Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Pick Yourself and Pick The Project

I've been watching and listening to a number of talks to help motivate me lately. In particular, I seem to have gravitated towards Seth Godin; I read a number of his books a few years ago, with Poke The Box being a firm favourite, and I get his blog posts in my email every day. I listened to his two hour interview on the Tim Ferriss Show recently, which sparked my attention to go and look for more things of him talking.

A couple of favourites that I found on YouTube and listened to while doing the dishes of an evening include this one and this one - both worth a listen, whether or not you're doing the dishes at the same time. Somewhere in and amongst all of these recent things, two points have popped into my head and won't go away. I'm not sure where I encountered these insights in my listening and reading (I re-read Poke The Box recently too), but know that they came from Seth.

The first thought is about picking yourself: whether you have a boss or not, whatever your profession or job, stop waiting for someone to choose you. Despite being self-employed for years, this has been a hard thing for me at times. Waiting until you hear from someone in order to approach them for work. Waiting until you get this or that and henceforth have the right conditions (they'll never be perfect). Recently I've really accepted this, I've chosen myself to do interesting work - both in my day job, and in this little (for now!) RPG business that I'm running.

The second thought is one that I'm still struggling with, or rather a consequence of the second thought that I got from listening to these talks/books. I think in Poke The Box, Seth Godin raises this idea: "if you want to get better at juggling you have to throw more balls." I.e., if you want to do good work you have to start more projects, you have to start things and work on them and see what happens. You can't umm and ahh over whether or not the idea is the best it could be, you can't wait until you have enough money or no risk or the perfect team or the best circumstances. You have to take an idea when it comes your way and start the project that leads to a new something being in the world.

And I get that: I really do. I don't have any resistance to that concept.

I just don't know which project to pick! Hashtag first world problem, I have so many ideas, what can I do - what a goddamn hack! But this is what has been hanging me up at the moment. A Random Encounter is fine, Issue 3 is underway now that Issue 2 is out and available to buy (hint hint), and I'm probably going to interview for Issue 4 next week. Into The Oort is ticking along in the background, I add about a page a week to my document and make notes on how to resolve some of the mechanical issues with it.

But my brain is telling me that there is something else that I need to do. A small project to break things up. And I have a concept. My brain is jumping up and down and SCREAMING at me that, like a zine which is just an interview with one person, there is something else that I've thought of that is interesting and which I am sure would be interesting to lots of people in the RPG community. I have my concept and I have a couple of variations on the theme that have evolved from that core concept: but how do I pick? I just don't know.

Do I pick the thing that could be done in the least amount of time?
Do I pick the thing that involves fewest collaborators, so there aren't other contributions to keep track of on the production side of things?
Do I pick the thing that would be lowest risk?
Do I pick the thing that I think will be most attractive to others' tastes?

None of these seem like the right approach to finding an answer... So far, where I am, the two questions that have lead me to the small project I'm currently pursuing are:
  • Which project do I think will be the most fun?
  • Which project do I think has the most potential for me to learn something?
These are the questions which are helping me. YMMV, of course. What are the questions that you ask yourself when you're trying to decide between projects?

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