This project has been moving so goddamn slow it’s starting to make me sick. This is the part where I’d promise to do better this week, but to be honest I’m perceiving the forces and weights that have pushed me into this kind of slow progress and some of them aren’t likely to be moved so quickly. It’s worth, though, taking a moment here to discuss what they are, since I don’t really have a lot of progress to report.
1) Tool Development
Tools are kind of interesting to program, but they’re extremely detail-oriented and time consuming – and, more importantly, because they’re not really creative work as such, I have an extremely difficult time maintaining motivation and precision of focus on the sub-project for a long time. As I spend more and more time on these programming sub-tasks, my morale suffers, and I start casting for excuses not to do the work, or I begin hunting for more interesting sub-tasks to focus on while I build it up. I’ve experimented in the past with splitting and segmenting my programming work out so that I don’t ever end up doing too much of it at once to counteract this effect, and maybe it’s time to think about doing that again. It’s an approach that comes with its own set of problems, but a new set of problems is better than dealing with problems grown decayed and tedious. I’ll have to develop a secondary task list of non-programming work, though, if I’m going to split my time. I’ll be considering that.
2) Money Work
Because this project isn’t likely to make me any money for quite some time (especially at this rate), I need to spend a lot of time doing odd jobs to pull in money for rent and food. Along with these jobs comes a certain degree of intellectual, emotional, and organizational overhead which tends to add up, and above and beyond the time it takes to do these jobs takes its own toll in terms of the focus I can apply to my work on EverEnding.
3) Side Projects
This emerges from the first two pretty directly, now that I think of it. Since I’ve been frustrated by the relatively tedious section of work I’ve been doing on the game, and since I’ve been continuously starved for funds, I decided to pursue a side project … at a point earlier this year when funds and time were a little bit less scarce than now. Well, it’s still not done, though it’s getting close, and I’m hoping that the time its completion will free up and the money it will (hopefully) generate will reduce pressure in all other areas. We shall see.
I have no idea how much time is appropriate to dedicate to relaxation, to playing games of others, to reading, et cetera. I suspect that I spend too much time on this stuff, but I’m also wary of the consequences should I push myself too hard to abandon them, which have in the past sometimes exacted a somewhat harsh toll in terms of stress, depression, and creative burnout.
So I have these four forces, and between them I’m trying to establish some kind of alchemy that generates a life of happiness, fulfillment, and productivity – and, incidentally, a completely awesome video game. So far I’ve only met with middling success. But, here’s the thing: If I can maintain a balance, and maintain it for long enough, eventually things will happen. Eventually I’ll start to achieve a critical mass on EverEnding, and it will need less and less conscious effort from me… Not to say I won’t have to work as hard on it (quite the opposite in fact), but that its shape will be defined by the skeleton which I have granted it, and what will be left for me is to spin the flesh that fills the space in between the ribs. That’s the dream, anyway. But, until the balance can maintain itself, all I can do is progress, and try to maintain the balance myself, and tweak as I go, seeing if one change or another brings me closer to the ideal.