I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty bad at finishing personal projects. This shortcoming extends to many areas of my life. I have numerous websites, games (both those I’m making and playing), woodworking projects, books (those I’m writing and reading), filing personal documents, etc. All of them still mid-flight. Though if I’m being honest, many of them haven’t gotten much past the early stages. Some of you may be able to relate.
I find that the early stages of a project are some of the most exciting. The thrill of a new idea is intoxicating. When you start with something new, the world of possibilities is wide and wonderous. The hard truth, however, is that no project can stay in this blissful place. At some point, pen hast to hit paper and work has to happen. And work is hard. It takes an output of energy from both mind and body. It takes time, too. A most precious resource when you have a full-time job, a wife you love, a two-year-old daughter who is a joy to dance with, and numerous other engagements and priorities.
When it comes to the point of actually doing the work, there are so many other things, often good things, that pull my time and attention away. (For instance, in the space of writing these last two paragraphs, I have managed to update numerous settings on this wordpress blog, updated my Linked In account, and my Twitter account. Please applaud me if I actually manage to publish this…) I don’t recall this always being this way, though. I have several finished games from my elementary through high school days. Even a few from university. I remember having marvelous focus and drive to finish my projects. Something changed, however, around the middle of University. I remember specifically that I was in the middle of reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time (and quite enjoying it, I might add) when some piece of work for a class came up and I had to put the book aside. I never picked it back up again. I carried it around in my backpack for some time but never read another word. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, but it’s one of the first times I recall it standing out to me as something I’d lost.
This brings me to the present circumstance. Allow me to introduce you to S4:
This is a screenshot from a game a dear friend and I worked on for quite a while. (Extrovert as I am, it’s always a significant boost to my ability to get stuff done when working with others.) I stopped development on this game more than a year ago now. I had encountered a technical issue which tanked my desire to work on it. Yesterday was the first time I’d really looked at it much since then. And I was amazed to see how much progress we had made on it.
There’s still a lot of work to be done before it’s even close to what we had envisioned, but the core of the application is quite strong. Which, honestly, was amazing to rediscover. So much of the way I feel about this project was colored by the frustrating technical issue I was having. With a fresh perspective, I’m going to give working on this project another go.
I can’t say whether or not it was good to have set it aside. I’ve certainly learned more about developing games which will make further progress better. Of course, I’ll still have the daily challenge of finding time to work on it, but a little fresh perspective can go a long way.
Do you have any projects you’ve put aside for one reason or another? Maybe you should check it out again. It might be better than you thought : )