7/09/2015

GM Prep Tip: Being Prepared for Inspiration

GM Prep Tip: Being Prepared for Inspiration
I think I've eluded to this GM Prep Tip before, but I cannot find where I've come right out and stated this one little thing that has helped me immeasurably over the years.

It might sound dumb, but please bear with me.....

When you are out & about carry with you...at all times...a simple pen and paper. "Of course!", I can practically hear a lot of you saying this out-loud, but I want you to think about the more-than-likely many times you needed a pen to make a note, sign a credit card receipt, whatever...and didn't have one. In my experience a pen is much more common for people to have than an appropriate thing to record some notes in.

What I'm deliberately advocating is that you start carrying a pen and paper with you everywhere you go. Not just any pen & paper either, but something you've specifically dedicated to this pursuit. Designate a good everyday carry pen and a specific note-pad. Keep them wherever you keep your wallet & keys and start taking them with you when you leave the house.

Dedicated notebook and pen
The tip is to develop this habit, because we are by nature creatures of habit, and then when inspiration strikes you will have the means necessary to record that information and put it to good use. Pictured right is my "rig" for this tip. I have a Fisher Space Pen (I love the model 400BCL) and I've been using one of a trio of Munchkin notepads I picked up at Origins last year. I do have some smaller & way cooler moleskin notepads that I could fit into my wallet, but I was finding I myself reluctant to use the smaller format for some reason.

Cheaper pad of paper
For me the key was finding the right pen and pad combo...this works for me. Before this I was using a set of 3x5 notecards, either full-sized or cut down. This was actually my go-to note system when I was enlisted because I could write down whatever and easily pull out the single cards to give someone a note or to destroy it (I had to work with a decent amount of confidential, but technically not classified data). I actually liked writing on the stiffer card, but these days my pockets are smaller/thinner and I don't like the binder clips.

Partially-filled pad, plenty of room for more ideas
I write anything and everything that comes to mind that I might want to follow up on. It could be adventure seeds, new magic items, even a cool NPC. Flipping through my notebook I'm finding lots of numbers: estimations for print jobs, size calculations, not-so-mental math, etc. I even have some research I've done for blog posts.

The thing is a good idea can be fleeting and you never know when you'll have another one, or if you can remember the ones you've had. Heck, even bad ideas can have some value!

Start carrying a dedicated pen and paper with you to jot down ideas as they come to you. I guess you could also use these to write down non-GM/gaming information, but that's just be a bonus I guess.

Quick idea to finished concept
Example of a quick idea to finished concept