, my fingers are made of stern stuff and I’ve been training them for years. They’ll struggle through.
As you might recall, last September I attempted to write 1,000 design words a day. While I succeeded and hit my 30,000-design word target, I afterwards concluded 1,000 words a day is doable but skates on the very edge of achievable when stacked up with all my other Raging Swan Press related jobs (not to mention my family life). In the long term, for me, 1,000 words a day is not doable.
That said, I’m the kind of chap who thrives on targets and goals. So I’ve decided to shoot for a yearly target of 131,000 design words. That might sound like a large target, and quite arbitrary, but it really isn’t.
I’ve recently become intrigued by the power of “little, but often.” Writing a 30,000-word adventure can seem overwhelming to anyone. Writing the introduction, followed by a section on adventure hooks and so on, though, is much more approachable and far less intimidating. In my experience, dividing a large target into smaller parcels of work makes the entire process much more approachable.
Just before the New Year, I worked out that 2019 has 262 work days (i.e. days that are not Saturday or Sunday). If I write 500 design words a day, I’ll hit my 131,000-word target. I’m sure that some days I’ll be ahead, and some days I’ll be behind but as long as I average 500 daily design words I will be victorious.
So how am I defining “design words”? Well it’s simple: design words essential count as one of two things:
- Blog articles (such as this one, GM Advice articles, Daily NPC posts, campaign summaries and more)
- Product design for Raging Swan Press (such as Village Backdrops, Eventures and so on) excluding boilerplate text
- Product design for other companies
It does not include:
- Slack posts
- Facebook comments
Five hundred words seem to take me about 30 – 45 minutes and calving out half an hour a day to write shouldn’t be too hard. Of course, occasionally I’ll cheat. For example, if I am writing an adventure and need a skeleton’s stat block, and I already have one, I’m not going to type it all out again. Instead, I’ll call forth the sinister power of copy and paste. To do otherwise would be madness!
What’s 131,000 Words?
Think what I could achieve with 131,000 words!
- A Village Backdrop from Raging Swan Press includes about 4,800 design words (and around another 1,800 of boilerplate words—the OGL, table of contents and so on).
- A 20 Things article comes in somewhere around 800 design words.
- Forgotten Sepulchre of the Father’s final draft was about 7,000 design words.
- Forsaken Demesne of the Demon’s Cultists first draft was around 30,100 design words.
So much writing fun awaits!
I’ll be keeping you up to date on a monthly basis. This will keep me accountable and motivated. In upcoming months, I’ll be posting up a running total of what I’ve written and I might even include a graph!
What Do You Think?
Is the doable? Am I mad? Have you done a similar challenge? Got a suggestion for something I should write? Let me know, in the comments below.