It’s that time of year, the first of a new year! A time to reflect on your past successes and failures to make a plan for how you’d like to move forward in a more productive and hopefully fulfilling way. Here are some ideas if you haven’t quite put together your new year, new you plan:
- Write something every day to start the creative juices flowing. Like all skills, practice makes perfect. This writing may or may not ever see the light of day, but you also may create the seeds to an encounter, a storyline, or something else amazing that you’ll use later on down the road. It’s also very therapeutic if you journal rather than writing ideas and prompts.
- Read every day. Engaging in reading can also inspire ideas and creativity. Remember, inspiration is not copying, if you read something that’s interesting and you’d like to incorporate it, put your own twist on it. For example, one of my favorite bands, Over the Rhine, wrote and recorded a song entitled “Rave On”, which was inspired by a poem, which I sadly do not recall the title of, which was inspired by Buddy Holly’s “Rave On!”. The songs sound nothing alike, but that’s irrelevant, the subsequent artists heard/read something that inspired them to create something else beautiful and put it back into the universe for another artist to take and grow from as well.
- Listen to music. See above. Also, check out my other blog where I talk about creating playlists for settings, adventures, and characters. While I am hardly the first person to create a mix tape and/or use them for gaming, it’s worth reminding you that in the day of streaming all the music, it’s a lot easier to find amazing songs that are new to you can be found and very inspiring.
- Listen to your inner voice, especially when it’s trying to be helpful. Sometimes our inner dialogue is negative and sometimes it is full of ideas. We are our own worst critic, so when the voice is very critical, that’s not the voice you’re looking for. As a gamer, player or GM, you are already creative. If you think you have a good idea, you very well might. Write it up and find your “pit crew”, those people that you trust to give you good, solid, and honest feedback. Then also listen to them. Editing and developing are part of the game design process, but it can also be applied to every aspect of your life. Very few people get it right the very first time all by themselves.
- Create something every day – if you don’t write, maybe you draw, paint, craft, play an instrument, sing, dance – whatever it is, do it. Every day. Don’t underestimate body movement or singing, they are some of the earliest forms of expression humankind has and will help put you inside your own skin like nothing else can.
Ultimately, live your new year and new life as authentically as you can, be the best you possible. Just because you made less than optimal decisions in the past doesn’t mean you have to keep making them. The best part is that this isn’t limited to the first of the year, every day is a new day and every day you can be a new you.