World Building Assistance

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Whenever you’re venturing out to create your own world, be it for a DnD game, a book, or even just an art series, having your world fleshed out will always help strengthen your final product. Even if the details are aspects people will never see or read about (see all the lost tales book for Lord of the Rings for example), you knowing why the world has evolved a certain way, or where in it a certain character has traveled can really give your world a bit of realism and grounding; no matter how fantastical it is on the surface.

 

Making notes is a great way to get this process started and, I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to lose journals/note pads or find them hard to navigate since it’s always being added to, but I can’t add to older sections if they’ve run out of room. To aid in this I’d like to present, notebook.ai.  

Not only does this site help you keep all your notes in one place, it goes much much deeper then a simple notepad function. This site will ask you questions about your world and save your answers. It will check to make sure you’ve made no continuity errors. If you’re working on a group project you can invite others to join and keep all your work in the same place. This site will let you go as deep as you want with your world building and keep it all nice and together for as long as you need. Oh, and did I mention it’s completely free?

There are paid tiers if you’re really into world building (ranging from $9-7 a month) but for the casual user the free subscription will be more then enough. I wish a site like this had existed 10 years ago when I dabbled in writing, lol, but if creating worlds is your thing then I highly recommend giving this site a try. The ease of access and customizing is so worth it.


Prioritizing and You

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So this is a subject that I often struggle with in my daily life. Figuring out how to prioritize what to do and when to do it when you feel you’re overwhelmed/stressed. Typically I use a weekly planner to map out my work schedule for myself, but what about everything else? Where do I fit in my house hold chores? Doctor’s appointments (for me and family)? Cooking/Meal prep? Work for Craft Hackers? The sheer amount just overwhelms me mentally sometimes. Well, in case any of you out there are feeling buried under stress, here’s a handy chart/suggestion I found online to try and help you get a hold of things. This comes from a very helpful blogger and is no way my own idea.

Take a deep breath, because this is a boot camp in prioritization.

  • Make a 3 by 4 grid. Make it pretty big. The line above your top row goes like this: Due YESTERDAY – due TOMORROW – due LATER. Along the side, write: Takes 5 min – Takes 30 min – Takes hours – Takes DAYS.
  • Divide ALL your tasks into one of these squares, based on how much work you still have to do. A thank you note for a present you received two weeks ago? That takes 5 minutes and was due YESTERDAY. Put it in that square. A five page paper that’s due tomorrow? That takes an hour/hours, place it appropriately. Tomorrow’s speech you just need to rehearse? Half an hour, due TOMORROW. Do the same for ALL of your tasks
  • Your priority goes like this:
    • 5 minutes due YESTERDAY
    • 5 minutes due TOMORROW
    • Half-hour due YESTERDAY
    • Half-hour due TOMORROW
    • Hours due YESTERDAY
    • Hours due TOMORROW
    • 5 minutes due LATER
    • Half-hour due LATER
    • Hours due LATER
    • DAYS due YESTERDAY
    • DAYS due TOMORROW
    • DAYS due LATER
  • At this point you just go down the list in each section. If something feels especially urgent, for whatever reason – a certain professor is hounding you, you’re especially worried about that speech, whatever – you can bump that up to the top of the entire list. However, going through the list like this is what I find most efficient.
    • Some people do like to save the 5 minute tasks for kind of a break between longer-running tasks. If that’s what you want to try, go for it! You’re the one studying here.

So that’s how to prioritize. Now, how to actually do shit? That’s where the 20/10 method comes in. It’s simple: do stuff like a stuff-doing FIEND for 20 minutes, then take a ten minute break and do whatever you want. Repeat ad infinitum. It’s how I’ve gotten through my to do list, concussed and everything.

You’ve got this. Get a drink and start – we can do our stuff together!


Con Survival Part 4: Etiquette

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Hello Sunday readers!

Sorry for the delay in the last post of the series but the convention was a resounding success which means I couldn’t sneak a post in! It’s been a fun journey these passed few weeks talking about convention survival but all fun things eventually come to an end. So the last thing, something near and dear to my heart, I’d like to put out there is all about how to act at a convention so that you are not “that person”. So I give you my personal set of convention etiquette techniques!

ConSurvival4Etiquette

  1. Don’t be the Labyrinth junk lady! Seriously, remember that talk we had a couple of weeks back about bringing everything including the kitchen sink? That person’s bag not only knocks uncounted merchandise off of displays, it also makes it very difficult to move through the ocean of people. It’s not just about your discomfort but those around you. Knocking people off of their feet as you turn around to snap a pic of that amazing cosplay will definitely not make you any friends. Less is more! If you do absolutely have to carry all of your DM supplies, just remember that you need extra space behind you.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings. Following on the heels of the first point, not doing this second one will definitely not endear you to your fellow con-goers.
    • When shopping, you may get distracted by the SHINY THING. Please please please do not stop in the middle of the aisle to stare at the SHINY THING. Be kind to those other folks that are trying to get from one side of the hall to the other for their photo-op/autograph/panel/emergency potty break by moving closer to the booth or slightly off to the side.
    • When cosplaying, you are going to get a lot of attention. Besides being careful not to smack everyone in the face with your amazing wings/cape/tentacles, you may interrupt the flow of traffic every time someone asks for a photo-op. While I agree that it is totally cool and kind to give these folks their chance, you can help everyone involved if you can direct the would-be fan to a less crowded area for a quick pic.
    • When taking pics of awesome cosplay, please also refer to the above. There is a natural flow to traffic in an enclosed space and stopping in the middle of it will definitely ensure an occasional pile-up. When stopping a costumed person for a snap, also see if you can direct them to a less populated area so that others may get to their destinations.
    • When checking your phone for messages, make sure to look up once in a while! It’s inevitable in this day and age that you will be walking and using your phone, possibly to locate your con-group (or possibly in your hunt for a certain pocket monster). That’s fine as long as you are talented enough to do both at the same time. If not, perhaps stepping off to the side until you finish communicating would be best.
  3. Remember that celebrities are people, too. I can totally relate to the feeling of complete awe when meeting someone you’ve admired for a long time. But please remember that they are people with feelings and a life outside of the fandom they represent. They are not necessarily the characters they portray and while you may have paid for the privilege of meeting them, it is a terrible thing to treat them like an object. Also recall that those hundreds of other folks standing in line behind you would like their 5 seconds with said celebrity as well.
  4. Wash thyself. I know that most convention suggestion articles joke about this point but let’s get serious here. Whether you came to this convention to game, meet people (celebrities included), purchase neat things, or just soak up the geekiness, you should not neglect self care. This includes hygiene. Even if you can’t squeak out a quick, awkward “hi” to that celebrity you’ve always wanted to meet, you definitely don’t want to be the number one nose offender that day, either. Even if this is accomplished with baby wipes and Febreeze, it is certainly better than the alternative (I unfortunately know folks that use this technique regularly).
  5. Support your favorite artists/vendors. This point will probably surprise exactly no one that regularly reads posts on Craft Hackers. We all appreciate your business! But please also remember that, especially for those artists that make everything with their own two hands, haggling over prices or looking for deals can be at the very least, mildly insulting. I completely understand if you’ve already gone through most of your con-budget because you had to have that special photo-op! Understand, though, that the crafters spending hours at their trade need to eat and pay their bills as well. The biggest thing many struggle with is remembering to pay themselves. That’s where you come in! Give them the very large compliment of paying for not only their product but the quality of their work. If you cannot immediately afford whatever lovely piece catches your eye, see if they have an on-line shop and then save your pennies for that beautiful gift to yourself. It’s worth it.
  6. Be courteous. Above all, I cannot emphasize this last point enough. You are in an enclosed space with hundreds, perhaps thousands of other humans that enjoy the same things that you do. The atmosphere can be exhilarating and exciting but it can also be overwhelming and chaotic. Being kind perhaps by holding a door, saying please or thank you, and stepping aside to let someone pass helps everyone by keeping that lovely flow going.

To close, a convention isn’t successful simply by bringing people together, it’s successful because people keep coming back to be together for that one purpose. The attendees are truly what make the experience unforgettable so why not make it the best one possible?

I do hope you’ve found these posts helpful. Next week, I promise we will go back to your regularly scheduled craftiness.

~Laura


Con Survival Part 1

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Hello and welcome to Sunday, readers! I mentioned last week that we would be prepping for Gen Con this week (it’s so close!) and since I’ve been attending so many conventions in the last year, there are certain things I’ve learned to depend on when it comes to having the best experience possible. So in the upcoming weeks, I will share with you some of the hints and tips I’ve formulated to help you survive your next convention. This week I bring to you Con Survival Part 1: Packing.

Maybe we should have packed the kitchen sink, too?

Maybe we should have packed the kitchen sink, too?

There are always a number of things to consider when packing for an event but conventions are a special sort of animal. There are definitely some questions that need answering before we even start making a packing list:

  1. How far away is the convention and how are you getting there? If you are driving, you may be a little more accommodating in your packing as you are only limited by how large of a vehicle you are taking. If you are flying or taking some other form of public transportation, you will be more limited on how much you can cram in to your bags. If you are close to home, fantastic, but you still aren’t going to want to lose valuable con time because you had to go back for something.
  2. Where will you be staying once you get to the convention? If it’s a hotel, snacks may be limited to non-perishables if there will not be a fridge to store them. If you have rented a condo or apartment, you may be able to stock up at the local grocery store. If you are lucky enough to be staying with friends in the area, don’t forget a thank you gift. Scout out the distance to the convention center and where local stores may be just in case you forgot something.
  3. What will the weather be like? Even if you plan on being in the convention center for the entire weekend, you will still need to travel back and forth. You definitely do not want to be stuck under a vent in a freezing cold complex while dripping wet because you decided not to pack a jacket or umbrella. You also don’t want to get a nasty sunburn because you did not pack sunscreen and were stuck in the food truck line for an hour (not that I would know that one personally).
  4. Are you cosplaying? This is a very large consideration since all of the props and pieces will have to be transported and stored as well.

Ok, have you answered those questions? Good. Because next we make THE LIST. I am a master list maker, if I do say so myself. My significant other often laughs at the lists I have for my lists but you know what? They get the job done. Over the years I’ve used grocery list paper, the backs of used envelopes, napkins, and even tried a list making app but I hadn’t quite found something that really helped me remember everything every time. Until I found the Pack This! pre-printed lists from The Container Store*. Man, these things are awesome!

Even if it's not already on there, the categories are the biggest help.

Even if it’s not already on there, the categories are the biggest help.

Ok, so now you’ve got your list going. The one big consideration for packing we mentioned was the cosplay bit. There are special considerations for the care and keeping of your costume pieces! I found this lovely article from Cosplaying on a Budget about cosplay con survival kits that should pack pretty easily if you plan it right:

Also useful for making new cosplay friends if costume repair is needed!

Also useful for making new cosplay friends if costume repair is needed!

The last but no less important thing to consider for packing is snacks. Going to conventions is an expensive endeavor and you can save yourself money with added health benefits if you bring some of your own little nibbles to keep you going through the weekend. I found some great ideas for snack tackle boxes on the web, including this one (wherein I’d probably include more nuts and dried fruits):

The chocolate can stay, though.

The chocolate can stay, though.

This should hopefully give you a good start on packing for the trip. Next week, I’ll give you my con bag packing tips so that you don’t strain your back nor have to make a dozen trips back to home base.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

*CraftHackers is in no way affiliated or sponsored by The Container Store, we just happen to be really big fans.