Monday, May 17, 2010

The Value of a Day Off

I work best when I've got a bighuge (one word, "bighuge") chunk of time to focus on a project. Whether it's crafting a multiplayer map for Heroes of Might and Magic III or sorting out my finances, I like to have a long period of noninterruption to ensure that I can capitalize on my enthusiasm, and to also ensure that I can afford to take a break every now and again.

Yesterday presented the largest block of uninterrupted free time I've had in, I would estimate, three months. Starting just after lunch and ending when I went to bed for the night, I had a hugemungeous (one word, also completely fabricated) window of opportunity.

There's not much to tell--I recorded YouTube video commentary, played through a Game Boy game, read a comic book, and ate dinner--but it's the fact that I could afford to take a 2-hour break from commentary that is worth mentioning. It's the fact that I got so involved in what I was doing that I, the guy who gets cranky when he doesn't eat, didn't notice I hadn't had dinner until a full hour and a half after when I usually eat. It's the fact that I accomplished in a day what would have taken me all week. Heck, I even got some necessary shopping in beforehand--yesterday was a relaxing, productive day.

Being able to step outside of my standard routine helped me to reexamine the status of all my numerous side projects. The verdict? These are my own side projects. Yes, I have a co-blogger and fellow staff writers and subscribers and others who are counting on me to carry on with these things I've signed up for--but, at the end of the day, I'm doing all this because I want to.

That's not me being selfish; rather, that's me recognizing that these are indeed side projects. I wasn't conscripted by the government to write video game walkthroughs, nor will many Bothans die in vain if I don't write a funny article. I don't want to let others down by neglecting my side projects, but at the same time, I won't produce anything anybody wants to read/listen to if I force myself to work. I've seen too many shoddy video games that were rushed to meet release dates to know that I've gotta move at my own pace.

I tried being timely and relevant to current events in my writing last month, and I can safely say that April was the roughest writing month for me in the history of this blog and of my time with GameCola. All output, no input. But yesterday was a refreshing reminder that I don't have to be timely and relevant. Perhaps it's not my style. I work on these side projects because I want to, and if you like what I do, hopefully you'll stick around for more. If I'm not finished with something because I chose to play games for two hours rather than work through that time, it's what I needed to do.

It's a philosophy that is mostly inapplicable with the rest of my life, but it's one that holds true for my side projects. Have I talked about all this before? Perhaps. But it's a topic that's on my mind, and getting my thoughts out in writing is precisely what I needed to do in order to return my focus to other topics.

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