Burnout & Recovery.
Well I haven't written anything for a time. Partly that was because I was having an episode of burnout, or writer's block if you like. I have a number of projects I work on at any one time, currently the list is:
Sarmarkand (a game environment)
Fallen Cities (aka Fallen Skies aka Fallen World)( a PbtA game)
Mapping Cards (a game support product)
Valley of the Kings MegaDungeon.
All of the above are major products, lots of work required. I usually run 3-4 at a time to try to avoid burnout, swapping from one to the other as needs be. I get a lot of good cross pollination from doing more than one at a time as well... for example I had a good idea of doing a Mapping Cards deck specifically for Fallen Cities, which I can then expand into Valley of the Kings.
Oh and I forgot Journey (an rpg about journeys and how travel can broaden the mind) and Longest Dungeon (using Mapping Cards to develop a full scenario)... minor products.
On top of that I play in 2 role playing games and GM one other, plus I am planning my next role playing game - Runequest Classic. The latter is 6 months off as we are currently having a good time with D&D5e.
So my time is well used. But around the end of last year I got into a total slump with writing. I just didn't want to do anything, and ideas had all dried up. I was looking at pages of text and going 'blah!'.
So a break. Which works well, get away from it all and do simple and fun things, think small.
One of my favourite passions is pen and paper, let me loose in OfficeWorks please! I have been collecting pens (fountain pens) from China mainly (they are cheap) and I buy... notebooks, covered books with mostly blank pages. The combination allows me to walk around with a book and take notes, doodle and draw and write things down as they pop into my head. This somehow was exempt from the above block, possibly because it is more tactile than cerebral, so for a time now I have been collecting little snippets of ideas and thoughts. I might add that Google Keep is an excellent online version of this for when I am at work and ripping out a notebook isn't appropriate.
Well finally I seem to be getting back into things, and I have a bunch of notes to work with now, snippets of ideas that need to be included.
The other good thing that happened to me was some help from someone I work with about software. I was telling him how I had this idea to use the real life Valley of the Kings as the basis for a rpg dungeon, and how it would be a lot of work to re-do all the tomb maps you can get about the place, expanding them into bigger dungeons but trying to keep the same feel, when he suggested I just use Illustrator and the line drawing conversion feature it has. You drop a PDF into Illustrator, convert it and bamm, a perfectly vectorised line image that you can pull apart and do whatever you like with. Its incredible! Serendipity. There are just too many software packages out there to keep track of them all, I was so lucky to gain this knowledge from someone else who just happened to understand what I wanted.
PS I have abandoned the www.austwiz.com name, and have begun moving everything over to Flynnkd Games at www.flynnkd.com. The austwiz name was an old business I ran with a partner some 25 years ago running PBM games.