There’s no journal update this week. The Friday Fight Night posts represent about 4 hours worth of writing every week, and in getting caught up on commissions and other work I haven’t had the time to write it. I’m also keenly aware that – since we haven’t had much time to actually play – we’re rapidly approaching the current point in the campaign in these journals, so I don’t feel too bad about missing this week.
That’s not to say that being here is a waste of your time. I only posted half the maps from last week, remember? Here’s the rest of the map that goes with that post. Next week you’ll get to see the rest of this floor of the castle (well, the parts that the party explored, anyway), along with the journal that goes with that session.
[Click to embiggen]
One of the things I’ve been working on this week is my general organisation with regard to content for this site. It may not seem that way, given I’m missing the journal article this week, but things should be a lot more consistent with regard to timings going forward. If you’re interested in more of this kind of thing, read on. If you just came for Friday Fight Night, then I’ll see you again next week!
So, you want to hear more about this schedule business, do you? Lovely stuff.
It feels like much longer ago than December that I posted my update schedule. It’s been almost 4 months to the day since I posted that, and reading it again it’s clear I still hadn’t quite realised exactly how much work would go into hitting that three-times-a-week schedule. But I said I’d do it, and although it’s been patchy at times – mostly as course work from my MA started to pile up – I’ve done a fairly good job of sticking to it. I know it may not seem that way from your point of view, but trust me – it could have been a lot worse. There have been a lot of all-nighters getting content ready to go.
This week – a week which I happen to have off from my course – I’ve finally sat down and figured out exactly how much time I need to devote to this site in order to hit the schedule on time, and I’ve started putting together a weekly routine to get it done (along with planning content much more in advance of what I usually do). The work load looks a little like this:
- The Monday Map is actually one of the easier posts. The hard part comes in figuring out what I actually want to draw – sometimes that takes days. I’ve started putting together a list of prompts, though, and I’m planning to do a lot of drawing in advance from next week. Once I know what I’m drawing, though, the map takes up about 4 hours of time. That’s drawing it, scanning it, cleaning it up, and scheduling the post. The drawing obviously takes the longest – the scanning & cleaning part takes maybe half an hour at most, and scheduling it takes maybe ten minutes.
- Stat Boost varies, from an hour or so for something quick and easy like this week’s 1d10 trinkets, to about 6 hours for something longer like Worldbuilding Through Song and Story. My level 1-20 pregen character took about 12 hours.
- Friday Fight Night is consistently the biggest time-sink, and it’s no coincidence that it’s the post that suffers the most as far as being on time. The maps take an hour or two, and writing the post takes about another 4 or 5 hours on top of that. They’re usually a few thousand words, and require me to go back over my notes from the game and make sense of them. It also usually has to wait until late on Thursday night to get written, because I have work and university of a Thursday too. (And when I say late, I mean late. It’s 4:30am currently, and I’m wrting this instead of Friday Fight Night).
- The Best of DMs Guild roundups are an ongoing thing and I have no real way to quantify how long they take – though I may just keep track of it next month. I check DMs Guild every day, looking for new products that seem interesting. I have to read all of them – though admittedly sometimes I know within a page or so that something won’t make the list, and at that point I usually put it down and move on to the next thing. Copiling the post itself – putting the links together, gathering artwork, writing the reviews (if I haven’t already written one for the DMs Guild site) takes a few hours, on top of the time that goes into it every day. I’d say, at a minimum, that I spend an hour a day over the month on it – some days it’s a lot more than that.
So, all in, that’s roughly 20 hours a week producing content for this site. That’s not including work I do on my DMs Guild products (and hopefully I’ll have news on that front soon), time spent marketing both this site and those products, and time spent on commissioned maps. Plus, you know, work and uni and life and stuff.
I’m not complaining about all of this, by the way. I chose to do this because I love working on the maps and articles that I post here, and that hasn’t changed. I’m just explaining why things aren’t always as on time as I know we’d all like them to be.
So, what am I doing to try and improve things? It might seem paradoxical, but the first thing I’m doing as of next week is forcing myself to take a day off every week. At the minute I’m working on something constantly, and although I haven’t burned myself out yet – it’s coming, if I keep this up. And I don’t want that. So I’m having a day off – no working on the site, or uni, or commissions, no reading emails, as little Twitter as possible.
The second thing I’m doing it setting aside one day a week that’s purely for working on this site. I often work with something on in the background – right now, Critical Role is on – and it’s easy to become distracted. I’ve blocked out a 9-hour chunk of time one day a week, and during that I won’t allow myself to go online, or watch anything, or get distracted on Twitter. I’m scheduling what I spend that time on in advance, and I’m going to force myself to do it.
There are lots of other little changes I’m making – forcing myself to stop at a certain time of night so I get enough sleep, for example – but I won’t go into them all here. Those are the two biggest changes I’m making to my habits, and I anticipate that they’ll help a lot.
So, with a little luck and a lot of me sticking to what I said I’d do, you’ll have an improved, on-time Loot The Room as of next week. Thanks, as always, for sticking with me.