Anyone can be a writer if they want to.
The invention of writing profoundly changed human civilization. Since its inception writing has allowed cultures to spread and exchange ideas, communicate with its people, and keep all manner of records. But for centuries to know how to write was a status symbol, a sign of education and power.
Yet even after the printing press gave that access to the masses, society continued to convey a sense of cultural mysticism around writing for public consumption. You see this in people enthralled by authors both inspiring and inflammatory. You can see it in the persuasive speeches of our leaders and of the press who speak truth to power in response. Carefully chosen words and well-hewn arguments often grant someone an air of enlightenment and sophistication, whether coming from a university lectern or the latest bestselling novel.
Even despite the vast democratization of information in the internet age and the new mediums in which anyone can share their thoughts with the world, there still persists this impression that traditional writing – even for something as simple as board games – is somehow beyond one’s capabilities. As if those who do so possess a skill set others are somehow incapable of achieving.
Today, we’re here to dispel that notion with the 2020 Tabletop Writers Diversity Initiative.
If you are just starting out with written tabletop content, or have wondered what writing about games would be like but haven’t yet begun, we’re offering up a fun and engaging way to give it a shot, consequence free!
Here’s How It’ll Work
Starting Tuesday, September 8th, 2020 and running through Monday, November 2nd the Tabletop Writers Guild’s Board will be hosting a series of weekly writing Challenges to participate in.
On the Monday of each week’s Challenge we will post the criteria on our site. With one exception, each Challenge will run for one full week before being due that following Monday morning with you posting to your respective blog/outlet. Then on that Tuesday we will collectively share out those pieces so everyone can see your work!
And to give you a leg up, we’re giving you the list of all eight Challenges right…now:
Week 1: The Game That Brought You Into The Hobby
Week 2: Tabletop Listicles And You
Week 3: A Board Game Review (Note: For this Challenge you will have four weeks to work on it, not just one)
Week 4: Caption This!
Week 5: Mechanics, Theme, and Artistry
Week 6: Gaming Culture
Week 7: My Board Game Community
Week 8: Freestyle
We highly suggest everyone interested in this endeavor to sign up before Sept 8th! For one, this helps us know where you’re posting your content so we don’t miss it. Second, if we get enough interest ahead of the start date, we may even be able to wrangle up some new game options for you to choose from for the Review Challenge.
While all newly minted or prospective game writers are welcome to participate, one of our primary motivations for the Initiative is to particularly encourage women and other marginalized people to enter. The bulk of written board game content is still produced by white men, and we’d like to help give rise to some more diverse voices in our area of the hobby. The Guild encourages people to consider writing as an outlet because it can truly be a fun and creative format, and we want to encourage and signal boost marginalized folks, especially through this Initiative.
Once underway you can follow along, or even participate independently, using the hashtag #TWDI2020 on Twitter & Instagram.
We’re really excited to see what the participants come up with over these eight weeks and look forward to having a bit of fun in the process.
Till then, start sharpening those pencils!
-The Tabletop Writers Guild Board
And Now, Some Questions
Is this a contest? Is there a prize?
The most tangible prized outcome for this Initiative is for those participating to demonstrate to themselves that they are capable and competent enough writers and to be shown their contributions are just as welcome in the hobby as anyone else’s. This isn’t a competition between writers as much as it is a competition against one’s own self-doubts.
I don’t have a website. Can I still participate?
Absolutely! If you don’t currently already have a blog or website that you write on, you can create one in a snap. We recommend checking out WordPress.com or Wix.com, which can have you up and running a blog for free in minutes.
(Don’t worry about how it looks – we’ll mostly just be focusing on what you’ve written.)
Do I have to do all 8 Challenges? Can I skip some?
While we certainly encourage anyone participating in the Writers Initiative to attempt all of them if possible to experience a wide range of content topics and styles, there is no penalty for skipping a Challenge, no.
What happens if I miss that week’s Challenge deadline?
Doom! Just kidding. Nothing really. The purpose of the Challenge deadline is to give you a structural framework so you can better craft your piece, and a finite submission date helps with that. Many writers even attest that working under the pressure of a deadline actually makes their work better. But if you submit it after the deadline stated, we’ll likely still share them anyway.
I forgot to sign up or didn’t find out about this before the launch. Can *I* still participate?
Of course! The signup sheet makes it easier for us to watch and share content, but if you’d prefer to follow along and participate independently, that’s fine too! And if you joined after the fact, you are still completely welcome to attempt and share some your work on previous Challenges.
I would like some feedback on the piece I’m working on before posting it. Is that possible?
Possibly. We are certainly willing to assist with some article workshopping or editorial feedback if time and schedules allow, though we’ll prioritize any requests from those on the signup sheet first. Just drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I may want to continue tabletop writing after the Writers Initiative ends but am not sure I want to run my own website. What are my options?
You are not alone! Not every writer wants to also be a website administrator. Luckily there are plenty of sites out there eager to take on new contributors, giving you the freedom to solely focus on content. The Guild contains members from over three dozen sites, and many are willing to assist new writers in the form of mentorships, guest posting spots, and more. If this is something that may be of interest to you, please reach out towards the end of October and we can try to help you find a good fit – even if it’s with someplace outside of our membership.