Naelin's SummerCamp 2021 Pledge in Symbols of Power | World Anvil

Naelin's SummerCamp 2021 Pledge

A reflection on where I'm at, and how to get back to where I was

Flag of Thaur
Flag of Thaur by Naelin

"I, King Naelin of Thaur, pledge to spend this month of Preparing by reading thirty and more wild tales from all corners of the Archipelago, and from all corners of our delusional storytellers' minds!
— King Naelin, doing his best to piss off his advisors

Where I'm At

SummerCamp marks the anniversary of the time I started getting involved in the WA Community, which brought me all the best things I had in the past twelve months.   Having seen how fellow worlbuilders and friends felt victim to The Overwhelm, and having stumbled upon some seriously mind-blowing, gamechanger content on how we get there in the first place, I am actively trying to come back to the mindset and goal I had the last year.
Game of Strings by Naelin
It's the worldbuilding, not the badge.

Here We Go Again:
Holding on to the sense of authentic hype instead of completionism

If I will try again to get the 31 prompts done... what is so different from the last time?
After watching a (seriously mind blowing) course about gamification and the mechanism it follows, I understood a phenomenom I saw happening everywhere around the WA community on these past 12 months:  
"I love worldbuilding! I will do this competition to do more/show my worldbuilding!"

"Oh, a badge, shiny! What a cool prize after my worldbuild-y effort!"

"I love worldbuilding and shinies! I will do this competition to get the badge!"

"There is no badge, I will wait until the next competition/prompt to worldbuild"

"I don't want to do this competition, but I want the badge"

The lollipop effect

by Mae Mu
The basic concept I've learned from this course was called "The lollipop effect": The instructor explains that, when he was trying to find ways for his students to do their homework, he started giving lollipops as a reward for completing them. It worked very well at first, but he then noticed that:  
  • The students that started doing the homework now had no reason to do anything if the lollipop was not involved.
  • The students that previously enjoyed doing homework lost their motivation to do it, as the lollipop became the new "goal", removing the sense of accomplishment that they used to get from a job well done.

  • I started here because I enjoy worldbuilding. While badges and other shinies are cool and great, I need to remember that I started all this for fun. I need to go back to my original reward, and try my best not to turn the likes, badges and prizes into the only goal in my mind.  

    The four horses of motivation

      I then learned about the four main components of sustainable motivation.  

    1: Mastery

    The sense of doing the thing because you can become better at it, with feedback, goals and challenges.   World Anvil has this in the form of the learning that you do in both the writing and your chose of things like css, formatting, mapmaking, illustration, character creation, etc, as well as having loads of ways to get meaningful feedback.

    2: Meaning

    The sense of doing the thing because there is meaning behind it, be it personal, or externally created.   We have this in our reason for worldbuilding: maybe it's a passion project, or your childhood's mindscape, maybe it's a collaborative project!
    World Anvil also has this in projects created by the community, such as the Game of Tomes.

    3: Autonomy

    The freedom of doing the thing without being forced, and the sense of being permitted to contribute, to be yourself, and to fail safely.   World Anvil has this, full stop. You are doing this because you want, you are asked for your opinion on things, and you can be yourself and learn by trial and error without fear.

    4: Community

    The sense of doing the thing because you are part of a community of like-minded people that are enjoyable and authentic.   World Anvil has this in its fantastic community of authors, hobbyist and roleplayers, and on the extensive network of streams where you can talk directly with the founders.

    So how do I prevent The Overwhelm?

      After finding my experience (and that of several of my WA friends) accurately portrayed on the "loss of meaning" scenario, I thought on it and realized that we always had these four components from the start, but many of us lost them along the way by replacing them with with goals such as "getting the more likes", "being on the shortlist" or "not missing any badge".
    And, don't get me wrong, these are amazing INCENTIVES, but they are not intended to be the end goal (As Janet Forbes puts it, you win by having more worldbuilding done than when you started!)   So I plan on getting back to the mindscape I was in during SC and WE 2020, before I got caught in the need for badges or shortlist features. How am I trying to get there?  


    • Share because I'm proud
      Not because I want more likes.
    • Make prompts be a challenge to expand my world
      Instead of a burden to inflict on it.
    • Share the enthusiasm with others
      Instead of secluding myself to get "more time to write".
    • Make the prizes be prizes...
      ...Instead of goals.


    • Harvest the engagement
      Get it by being authentically enthusiastic instead.
    • See the prompts as bending my world
      Bend them into a source of motivation instead.
    • Write alone for fear of boring people
      Bring the bf in. Build together.
    • Play against
      Play with.

    The Prep, Week 1

    You can read about Week 1 homework prompts in this blog post.  

    The Worlds

    Since forcing myself on a limited frame (AKA a "Focus Area") is very difficult for me, I will be using all of my four worlds on SummerCamp.
    I will try to fit some prompts into my two childhood worlds: Tierras Mágicas and the Deiginundo.
    However, since these are both closed worlds, I calculate most of it will be in my main world, Symbols of Power.
    Some wild ideas may end up in Shakiraverse, the side project I share with TC, if any good enough arises.       Preparing my Worlds
    • I plan on creating a Primer/Introductory article for each of them, so newcomers can get the gist of what are they reading
    • I plan on revisiting and polishing my Potential topics list... and maybe make it stop being so obviously ripped from The WorldEmber Pledge.
      Focus Areas
    • Since the Deiginundo and Tierras Mágicas are virtually empty at the moment, I plan on trying to use the prompts to write some of the fundamental concepts, places and characters on both of them.
    • In the case of Symbols of Power, I will try to develop more about the Kingdom of Thaur and the island of Stunveldt, for which I've defined some basic concepts around their sociopolitical to work on.
    • Shakiraverse is, of course, the wildcard. Anything could happen, though I would like to write down some things I had going around in my mind about The Shakirian Plane of Reality TV.
    The Author by Naelin & TJ
    "I, Master of Skulls Naelin, pledge to try my best to complete the 31 SummerCamp 2021 prompts, while taking care of my mental health and encouraging my friends to do so as well"
    — The Author, side-eyeing his friends

    Naelin's SummerCamp 2021 article list
    Generic article | Nov 24, 2022

    The list of articles done for SummerCamp 2021

    The gamification course I mention in the article is "Gamification: Motivation Psychology & The Art of Engagement" by Rob Suttclife.   You can find it on Udemy and Skillshare

    Look here's the thing about life and dance: you can't tell what will happen in advance.
    Sometimes your moves don't work so hot, but it's best to keep dancing with what you've got.
    And even if you are whittled down to one, remember that you started all this for fun.
    You haven't really thought about that for a bit, but your love of dance is why you started it.
    You focus too hard on what others feel, your anxiety and worries will start to seem real.
    But the truth is that your dancing doesn't have to be great, they'll have more fun if you don't concentrate
    And the best way to get you back to a smile is to give yourself a chance to freestyle
    — Brian David Gilbert, "Dances Moving! Ep. 7: Freestyle"

    My Support Network

    WA has such an amazing community that it's almost hard not to end up with a found family out of nowhere.  

    Crow and birbs and The Sun

    My support networks for SC 2021 are my partner, the wonderful TJ Trewin, the amazing Happy Sun Lodge, and my family of birbs over at the Aviary.   I will also be trying my best to get back at WA discord server's spanish channel Kiosko de Paella, to my chapter the Good Cookies Lodge, and to share the hype with the general challenge/SC channel.  

    20210303 - Wigglefeathers.png

    Wigglefeathers by Naelin

      Hey, psst. Nothing is set on stone until the prompts are out, but I am planning on making some of my WASC21 articles be or include adult-only content.
    Make sure to join the naughty list with the options below if you want to be able to see all the content!  

    The Prep, Week 2

    You can read about Week 2's homework prompts on this blog post.

    Organising my worldbuilding


    My categories are pretty now!
    I have worked on the categories by adding some new ones, rearranging others, fixing some minor translation mistakes, and adding shiny icons for each category.

    Laying it Out

    I have actually started doing this some days ago!
    I am working on a world primer / introductory article for Symbols of Power, and I have added a section indicating how I use my different containers, with references on how to use each one. I hope to have it finished before July!

    Image Inspiration Pool

    I always have at hand my faithful pile of... Pictures I made eons ago and never did the articles for.
    But this time I also made a map for Tierras Mágicas, one of the new worlds I plan on developing this SC.

    Fancy Themes

    I have spent the best chunk of a night tweaking the theme for Tierras Mágicas, as the original theme had fonts quite too small and some too difficult to read for my taste, and adding some fancy containers. The end result looks quite similar to the original, but with increased readibility.

    Placeholder images?

    Judgy Lyraik by Naelin
    While I am not fond of using actual placeholder pictures in my world, I do have a small collection of silly decorative pictures I use basically for the same purpose. The last one I made is this ridiculous, but very judgy Lyraik.

    Tierras Mágicas' map!

    Map of Tierras Magicas and Around

    Unused pics waiting for their turn

    Symbols of Power
    190130 - Endeler.jpg
    Endeler by Naelin
    Alcholoh by Naelín
    Irate Hideout by Naelin through Inkarnate
    Heroforge Road
    Road by Naelin
      Tierras Mágicas
    Knight Sebastián by Naelin
    Chopek And Rodrigo by Naelin
      Placeholder Shields
    Hah! I lied! I ended up creating some shields based on my nations' flags to use as placeholder portraits for characters in order to avoid the generic image that would show in timeline events otherwise.
    Shield of Thaur
    Shield of Thaur by Naelin

    The Prep, Week 3

    You can read about Week 3 homework prompts in this blog post.  

    Social Media

    I will be using my Twitter account and perhaps (perhaaaaaps) my Reddit account in order to post news about Summer Camp articles.
    My main social media sharing will happen through Discord, though.
    I also followed some peeps on Twitter that I didn't realise I was not following.   My subreddits of choice are /r/worldanvil, /r/speculativeevolution and /r/worldbuilding  

    World Anvil Profile

    I have updated my profile banner :D I used a cropped version of the picture in the right, that looks better than the one I had before. I have also added my Twitter account.
    Caw Aristocracy by Currix

    Article release plan/checklist

    1. Write the main body of the article
    2. Set the: Tags, Banner, Excerpt, Category/Parent, Sidebar articleblocks, Flag/Portrait/Phenotype, Author's Notes
    3. Check tagged articles and add notices in case they're old
    4. Add to the Naelin's SummerCamp 2021 article list
    5. Push notifications
    6. Share in Discord as I see fit: Kiosko, Lodge, Aviary, SC channel, Guild Showcase, Mature Channel, TJ's server
    7. Share in social media as I see fit: Twitter, Reddit
    8. Add in TJ's 400 prompts list and remove from Potential topics list if applicable

    Are you all ready? WorldEmber SummerCamp is coming

    Cover image: WASC Pledge Banner by World Anvil


    Author's Notes

    Many thanks to Dani for the Blue Anvil banner, to for the general layout and his help with the proofreading!

    Please Login in order to comment!
    11 Jun, 2021 09:00

    aaaaaaaaaaa I love the dances moving quote in the sidebar

    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    11 Jun, 2021 14:45

    Sometimes your words don't work so hot, but it's best to keep polishing what you've got. <3

    11 Jun, 2021 10:42

    *immediately saves this to my to read list because DAMN there's some good advice in there* this is a really dope pledge!! and glad to see you might be going back to the shakiraverse <3 <3, I'll probably be doing the same for a few prompts too hehe

    Creator of Arda Almayed
    11 Jun, 2021 12:10

    *gasp* Shakiraverse hype!

    12 Jun, 2021 00:34

    Thank you so much TC! I really want to get back to shakiraverse! I really want to get back to worldbuilding in general, I had a lot going on and couldn't really write much even for SoP :(   I hope to get some wild ideas during SC <3

    11 Jun, 2021 12:37

    Great pledge! <3 Looking forward to having a fun Summer Camp with you! :)

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    12 Jun, 2021 00:35

    Yessssss <3 We will be having a great fun sprinkled with self care with you and all the Lodge family <3

    Master Gege16
    Gege Escriva
    11 Jun, 2021 23:10

    This is a very nice pledge my friend! I find cute that you're going to develop more your worlds from your childhood:3 (I think it is something I should do someday as well) and these are great advices, In fact they're not just useful for worldbuilding, I think I should note them down and apply them at college life! I'm looking forwards what you'll write during this SC, I'm sure it will be amazing :D

    Explore the Kingdom of Moskova with me! Wonders and darkness await for you. Are you ready for the adventure?   Are you undecided about where to go on your vacation trip? Why don't you try to discover Ulan River with me?    
    12 Jun, 2021 00:37

    Thank you so much Gege! These lessons were seriously mindblowing for both me and TJ when we first did the course. If there is enough interest I could eventually do a separate article on how these lessons can be applied to so many things in both writing and other projects, even when it was originally just a course on how to gamify your app or website.

    14 Jun, 2021 13:53

    Well, detailed article. I enjoyed the 'do's and don'ts', which remind us all to avoid burnout, especially during summer camp. I also enjoyed 'The four horses of motivation' you have created. Just to let you know, the summer camp list button you have created currently has a multipass error likely due to permissions.   Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your progress in Summer Camp 2021.

    Come join me every Sunday at 11:30am UTC+1 on Twitch  

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    15 Jun, 2021 00:36

    Thank you very much, Gamez!   I'm glad that the reflection seems to be useful for so many people :)   And thanks for the heads up on the article list, It is still a stub as I had not made the structure yet, so it is still a draft.   Good luck on your Summer Camp as well!

    Time Bender
    21 Jun, 2021 02:49

    This is so COOL! Best of luck with Summer Camp. But I feel like you don't really need luck at this point; you seem quite inspired and knowledgeable! :)

    22 Jun, 2021 01:44

    Thank you very much! I hope I can make it through in non-burnout fashion :D Don't let my shiny pledge fool you, I stole learned all the knowledge from the actual great ones!   Best of lucks and inspiration for you too!

    26 Jun, 2021 23:19

    I love this pledge, the focus, the meaning and of course you, my dear friend! <3

    27 Jun, 2021 19:16

    Thank you very much Melu <3 I hope we both have an amazing SC :D

    30 Jun, 2021 22:37

    Very nicely presented! I love the detail, layout, and images. Good job!

    1 Jul, 2021 19:53

    Thank you so much for writing about gamification. This post is truly enlightening and gives a different way to go about worldbuilding and finding community. This is an excellent pledge document purely from the way it is framed; probably my favorite. Best of luck to you this Summer Camp!

    Choose your poison:   Phasmatum: An Afro-Solar-Fantasy world created for my epic novels.
    Adazuri: A shonen-inspired magitech fantasy world home-brewed for 5e.
    10 Jul, 2021 19:20

    Super glad you found it useful Cassandra! Honestly, most of the credit is for Rod Suttclife, as the methodology is all taken from his course.   He said something during it at least 5 times that made TJ and I have the biggest jaw drop: "Badges, progress bars and achievements are not gamification, they are elements of gamification that shouldn't be used on their own". I didn't add it to the pledge to not make it kilometrical but... yeah.   It is possible for us to add the positive aspects (the "four horses") and make these elements have meaning, we just need to remember to do so.   Best of luck for you two, and best of spirits to face this challenge! :)

    Sage nnie
    Annie Stein
    10 Jul, 2021 11:00

    This pledge is amazing, particularly the parts about maintaining the hype and not falling into the traps of challenges like Summercamp. Thank you so much!

    Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore! | Summercamp in Solaris
    10 Jul, 2021 19:09

    Thank you for reading it Nnie! I'm glad you found it useful :)