Free Fall Friday
Continuing with what’s become this week’s theme (and will run on, I’m certain through next week), I turn to the next question, this one posited by Jake Ivey.
Jake asks: Do you find that working on so many projects at once allows you to retain your focus, or simply provides more avenues for distractions?
My short answer: As the overarching mastermind, I have many irons in the fire, but I am not forging them alone. Over the years, I’ve developed a good team and the discipline to apply my focus where most needed. Are there times when I’d just like to hole up and work on one particular line? Certainly. I believe that’s simply human nature. I thrive on variety and moving between product lines allows me to grow on a personal level as a writer, and it’s reflective in my work. I try to minimize distractions. When I get an idea for something outside of our present scope, I jot a note down about it. The only limiting factor for me is hours in a day. There are some passion projects I’d love to work on and I set aside some time to do that, but it’s at the bottom of the priority list. Other items come first. The things you see me talking about are only a fraction of the things I’d like to develop, but I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut a bit about things which may or may not ever see the light of day.
Amplifying this out a bit: I don’t get distracted so much as exhausted or overwhelmed at times. Let me clarify what I mean, so you don’t think I’m wandering about in a daze or gibbering in some dusty, cobwebbed corner. There is so much stuff going on at once that if I don’t segregate and organize it on a discrete level, it would be impossible to keep up with. Releasing such a large volume of stuff and functioning as the primary writer and layout guy makes for some long days sometimes, but I’ve gotten into a groove. One must either adapt or die. However, not to be a Negative Nancy, I’ve been called a grasshopper in the past and it’s true I did flit from one thing to another and never accomplishing much–this is the pre-Reality Blurs’ era. I admit, I did take a shine to new systems and settings and moved about in my quest to find the perfect game. The problem, ultimately, was trying to squeeze my visions into systems incapable of deftly handling them. Since the creation of Reality Blurs and its evolution into a proper business, I’ve become an ant. This is by necessity. A half-dozen half-designed games does not put coins in the coffers. Nor is it feasible to completely wrap one thing up before moving on to the next. That is not ultimately productive either as various products need to go through playtesting and edits and all that sort of thing, so we use a leapfrog sort of system. There are multiple things in development at any particular point in time. Setting creation requires the heaviest lifting and it’s not just the prosaic side. Creating environments and words is less difficult than making certain all the permutations of the rules operate properly. However, as we have a nice array of product lines, develop has become more rapid as we’re able to adapt and refine existing materials and repurpose them. This cuts down on development a great deal and allows us more time to shape the overall end result. In a word, yes there are more avenues for distractions and I would not recommend any neophyte to try to juggle all the things we’re doing. I’ve built up a strong team and able to leverage my project management skills to make sure things all come together at the end of the day. What provides focus is proper organization and hard (internal) schedules. Without them, things well could fall apart. That’s probably far more than you’d like to know, but there ya go. Do with this terrible knowledge what you will.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!
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Just the image of Sean in a “daze or gibbering in some dusty, cobwebbed corner” made me laugh.
A very though provoking answer. Thank you.