Why I design games while I'm sick
Short one today. Topical though, since I'm still feeling like shit. As the saying goes, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
As you probably know, I have a company Voidspiral Entertainment. That's what I do full-time. I'm not doing this as a hobby, I'm trying to do it to help support the family. It's dicey, but that's what I want to do.
I can get stuck in projects for a long time, accidentally working long hours, forgetting lunch, and working on the weekends and evenings when I'm really deep in a project. As they say, when you own your own business or work from home, it's hard to leave work at work. It also doesn't help that I come up with a fairly solid new game idea about once a freaking week, so there's never enough time to do everything I want to do.
I don't get sick that often. Like any other human, I have days where I think ahead to the tasks I need to do and don't even feel like rolling out of bed, but fortunately, those days are rare. Even game design can be a chore sometimes, especially if you're also doing the publishing, marketing, and finances too.
I've also got a ton of hobbies, including astronomy, archery, hiking, biking, camping, ontology, and even occasionally playing games. So when I get sick, you'd expect that I have plenty to do.
But nevertheless, I often find that somehow I don't. I think it's the overpowering work ethic of home business that if I'm not working, the work ain't gettin done. But also, I just feel guilty when I'm not working. Taking a day off intentionally is one thing (since we don't do that very often) but when I'm sick I end up in a spiral about “Oh I should be doing this or that,” then “I can't because I can't even think straight,” then “what am I doing just lazing around? I should find something to do,” then “that wasn't productive, I should be working,” and back around again.
So what often happens is that I either end up on, or end up starting a different project. There are a few benefits to this:
- Since it's not a main-line thing, I can put it down and relax and still feel like I did something productive.
- It allows me to put my weary, confused mental state to work coming up with new ideas.
- It's way less boring than sitting around twiddling my thumbs.
- It's usually so ... what's the word ... absorbing* that I can spend hours on it and not really think about how bad I feel.
- It's fun. It's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like the current project is just dragging on forever, which makes long-term projects feel unfun after a while.
- Because I'm not dwelling on “being sick” I don't overthink being sick and weaken my immune system with depression
*I literally can't think of words, which is one of the problems. I spend a lot of time using Power Thesaurus to figure out what some word is.
- It doesn't always help me actually get better, since I'll stay up and not get all the rest I probably need.
- While starting a new project or working on a side project isn't wasting time, it's not as productive as just working on the main project.
- I feel like this is also related to #TheWillpowerGame: when I'm sick I've got very little willpower, and so it's easy to go do something else rather than “work” work.
- I still get distracted a lot, which means the project I'm working on can be kind of scattered or incoherent when I come back to it.
So that's it. Why I'm sitting here, taking a break from working on #ATSD to write a blog post about why I was working on ATSD while sick.