Sugar and Spice

It’s been a fortnight since writing resumed here. I shall likely cut down with introductions or timekeeping. If you come here and read these words, I thank you. I think you know what you’re going to get: reflection and insight into writing and design (though it may seem at times the topic is about something else entirely). All things are connected. 

Part of any writing, any design, any work is knowing when to stop and when to keep going, knowing what to put in, leave in, and what needs to be cut.

This is a combination of talent, experience, skill, and luck. As in a game of cards, luck can be manipulated and made through talent, experience, and skill.

Talent is a predisposition towards doing a given thing, be it mechanics or grammar or cooking or anything under the sun. People with a knack towards a thing are likely to gravitate towards the thing as it gives them an opportunity to shine (and everyone likes to shine). Those who dismiss talent out of hand do so at their own peril. Those who fail to embrace their talent often find themselves unsatisfied at some point in their lives (and this can manifest through various other unsavory means).

Some folks take the path of least resistance. Such a path provides a modicum of risk with mediocre rewards, but does (likely) assure safety and security and enough distractions that the mediocrity is likely embraced as living a good life. Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with this. We need all kinds of people to fill the various roles in society. A society comprised solely of bankers, bakers, and candlestick makers is no richer than one rife with warriors and poets. A balance emerges societally.

Experience is a combination of doing a thing for a long enough time that one can recognize the potholes and pitfalls that lay within a given field. An experienced radiologist can tell a defect on an x-ray that could lead to an improper diagnosis whereas a talented one might identify it as a particular symptom (incorrectly) instead. Experience ables one to live in the real and deal with the real, rather than the fuzzy ideas and ideals of the abstract. Certainly, some things make more sense in the abstract than they do in the real world. This is where the axiom that no plan survives contact with the enemy comes to mind. An experienced person is prepared for when things fall apart. Things do fall apart. Experience teaches us this if nothing else.

Even if you think it will not, entropy ensures the truth of this. Batteries die in flashlights. Controllers lose their charge. Energy escapes whenever and however it can.

Skill is the combination of time and talent within a given field. It is the end result of hours put in pursuit of perfection (or whatever your end goal of a thing might be). It is never truly achieved. Plateaus are reached. Goals are changed and reevaluated. Precise moves replace flourishes. Less serves where once more could barely satiate.

Luck is often a matter of timing. If you are too soon or too late, opportunities may be missed or genius may go unrecognized. Some automotive advances seen as cutting-edge today existed in the early days of the industry. Cars that started with the push of a button date back to the 1930s, but failed to catch on. (Largely due to the force required of the push, pointing towards the lack of the necessary refinement in metalworking and electronics needed for this to gain mainstream popularity.) If one hits the timing of things just right, the item in question doesn’t have to necessarily be the best, but a reasonable confluence of price and convenience (which is why VCR beat BETA though BETA was better). This could also be reasoned why FORTNITE surpassed PUBG. People were hungry for a BATTLE ROYALE game and FORTNITE was essentially a platform looking for a game (at the time, with no real identity). It had a gentler learning curve, more polished aesthetics and lent itself well to a streaming audience requiring constant stimulation (provided via the continuous building over and above the mere sweeping for loot in the early game).

Write constantly. Think critically. Consider your words carefully. Align your talents with your interests. Learn how to color within the lines (then learn to color outside them). Understand that nothing comes easy and nothing is free. 

What does any of this have to do with writing? With design? With passion? With life?

Knock off the cobwebs. Crack out the notebook. Write down your thoughts.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu.





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