You’ve got competing demands on your time. You’re a student. You’re full-time office drone. You’re a parent or a volunteer or a key player on the local intramural quidditch team. And somewhere in the midst of all that, you’ve got to find the time and energy to spin worlds into existence.

As the forever GM of my own group, I feel the self-imposed pressure to keep the story alive. Our far-flung friend group still comes together week after week on Roll 20, and I’m not about to let that go. Only problem is, I’m also desperately trying to write my dissertation. I squeeze in adventure design when I can. The would be-novelist in me weeps from some demiplane known as “The Backburner.” And amidst these competing priorities, the echoes of Steven Erikson rattle around in the back of my head:

As for me, why, I miss gaming. But I found, during the writing of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, I could not quite both game and write. They drew from the same well, I think. The same narrative impulse, the same thirst for adventure, the same delight in characterization.

It’s a great interview, but it raises a very real concern. These games we play are fantastic mental toys. I’ll pour through sourcebooks, scour SRDs, and retool my world-building notes, session summaries, and (yes, Wizard) character write-ups for hours on end. But if these games are mental toys, they don’t run on batteries. They run on brain power. And some nights, as I stare blearily at Google Docs and wonder why the words won’t come, I begin to worry that I’ve left them in the Land of Adventure.

No doubt you other denizens of Handbook-World are equally creative (and equally busy) folk. So how do you balance your IRL responsibilities with your game time? Do you feel Erikson’s same push-and-pull dilemma between gaming and writing? Have you ever had to let go of some other time-sink in favor of the gaming table? Tell us your own tales of procrastination, delayed deadlines, and executive dysfunction down in the comments!


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