After DMing for over a year now (really? Wow), I'd like to play a character for a while... Just a little bit. Like 2 or 3 sessions. That would be really nice.

/Some days later.../
Phew. Finally I'm done restructuring my D&D info. Now all I need to do is print it out!
*prints 52 pages*
Well fml.

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That map is based on a city map generated by btw. And it looked like this before - which didn't fit my need for *flair*, so I decided to go back in by hand. Luckily I found my old Wacom tablet halfway through and continued digitally, that really made things easier.

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Okay! Time to reorganize my background information about my world!
*digs into DM folder*
*paper explosion*
Now that won't do, I have to restructure and print from scratch.
*looks at maps*
Oh no.
*updates maps*
*adds heraldics*
Oh look, I didn't name the provinces on the other side of the world!
*adds snappy province names*
Why is my Wiki missing a page about this queen?
*adds page*
*looks at history*
Oh no...
*refines historical table*
Wait, where is that part about religion...
*drowning sounds*

To be more precise, some of them think it would be nice to have a *bit* less description of profane stuff like having a breakfasts or something along these lines.
It's not a huge deal I think, but I tend to shy away from assuming what the PCs will do and can't really condense days or weeks down easily that way. I think I need to be a bit smarter if I want to skip ahead and ask precise questions, like "does anyone want to do anything specific in the next x hours/days?" and then move on.

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I already have some videos on my to-watch-list regarding pacing. I think just focusing a bit on this aspect will help, and the players do have a say in this, too. And now that we are aware what we want to do, we can all work on it.
It's been a great feedback round, really!

So yesterday we had a nice session. And everyone stayed a bit longer for some feedback, which was wonderful! I learned the players like my NPCs a lot, that I succeed in describing locations and towns and maybe even conveying the world as a whole! I didn't know all of that, so that's great!
However, they would like a bit more of pacing and focus on furthering the plot. Does anyone have recommendations?

How is it that even when I think *really* hard about different options to act in a specific situation, my players always manage to surprise me with some option I didn't think of at all? That's one of the coolest things in roleplaying!

Fellow DMs, how do you fight the feeling of uncertainty and defectiveness? I always feel crappy after DMing, I always second guess my stories and decisions, always think my players are bored out of their minds or find everything I do ridiculous... Do you also experience this? How do you manage this? How do you counteract it?

*transferring the most important and probably recurring NPCs into the Wiki*

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And I'm trying to work on a bit of exposition / new information out fun little background details every session. It opens up possibilities for adventures, it makes the world more real, and it's simply fun for me. Coming up with stuff is one of the parts I enjoy very much.

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I also learned a great deal about how I should prepare sessions. In the beginning, I've tried to spell everything out, much like in a pre-made adventure. But that's not the way I'd prepare a pre-made adventure, and it's not helpful to me at all. Now I try to get a feeling of the things going on in the world, the options the PCs have and prepare some places with descriptions, and NPCs, and perhaps encounters. That's it.

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I've reviewed, preened and reorganized all of my DM notes today. Now I have the NPCs neatly on little index cards, cities have their own little sections and I got a place to put all current relevant notes. It's been so overdue, but now everything's tidy and organized and suddenly much more helpful!

I mean, I felt totally out of control before in battle situations. I wasn't feeling firm enough in the rules, so I read the rules again and updated my DM screen with the infos that came up as questions again and again. (Ranged spell attacks, anyone?) Super useful, can recommend!
And I was a bit lazy before, I didn't describe the situation for every player, which made it very hard for them to keep track of what was happening. I'm doing much better now!

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I think I am no longer afraid of battles, and that is a really, really good thing!

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I am sooo happy with yesterday's session! It was basically "just" a big fight, but my group really outdid themselves. They were mentally present, super fast and they described their intentions very well!
And I did well, too: I tried to ask each one individually for action, movement and bonus action, which somehow helped everyone make more of their character's potential! And I did a good job in describing each hit and blow a bit more in detail. I am so proud of everyone!

I'm really not perfect with descriptions in my games. I'm slowly honing this skill, and this guide certainly helps a *lot*
"Sly Flourish's Guide to to Narrative "Theater of the Mind" Combat":

Planning adventures shows me that I can only think in a structured manner when I Write. Things. Down.
I can brainstorm and ponder ideas for weeks, but they will always remain in a fluid state until I write them down.

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