My Contingency Plan Needs a Contingency Plan
I’ve been working non-stop for weeks on end and I’ve sensed for the past couple of days a wall approaching or, rather, that I was approaching a wall. I largely blame the changing season, the cooling water, and summer’s last attempt to drag me down with pollen. At any rate, I came up with this plan to sneak past the wall and break on through to the other side. It did not succeed.
With the Plot Point Campaign for Echo done and so much on our schedule, like the upcoming Agents of Oblivion, I’m fired up. I’ve been working diligently between several things. Watching the watchmen, making design choices, doing layout, and writing. The first three things of the list I can do without much deep thought. Critical thinking has been drilled into me at college and in the distant cubicles of my past. In fact, I’m certain if I got a headache as wide as the Marianas Trench, I could still do spread sheets even as bits of my grey matter erupted into nothingness. The creative part of the brain is far more dainty, but has toughened up. Noises are a large distraction (and as I say this, the neighbor’s dog begins barking, perhaps I should speak of bikini swim teams?), as are fatigue and headaches. Usually, I can work through most of this stuff, but the fatigue is tough. Let me share with you my big trick for moving past the point where entropic forces drag you down.
The plan. This is not an outline. This is not any of that stuff I’ve talked to you about. This is a trick. You’re giving yourself an old carrot and stick. Tell yourself you’ll finish one more bit and you can go play water polo, recite haiku under the moonlight, or curl up and take a nap. Incentivize things for yourself. This works, for a bit, especially, if you fulfill one or more of those promises for yourself down the road, such as seeing an afternoon movie all by your lonesome. Sounds pretty rad doesn’t it? Far cry from an outline as well. Another plan is the emergency kit. When your creative juices are spilling out of your ears, apply some of that vim to sketching out a bit of things farther down the road. Things you can work to. Having an island to shoot for–even if the island has nothing to do with what you’re currently working on–can be a good thing. Let your mind wander. If you have hit the wall and can’t do one thing, go work on something else. Which brings me to my mistake today. I didn’t follow this last rule.
Today, I needed a break from Echo today to get some notes down on a few other projects. Rather than doing that, I stuck to my guns and worked on Echo. Moreover, I gave myself the rules of “work on what’s next”. I have an enumerated list of Mythos Tales to draft up for Echo and planned on going straight down it, 1, 2, 3. I wasn’t feeling it today, though I had ideas about some of the later ones. I should’ve given myself permission to play a little. I got the work done, but it was work, and it went through three rewrites today until I got it where I was eventually satisfied with it. Between my distractions (of other projects), my fatigue, and my rigidity, it’s amazing I just didn’t pass out or run screaming from the keyboard. But I survived and realized my emergency kit should include comments from Zippy Me to Wiped Out Me that it’s okay to bend the rules a little, especially if I’m the one making them.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!