Sunday, October 3, 2010

Writing Books & WP7

I've done most of the prep work to rewrite my D&E and Amnesia book projects. While I don't lack for motivation, I do somewhat lack confidence right now. Everything I've done recently in that realm has been pretty sub-standard and not for lack of effort. When I'm in the zone, I can write thousands of words a day, day after day, for weeks. Not all of it is good, and I believe that in order to finish a book you'll spend a lot of that time writing badly to get your word count in.

My side project working with a good friend on a game for WP7 is capturing most of my time these days. We're trying to have something by the time Microsoft and their release partners unveil the thing in October and November. We won't have anything but a demo for foreign markets and we'll be rushing for a paid download release for the domestic release. That project is a long story in of itself and I've learned a lot about myself.

I'm not an artist, but I can fake it. My HTML skills and knowledge of Dreamweaver being novice at best, I managed to turn out a decent website. Out of it all, I think I've enjoyed designing the user interface the most. That's the buttons and controls in the game people will use to control and direct the flow of events from their perspective. I wish I could share some of the sketches I've done on here, but I'll have to wait until after release.

I think what I learned most, is that if given the time and resources I can do anything. I started out with absolutely none of the skills necessary to contribute to the WP7 project in late July of this year and have come to feel pretty confident on the subject. Microsoft's design manual is still a pre-release version, but every where there is a blank spot... I easily envision what will go there.

Back in July, I could have easily told my friend I lacked the skills to be involved. I think I said as much, but that I'd give it my best effort to provide whatever assistance I could. It wasn't confidence in myself that spurred me to help, but a deep feeling of friendship. I think my friend believes I did him a big favor getting involved, taking the time to provide nearly a hundred pieces of artwork in a short time to help get the ball rolling.

The truth?

He did me a favor giving me a chance to build confidence and develop skills relative to something I'm very passionate about. On his blog, my Uncle Lorin talked about the value of being persistent when offering to help others, and being gracious and open to accepting help. I think he'd agree, that sometimes asking for help... is the best way to help someone else.

The value of just feeling useful and needed isn't to be underestimated.

It makes me realize just how much I liked my previous employers and why I miss working there sometimes. I was often asked to fill gaps, roles, and positions where they needed someone they could count on to get the job done. I think I worked every department in the seven years I worked there.

Also, it makes me realize how isolated I've become working out of my home. It isn't for everyone, and if not for some semblance of a social life, it would probably be intolerable for me. Being your own source of motivation is difficult, and can be just as exhausting as having a boss you don't like. Eventually you run out of tricks, things to reward yourself with, and excuses. You just have to work because it is the task you set before yourself, and only your determination will see you through to the end.

Those are good moments in the aftermath. Regardless of who your boss is, that's the essence of satisfaction. Knowing you did something good and worthwhile for it's own sake, for yourself, by yourself.

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